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 Emilio Scanavino  (1922 - 1986)

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Lived/Active: Italy      Known for: Lyrical abstract painting, sculpture

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Ad Code: 3
AskART Artist
from Auction House Records.
Alfabeto senza fine - 1957
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Emilio Scanavino was an Italian painter and sculptor in a modernist, Cubist-influenced style. In 1938 the young Scanavino enrolled in the Art School Nicolò Barabino of Genoa where he met his teacher Mario Calonghi, who had a great influence on Scanavino’s artwork. In 1942 he had his first exhibition at the Salone Romano of Genoa. In the same year he enrolled at the Faculty of Architecture at Milan University. In 1946 he married Giorgina Graglia.

In 1947 Scanavino moved, for the first time, to Paris where he met poets and artists such as Edouard Jaguer, Wols and Camille Bryen. This experience was invaluable to his stylistic growth, especially Cubism, which he gave personal interpretation. 

He was part of the Group "I sette del Numero" of the Numero Gallery in Florence, together with the other famous painter Rocco Borella. In 1950 he exhibited at the 25th edition of the Venice Biennale and in 1951 at the Apollinaire Gallery of London in a two-person exhibition with the sculptor Sarah Jackson.

During the sojourn in London he met Philip Martin, Eduardo Paolozzi, Graham Sutherland and Francis Bacon. In the same year he opened his first studio in Milan in an attic of the Foro Bonaparte. Critic Guido Ballo and gallery managers Guido Le Noci and Arturo Schwartz took care of his works.

Next year, 1952, he also worked at Marzotti’s Ceramic Factory in Albissola Marina, where he met many artists and became friends with some of them. Among them there were Lucio Fontana, Asger Jorn, Corneille, Roberto Matta, Wifredo Lam, Giuseppe Capogrossi, Enrico Baj, Sergio Dangelo, Roberto Crippa, Gianni Dova, Agenore Fabbri, Aligi Sassu etc.

In 1954 he exhibited again at the Venice Biennale (27th edition), and the next year he received the Graziano Prize. In 1958 he earned Lissone Prize and joined Venezia Biennale with an own room, winning the Prampolini Prize. In the same year he signed a contract with the Naviglio Gallery directed by Carlo Cardazzo with whom he established an important friendship and working relation. He then moved to Milan with his family.

In 1962 he bought an old house at Calice Ligure, which eventually became an atelier. At Milan he met the collector Gianni Malabarba with whom he established a kind friendship.

In 1963 he earned La Spezia Prize and Carlo Cardazzo, whose friendship had supported Scanavino for seven years, suddenly died. This death was a hard loss for the painter. Renato Cardazzo then carried on his brother's work as an art trader and also took a great role in spreading Scanavino's name in Italy and abroad.

In 1966 Scanavino exhibited again with a personal room at 33rd Venice Biennale, where he won the Pininfarina Prize. In 1968 he moved his studio at Calice Ligure. A group of artists also moved there, creating a small community around Scanavino.

In 1970 he earned the Gran Prix at Mentone Biennale. Collector Franco Castelli, director of "L'uomo e l'Arte", became his friend and supporter.

In 1971 he survived a hard surgery. The recovery signaled the start of a new creative wave of his painting. He travelled in Belgium, France and Germany but he remained living at Calice Ligure.

In 1982, although disease led to progressive degeneration, he kept working and exhibiting in public and private places. In 1986 he was invited to exhibit at Rome Quadriennale. He died in Milan on 28 November 1986.


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