Conrad Marca-Relli

b. 1913

Biography

Conrad Marca-Relli was born in 1913 in Boston, New York and died in 2000 in Parma, Italy.

Involved in the New York Art scene from an early age, Marca-Relli went on to study at Cooper Union, and the WPA before going into the Military Service.

Considered one of the main exponents of the New York School of Abstract Expressionism, he was involved in the first Abstract Expressionist show at the Ninth Street Show in 1951 with Franz Klein and gallerist Leo Castelli, marking the beginning of the unique America artistic movement alongside Pollock, de Kooning, Guston, Newman, Hoffman and Motherwell. Often considered the link between European and American cultures, he combines the dramatic effects of Abstract Expressionism with the sense of order that can be found in Italian Renaissance painting.

He considered the collage as an art form equal to painting, something that allowed Marca-Relli to continuously change and develop, first by overlapping layers of paper and canvas and from the 1960’s metal plates, without ever losing its freshness. He used collage to delineate volumes and to create large canvases in which the figurative remains dominant. Marca-Relli’s collages were applauded and revered from the start and in 1954, the Museum of Modern Art, New York The Guggenheim, and The Whitney all acquired a work by the artist. In 1956, he participated in the Venice Biennale followed by Documenta II in Kassel in 1959. The first major retrospective of his work was in 1967 at The Whitney in New York.

Collections include: High Museum of Art, Atlanta; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao; Harvard University Art Museum, Cambridge, MA; The Art Institute of Chicago; Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland; Denver Art Museum, CO; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, NYC; Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC; Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), NYC; Whitney Museum of American Art, NYC; Carnegie Institute, Pittsburg, PA; San Fransisco Museum of Modern Art; National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of American Art, Washington, DC, among many others.

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Exhibitions

Selected Solo exhibitions

2016 The Prodigy of Collage, Repetto Gallery, London, UK

2012 The Architecture of Action, Ronchini Gallery, London, UK

2011  City To Town, Knoedler Gallery, New York, USA

Conrad Marca-Relli. The New York Years 1945-1967, Pollock Krasner House&Study Center, New York, USA

2008  Conrad Marca-Relli. Protagonista dell’Espressionismo Astratto Americano, Rotonda della Besana, Milano, Italy

2000  Conrad Marca-Relli, Mathildenhöhe Institute, Darmstadt, Germany

1998  Conrad Marca-Relli, Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice, Italy

1990  Conrad Marca-Relli, Galleria d’arte Niccoli, Parma, Italy

Selected Group exhibitions

2016  Alberto Burri: Lo Spazio di Materia – tra Europa e USA, Ex Seccatoi Tabacco (Fondazione Burri), Città di Castello, Italy

Abstract Expressionism, Royal Academy, London – Museo Guggenheim, Bilbao

2012  Un Arte autre? Artistes autour de Michel Tapié, une exposition, Christie’s, Paris, France

Il Guggenheim. l’avanguardia americana 1945-1980, Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Rome, Italy

Art of Another Kind: International Abstraction and the Guggenheim, 1949-1960, The Solomon R.  Guggenheim Museum, New York, USA

2011  Salvatore Scarpitta. Trajectory, Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York

2009 The Sweeney Decade: the 1959 inaugural, Guggenheim Museum, New York, USA

Piero Manzoni. A retrospective, Gagosian Gallery, New York, USA

2008  Carlo Cardazzo: A New Vision for Art, Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice, Italy

2007  L’Arte e la Tartaruga: omaggio a Plinio De Martiis, Museum of Modern Art Vittoria Colonna, Pescara, Italy

Abstract Expressionism and Other Modern Works, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA

2005  Alberto Burri. Gli artisti e la materia 1945-2004, Scuderie del Quirinale, Rome, Italy

2004  Action Painting. Arte americana 1940-1970: dal Disegno all’Opera, Foro Boario, Modena, Italy

2002  Themes and Variations. Post-war Art from the Guggenheim Collections, Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice, Italy

Marca-Relli, l’amico americano. Sintonie e dissonanze con Afro e Burri, Galleria d’arte Niccoli, Parma, Italy

Press & Downloads

  • Conrad Marca-Relli
  • Conrad Marca-Relli in Departures
  • Conrad Marca-Relli in The Spectator
  • Conrad Marca-Relli in Art Info
  • Conrad Marca-Relli in Art + Auction
  • Conrad Marca-Relli in La Repubblica Online
  • Conrad Marca-Relli in the Sunday Times Culture
  • Conrad Marca-Relli in The Art Newspaper