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Biography of Conrad Marca-Relli
From Italian parents, Conrad Marca-Relli is born in Boston (USA) in 1913. He belongs to the first generation of American abstract expressionism of the New York School (Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline, etc.), which is one of the most important movements in the public eye of the post-war period. Painter in a first place, self-taught artist, he is considered a master of collage. He spends 4 years in the Army before settling in New York, travels frequently in Europe, the United States, Mexico. In the late '40s (and early 50s), the artist is actively involved in the art field of the avant-garde of Greenwich Village. His first solo exhibition is held in New York in 1948. The Surrealist painter Giorgio de Chirico inspires his debuts. Later on, Marca-Relli combines oil paint and collage, using materials such as vinyl or aluminum. Works in color often of great intensity, the collage-paintings of large size in the early 50s, are characterized by abstract figures or barely suggested. In the 1960s the artist experiments with various materials to obtain an industrial effect. Focusing on the three-dimensional, forms are materialized using nail holes (painted or actual). Over time, the collages of Marca-Relli develop an abstract simplicity that enhance black and dark color and isolated rectangular shapes on neutral backgrounds. The Whitney Museum of Modern Art holds a retrospective of his work in 1967. In the 50's, Conrad Marca-Relli teaches at Yale University and the University of Berkeley (California). The artist lives the last years of his life in Italy, he dies in Parma in 2000.