Collagist Marca-Relli dies in Italy
- Collagist Marca-Relli dies in Italy
August 31, 2000
Web posted at: 1:26 PM EDT (1726 GMT)
ROME (AP) -- Conrad Marca-Relli, an Italian-American
collagist who served as a link between the European
avant-garde and American abstract expressionism, died of
heart attack at his home in Parma. He was 87.
Marca-Relli died Tuesday. His funeral was Thursday in
His greatest contribution came in the 1950s, when he
revolutionized the medium of collage -- adding strips of
over the canvas and painting them over in a subdued
"a painting with oil and canvas," in one critic's words.
"He was the first artist who took collage to monumental
proportions," said Marco Niccoli, owner of the Parma art
gallery that has exhibited Marca-Relli's work for 15
always considered his work as unfinished, and collage
him to intervene again, to rework a piece after decades,
to let --
theoretically at least -- the possibility of change."
Marca-Relli's style blended classicism with surrealism,
some of the playful improvisations of his abstract
friends like Willem de Kooning and Jackson Pollock.
Always open to influences from abroad, ranging from the
Italian classical modernism of Giorgio Morandi to
adobe architecture, Marca-Relli began adding strips of
to his paintings after running out of paint during a
Mexico trip in
Soon afterward, he created monumental-sized collages
1956 "Trial" and by the 1960s he was replacing canvas
scrap materials like aluminum or vinyl.
"I feel that when I bring it down to very simple shapes
ambiguous is created," he said in a 1965 interview.
Marca-Relli was born in Boston in 1913 and traveled
throughout his childhood with his father, a journalist.
his first solo exhibit, focused on surrealist works, in
in 1947. In the 1950s, his recognition increased in the
States as he taught at Yale and the University of
Moodily handsome, described by his friends as a
difficult and reserved man, he loved discreet elegance
personal life as well as in his art.
Better known in the United States than in Europe, his
are held in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum
Modern Art and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New
York, as well as the Whitney Museum of American Art.
Marca-Relli is survived by his wife of 49 years, Anita.
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