Pietro Consagra | Original prints, lithographs, etchings and illustrated books


"Expressing the dramatic rhythm of today's life with plastic elements that should be the formal synthesis of man's actions in contact with the gears of this society, where will, strength, optimism, simplicity, clarity are needed."

(Pietro Consagra)



Pietro Consagra (Mazara del Vallo, 6 October 1920 - Milan, 16 July 2005) was an Italian sculptor and writer, one of the most prestigious exponents of international abstract art.

After completing his studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Palermo, in 1944 he moved to Rome, where he joined abstractionism by participating in the group "Gruppo Forma 1" (1947), which claimed "the freedom to be both Marxist and formalist" , that is abstractionists and frequented the Osteria Fratelli Menghi, a well-known meeting point for painters, directors, screenwriters, writers and poets between the forties and seventies. In Rome he works in the Mazzacurati and Guttuso studios, where he meets Piero Dorazio, Ugo Attardi, Carla Accardi, Antonio Sanfilippo, Achille Perilli, Mino Guerrini and Turcato [1]. It was together with these artists that Consagra prepared in March 1947 the manifesto of the abstract group "Gruppo Forma 1", in which the lesson of abstract art was theorized, learned thanks to a Parisian trip organized by the communist youth.

In 1948 he took part in the National Review of the Figurative Arts (V National Quadrennial of Art) in Rome.

In 1962 he participated, together with the most important international sculptors of the time, in the exhibition Sculptures in the city organized by Giovanni Carandente as part of the V Festival dei Due Mondi in Spoleto. It features two steel sculptures: Colloquio col vento and Colloquio spoletino or Colloquio con il demonio. The latter was donated to the city of Spoleto; temporarily preserved in the atrium of the Carandente Museum, it has returned to its original location in via Salara vecchia. Conversation with the Wind was acquired by James Johnson Sweeney for the Houston Museum of Fine Arts.

Starting from a research on materials, he later realizes almost two-dimensional sculptures ("Colloquio con la Hope", 1957, bronze, Paris, National Museum of Modern Art), in which he tends to cancel the thickness until reaching the sheets of the thickness of two tenths of a millimeter in the "Sottilissime" and at the maximum thickness of the buildings of the "Front City" of 1968, a polemically utopian urban planning proposal to which he also dedicated the homonymous "pamphlet" (1969) and which led him to insert in the real space the monumental buildings of the Meeting in Gibellina and the arch on the highway. In 1964 he met the art critic Carla Lonzi who became his life partner until 1982.

In 1978 he was among the promoters of an important document on the safeguarding of historic centers which took the name of "Carta di Matera". In relation to the "Carta di Matera" is the creation of the eleven double-faced irons of Matera, created to be positioned in the Sassi districts. The municipality, for his merits, gave him honorary citizenship.

For the reconstruction of Gibellina in the Belice, in 1981 he created a large star, 24 meters high, in stainless steel: the Star at the entrance to the Belice.

For the large open-air sculpture park of contemporary art in Fiumara d'Arte Consagra realizes the first work of the park, located at the mouth of the river and entitled The matter could not exist, commissioned in 1982 by the patron Antonio Presti and inaugurated on 12 October 1986.

Among his latest great works, in 1998, he created a marble sculpture dedicated to Giano, more than five meters high, located in Largo Santa Susanna in Rome.

Awarded the gold medal as Meritorious of Culture and Art by the president Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, as well as a sculptor, Consagra was a writer and critic, collaborator of many art publications, he wrote The necessity of sculpture (1952), The city front and Vita mia (1980), an autobiographical work, and was an important personality in the cultural world of a historical period of decisive importance for Italian art, in the forties, which saw the birth of abstractionism.

Consagra dies in Milan, the city in which he had settled permanently for ten years, and is buried by his express will in the cemetery of Gibellina.