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Carlo Carrà

1881 Alessandria
1966 Mailand

The Italian painter draughtsman, graphic artist, art theorist and art critic Carlo Carrà was born on 11th February 1881 in Quargneto near Alessandria. The artist began drawing at the age of 12. He later worked as a decorators’ assistant in a villa in Valenza. In 1895, he travelled to Milan. In 1899, he visited Paris for the first time, to prepare the World Exhibition, where he saw works by Théodore Gericault (1791 – 1824), Auguste Delacroix (1809 – 1868) and the Impressionists. He then worked as a mural painter in Bellinzona, in the Villa Ottolino in Busto Arsizio, as well as Obranio near Crema. In 1904, Carlo Carrà was taken on by the Milanese Painters’ Guild. He later attended evening classes at the school of Applied Arts in Castello Sforzesco.
In 1906, Carlo Carrà began studying at the Accademia di Brera in Milan under Cesare Tallone (1853 – 1919). He became acquainted with Aroldo Bonzagni (1887 – 1918), Romolo Romani (1884 – 1916), Ugo Valeri (1873 – 1911) and Umberto Boccioni (1882 – 1916). He and Boccioni devoted themselves to divisionism between 1907 and 1909. In 1909, Carlo Carrà met the Italian writer, Emilio Filippo Tommaso Marinetti (1876 – 1944). On 11th February 1910, together with Boccioni and Russolo, he signed the "Manifesto dei pittori futuristi" in Marinetti’s house. On 11th April, they also signed the "Manifesto tecnico della pittura futuristica". In February 1912, a number of Carrà’s works were shown at the Futurist exhibition in the Galerie Bernhheim-Jeune in Paris. It was here that Carrà met Henri Matisse (1869 – 1954), André Derain (1880 – 1954), Amadeo Modigliani (1884 – 1920), Maurice de Vlaminck (1876 – 1958), Medardo Rosso (1858 – 1928) and Fernand Léger (1881 – 1955). In 1914, Carlo Carrà lived in Paris for a period, but then returned to Italy before the start of WW1. He executed a series of collages and in 1916, began distancing himself from Futurism.
Carrà’s change in style was partly influenced by his meeting with the Italian painter Giorgio de Chirico (1888 – 1978) in a neurological clinic in Ferrara. De Chirico was the leading exponent of "Metaphysical Painting". Both artists were given rooms in the Villa del Seminario.
In 1919, Carlo Carrà abandoned metaphysical iconography and began a new phase in his painting, linking Italian art from the Trecento to the Renaissance with Cézanne’s work, and thereby producing an archaic realism. He devoted himself to still life and landscape painting, and was particularly influenced by the work of Cézanne and Giotto.
He also began working as an art critic for the magazine "L’Ambrosiano". In 1932, the artist undertook a lecture tour of Germany, Austria and Czechoslovakia. The works from this period contained simplified forms and compositions. Carlo Carrà painted still lifes, seascapes, landscapes and interiors with figures. From 1941, he taught painting at the Accademia di Brera in Milan. Prior to the bombings in 1943, he fled to Lake Como.
After the war, he returned to Milan, where he died on 13th April 1966.

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