Franco Angeli

b. 1935, Rome, Italy
d. 1988, Rome, Italy


Franco Angeli was born in Rome in 1935 from a family tied to the socialist tradition. Angeli began working in art in the mid-1950s as a reaction to the devastation of WWII and as a platform to expose his leftist/communistic views. “The matter for me is a piece of this huge tear that swept Europe, my first paintings were so, like a wound from which takes away the pieces of bandage … where blood was congealed but is no longer a red stain; Everything had to appear torn, broken”. At the age of twenty, in 1955, he started his artistic career at Edgardo Mannucci’s studio, where he stayed until 1957. During these years he got in touch with the work of Alberto Burri and the Informal Art movement, from where he took the idea to use dark materials covered with torn, scratched nylon and monochrome canvas. In 1950 Franco Angeli exhibited for the first time in a group exhibition at the “La Salita” Gallery in Rome, which allowed him to get in contact with artists such as Renato Guttuso, Jannis Kounellis, Fabio Mauri and Pino Pascali.

In 1960 Angeli had his first solo exhibition at “La Salita” Gallery, followed by a collaboration with Bruce Conner, Christo and Kudo in 1963. He has also presented works with Maurizio Calvesi at the Biennale di Venezia, with La Lupa and Quarder Dollar. During 1968-70 Franco Angeli participated in the political and artistic fervour caused by the Vietnam War. Known for his reckless lifestyle, he was permitted to enter as a new member to the School of Piazza del Popolo, an independent group of “cursed” artists. He found his partner in life Livia Lancellotti in 1975, who gave him his daughter Maria in 1976. During the 1980s Angeli was more attracted by stylized figures portraying childhood symbols and obelisks, capitals and dessert squares. Angeli passed away at the age of 53 in Rome on November 12, 1988.

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2017 Franco Angeli: A Selection of Works from Important European Collections, Ronchini Gallery, London, UK

Tribute: Teatro Delle Mostre (1968/2017), Frieze Projects, Frieze New York, USA

Roma Pop City 60-67, Museum of Contemporary Art of Rome, Rome, Italy

2016 Imagine, New Imagery in Italian Art 1960-1969, Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice, Italy

Italian Pop, Tornabuoni Art, London, UK

2015 Franco Angeli (1935-1988), Studio Garibaldi, Milan, Italy

The World Goes Pop, Tate Modern – Star   Auditorium, London, UK

Egosuperegoalterego, Museum of Contemporary Art of Rome, Rome, Italy

2013 Portrait of a City #2 Art in Rome 1960-2001, MACRO – Museum of Contemporary Art of Rome, Rome, Italy

2012 Portrait of a City Art in Rome 1960-2001, MACRO – Museum of Contemporary Art of Rome, Rome, Italy

2009  Love Letters: Ampliamento e Allestimento della Nuova Collezione del MACRO, MACRO – Museum of Contemporary Art of Rome, Rome, Italy

Angeli – Festa – Schifano – Trilogia, Galleria Fontanella Borghese, Rome, Italy

Memories of Antiquity in twentieth-century art, Galleria dell’Accademia, Florence, Florence, Italy

2002 Roma, London, Paris, Galleria il Ponte, Florence, Italy

1995 46th International Art Exhibition Venice Biennial, Venice, Italy

1978  From Nature to Art, from Art to Nature, Venice Biennial, Venice, Italy