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Alberto Magnelli


Work in the collection: Untitled, 1957 – oil on paper – 65 x 60 cm.

* July 1, 1888 in Florence; † April 20, 1971 in Meudon

He learns to paint as an autodidact. In fact, he does not attend school or art academy and prefers to often visit museums and churches. Until 1914, for example, he painted landscapes, people and still lifes. Then his compositions gradually became more abstract; he called them “invented pictures”. His first solo exhibition took place in 1921. In the 1920s and 1930s he painted fantasy landscapes that came close to metaphysical painting.

The artist travels to Paris at the age of 26. There Magnelli met Pablo Picasso and Fernand Léger. He achieves a much acclaimed championship. Alberto Magnelli took part in the documenta in Kassel in 1955 and 1959.

From 1931 to 1934 he began the series of “Stones”, in which he showed shapes inspired by the marble quarries of Carrara (Italy). These composite stones seem to tell a story, with the artist highlighting the soft folding of the austerity of personal architecture. From 1934 he only painted abstractly. Parallel to his painting he created a work consisting of etchings and lithographs.

In the 1940s, he made collages in which he used burnt sheet metal, packaging canvas, and paint. After the war, Magnelli preferred compositions in which geometric forms, ellipses, and lines were drawn on monochrome surfaces. Alberto Magnelli has asserted himself through numerous detours, which have gradually created his own world of expression, in the geometric abstraction that favours order and rigour.

Exhibitions (selection)

1950 Biennale Venedig
1954 Palais-des-Beaux-Arts Brüssel
1955 documenta I
1959 documenta II
1963 Kunsthaus Zürich
1968 Museum für moderne Kunst in Paris