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AFRO BASALDELLA

Born in 1912, in Udine, Italy; dies in 1976 in Zurich, Switzerland.

Afro first shows his work in 1928, at only sixteen, when he exhibits together with his brothers Dino and Mirko at the Friulian School Vanguard exhibition. In 1930 he travels to Rome with his brother Dino, and meets exponents of the arts community. He studies in Florence and Venice, where he receives his diploma in painting in 1931. In 1933, Afro has his first exhibition at the Galleria del Milione in Milan. He also takes part in the Quadrennial in Rome (1935) and Venice Biennale (1936, 1940 and 1942). From 1941 to the end of World War II, he teaches design mosaic at the Accademia delle Belle Arti in Venice. Afro returns to Rome, where after an initial experience with the Roman School group and an approach to neo-Cubism, in 1950 he begins a twenty-year collaboration with the Catherine Viviano Gallery in New York. In 1952, he joins Gruppo degli Otto Pittori Italiani (Group of the eight Italian painters, 1952–54). He obtains international acclaim in 1956, receiving the award for best Italian painter at the Venice Biennale. In 1958, together with Appel, Arp, Calder, Matta, Miro, Moore, Picasso and Tamayo, he completes a large-scale mural for the new UNESCO headquarters in Paris. The following year, Afro participates to Documenta for a second time (1955, 1959), and wins first prize at Carnegie Triennial in Pittsburgh, and in 1960 he wins the Italian prize for the Guggenheim International Award in New York. In 1961, James Johnson Sweeney, curator of the Guggenheim Museum, publishes a monograph on his works. Afro has numerous exhibitions, to name a few, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Galerie de France, Galleria Blu in Milan, Galerie im Erker of St. Gallen, Räber Lucerne, the Günter Franke of Monaco and, in 1969-1970, the retrospective at the Kunsthalle in Darmstadt, which travels to the National Gallery in Berlin and then to Palazzo dei Diamanti in Ferrara.

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