The Artist Birthday Series

Michelangelo Pistoletto

Pistoletto was born in Biella, Italy, in the northern province of Piedmont. From 1947 until 1958, Pistoletto worked in his father’s restoration workshop in Turin. In the 1950s, he started painting figurative works and self-portraits. In 1959, he participated in the Biennale di San Marino. The following year, he had his first solo exhibition in the Galleria Galatea in Turin.

"Experiment," 1959 pistoletto
“Experiment,” 1959

In the beginning of the 1960s, Pistoletto started painting figurative works and self-portraits which he painted on a monochrome, metallic background. Later, he combined painting with photography using collage techniques on reflective backgrounds. Eventually, he switched over to printing photorealistic scenes on steel plates polished to a high finish. He accomplished this using the screen-printing method which made the observer almost completely melt in with what was depicted. In the mid-1960s, gallery owner Ileana Sonnabend brought him into contact with an international audience.

"Standing Man," 1962
“Standing Man,” 1962

In 1965/1966, he produced the early sculptural work series, Oggetti in meno (Minus Objects). In 1966, Pistoletto had his first solo exhibition in the USA, at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. In 1967, his work was awarded first prize in the Biennale de São Paulo.

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