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Biography

AGENORE FABBRI (Barba, Pistoia 20/5/1911 – Savona 7/11/1998)

Agenore Fabbri was born in a small town located between the cities of Pistoia, where he was educated, and Firenze where he came into contact with a bunch of  avant guarde intellectuals such as Eugenio Montale (lately Nobel Prize for Literature) and painter Ottone Rosai at the Caffé Giubbe Rosse. Then, in 1935, he transfer to Albisola where he shook just a relationship of close friendship with Aligi Sassu, Arturo Martini and Lucio Fontana and started his career painting pottery of the first post-war period and the sculptures of the early fifties which is the theme of the dog, the animal that fights with the man. In 1948 he moved to Milan and was invited to the Venice Biennale, where he continued to exhibit diligently until the early sixties as he participated in various editions of the Rome Quadrenniale starting in 1952 (1959, 1973). In the meantime he experimented the various materials of Informal Art working with wood, rags, gravel and sand. Starting from the second half of the sixties, he returned to his Expressionist attitudes creating big sculptures of iron and bronze. Since 1982, he discovered the painting that will become prominent in the eighties and the nineties and has won, in the years, worldwide fame. Fabbri was always searching for what is new, not yet decided: thus he varied not only themes, but expressive genres too, and never confines himself to a definite form. His works provoke, question, criticize, destroy the certainties, so reflecting the crisis of the modern society and of its metropolis.

1911 - Born 20 May in Barba (municipality of Quarrata) near Pistoia (Tuscany), the birthplace of Marino Marini. At the age of 12, he attends the Scuola d'Arte in Pistoia and, under the instruction of the painter Fabio Casanova, in the following years decides to embark on an artistic carieer, whereby his first sculptures are created.
1932 - Moves to Florence in order to continue his education at the Accademia delle Belle Arti. Frequents the artists' café Giubbe Rosse, meeting point for the intellectuals known as the Ermetici Group (Eugenio Montale, Carlo Bo, etc.). He has close contact to the painter Ottone Rosai and the poet Mario Luzi. At the end of the year he moves to Albisola Capo (Savona), where he works in the La Fiamma ceramic workshop. He creates many terracotta sculptures, mainly biblical figures.
1933 - Befriends Tullio Mazzotti (better known by the name of Tullio d'Albisola), who owns the Giuseppe Mazzotti (Tullio's father) ceramic factory in Albissola Marina. It is here that the most significant artists of the Second Futurism work under the patronage of Filippo Tommaso Marinetti: Fillia, Antonio Sant'Elia, Nicolaj Diulgheroff, etc.
1935 - Participates in the Mostra Nazionale in Naples. Establishes a small studio. First contact with Arturo Martini and Lucio Fontana, the latter of whom he begins a friendship with until Fontana's death.
1938 - Receives the Bagutta-Spotorno Award for the bronze "II piccolo pescatore" [The Little Fisherman], which is bought by the Museum of Modern Art, Milan on the advice of Arturo Martini. Participates at the IX Mostra Interprovinciale, Genoa.
1939 - Livorno Award for painting and sculpture as well as the City of Genoa Award.
1940 - First solo exhibition at the Galerie Gian Ferrari, Milan. Military service in Yugoslavia. In the following years his works are shown in numerous national exhibitions.
1946 - Takes up residence in Milan and during the summer months works in Albisola, in the Mazzotti ceramic factory, where all the terracotta sculptures are created. In the years after the war, Albisola again becomes a centre for art of international importance where Marino Marini, Giacomo Manzù, Aligi Sassu; Karel Appel, Guillaume Corneille and Asger Jorn from the CO.BR.A. Group, as well as Roberto Matta and Wilfredo Lam. In the 1950s, artists such as Giuseppe Capogrossi, Roberto Crippa, Sergio D'Angelo, Gianni Dova, Piero Manzoni, Cesare Peverelli, Mario Rossello, Emilio Scanavino, etc. also arrive. Receives Third Prize at Spiga, Milan.
1947 - He creates important terracotta and ceramic works such as "Donna del popolo" [Lady of the People], "Uomo colpito" [Struck Man] and "La madre" [The Mother]. First meeting with Picasso in Vallauris.
1948 and 1951 - Gold Medals at the IX and X Milan Triennale
1952 - Marries Caterina Barbieri. Solo exhibition at the XXVI Venice Biennale. First Prize at the Mostra della Ceramica d'Arte Italiana, Messina.
1953 - Birth of his son, Luca
1955 - International Sculpture Award, Cannes.
1956 - Travels to China with Rafael Mafai, Giulio Turcato, Aligi Sassu and others. His work is greatly influenced by this trip over the next few years. First Prize at the Mostra d'Arte Sacra, Bologna. Rome Quadriennale Award
1957 - First Prize for Sculpture, Spoleto. International Gold Medal for Small Bronzes, Padua. International Sculpture Award, Carrara.
1958 - Solo exhibitions in New York and Philadelphia. Second Prize of the City of Cantù (Lombardy).
1959 - Participates at the Milan Biennale. International Sculpture Award, Carrara. Novara Award for the Mostra Internazionale d'Arte Sacra.
1960 - Solo exhibitions at the XXX Venice Biennale and in New York
1965 - Voted into the Accademia Nazionale di San Luca, Rome.
1966 - First Prize at the Mostra d'Arte Sacra, Trieste.
1967 - Illustrates ten poems by Salvatore Quasimodo. Receives the Rosa d'Oro Award, Albissola Marina
1968 - First Prize at the Pescia Gold Medal. After a long friendship, Salvatore Quasimodo dedicates an open letter to Fabbri, which is published in the weekly magazine “Tempo” on the occasion of the exhibition at the Borgogna Gallery, Milan. Solo exhibition in London.
1969 - Receives the Filottrano Marche International Award.
1970 - From this date onwards, he creates all terracotta and ceramic sculptures at the San Giorgio ceramic factory owned by Poggi and Salino, Albisola Marina
1971 - Award for his work “Liberazione”, Biennale Triveneta, Padua.
1972 - Major retrospective at the Palazzo Giano della Bella, Pistoia.
1973 - Milan Triennale Gold Medal.
1975 - Major retrospective at the Palazzo Reale, Sala delle Cariatidi, Milan.
1976 – Receives the Cino da Pistoia Award, Pistoia
1978 - Member of the Accademia Fiorentina del Disegno, Florence. In the 1970s a series of documentary films on Giorgio de Chirico, Renato Guttuso, Agenore Fabbri, etc. is created. There is a great response to the film “Come nasce un'opera d'arte° [How a work of art is produced] with Fabbri.
1981 – Receives the Golden Key of the City of Pistoia.
1983 - Honorary Citizen of the City of Pistoia. Major retrospective at the Wilhelm-Lehmbruck Museum, Duisburg.
1984 - Rafael Alberti, who has been a friend of Fabbri's for many years, writes 40 poems about his work; at the same time, a book and documentary film featuring both is produced.
1988 - Exhibition of painting and sculpture at the Ludwig Museum, Cologne. Exhibition of his paintings at the Museo Civico di Suzzara, Suzzara (Mantua).
1991 - As a designer for Tecno Milan, he creates a bench that is very successful in Europe and America.
1992 - Participates in the Fellbach Triennale. Retrospective at the Sprengel Museum, Hannover and Museum Ludwig, Koln
1998 - Elected President of The Accademia Nazionale di San Luca. On August 4 is abruptly hospitalized with a brain haemorrhage, which paralyses the left side of his body. Dies November 7 in Savona.
  

Catalogue Raisonné
(2 volumes: Sculpture and Painting, 2011)
(Silvana Editoriale - Cinisello Balsamo, Milano/Italy - www.silvanaeditoriale.it )

The entire spectrum of the work of Agenore Fabbri is collected in this general catalogue of two volumes compiled by Volker W. Feierabend and published in the collection of the VAF Foundation/Frankfurt am Main on occasion of the hundredth anniversary of the artist’s birth. The first volume contains the results of his works of sculpture, in words and images, in chronological order and divided into Fabbri’s artistic periods, starting from the Thirties and continuing through the Nineties, with introductory essays of Renato Barilli and Volker W. Feierabend. The second volume is dedicated to the artist’s pictorial creation and his work as an illustrator, together with an appendix with documents, a biography, an index of the artist’s exhibitions (Solo and Group) shows and Museums and an ample bibliography.