Rosalda Gilardi was born in Savona in 1922. She studied sculpture at the Accademia Albertina of Turin and received her diploma in 1959. Before she had even graduated, she was encouraged by her teachers and sculptor Umberto Mastroianni to exhibit in Turin. In 1958 she showed in the Mostra d’arte giovanile at the Palazzo della Quadriennale, Rome, and was awarded the Premio Città di Roma e del Consiglio dei Ministri. That same year she got married and moved to Locarno in Switzerland, where she met and befriended Jean Arp. She participated in many group shows and enjoyed solo exhibitions at the Neuchätel and Moutier museums, often garnering honors for her work. She also produced public works of sacred art. At the same time she took part in shows in Italy, including the Biennials of Carrara, the Milanese Permanente, and Padua’s Bronzetto.
In 1966 she met Henry Moore, Jacques Lipchitz, Isamu Noguchi, and Marino Marini during a visit to Querceta in the Versilia area. Deeming it an ideal place to work, she set up a studio. The following year she went to Paris, where she exhibited in the Salon de Mai and met César Baldaccini, Etienne Martin, and Emile Gilioli. In 1972 she took part in the Venice Biennale and was a guest of Peggy Guggenheim. Two years later she spent four months travelling around Latin America and visiting Venzuela, Columbia, Equador, Perù, and Argentina. She was later invited, along with Andrea Cascella, Arnaldo Pomodoro, and Alberto Viani, to represent Italy in the 1979 Esposition de Sculpture Européenne in Brussels.
During the 1980s she took part in many shows and devoted herself to graphic art, some samples of which can be seen at the Gabinetto delle Stampe e Disegni, Florence, and many other Italian and foreign museums. In the 1990s her work was well-received at the Osaka International Triennial Competition of Sculpture, and she won the “Rosa Papa Tamburi” award from the city of Iesi, where a survey of her work was presented at the Pinacoteca Palazzo Pianetti. Throughout the course of her career, Gilardi evolved from figurative to abstract art and eventually worked only with essential shapes, to which color was added in her latest works. Rosalda Gilardi died in 1999 in Lugano.