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Eduardo Paolozzi

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Title: Eduardo Paolozzi  
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Subject: Geometry of Fear, Pop art, Art in modern Scotland, Birgit Skiöld, Nigel Henderson (artist)
Collection: 1924 Births, 2005 Deaths, 20Th-Century British Sculptors, Academics of Saint Martin's School of Art, Academics of the Royal College of Art, Academy of Fine Arts, Munich Faculty, Alumni of Saint Martin's School of Art, Alumni of the Edinburgh College of Art, Alumni of the Slade School of Art, British Contemporary Artists, Commanders of the Order of the British Empire, Geometry of Fear, Knights Bachelor, Knights Commander of the Order of the British Empire, Modern Sculptors, People from Leith, Royal Academicians, Scottish Artists, Scottish Contemporary Artists, Scottish People of Italian Descent, Scottish Printmakers, Scottish Sculptors
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Eduardo Paolozzi

Sir Eduardo Paolozzi
Paolozzi follows William Blake's 1795 print Newton in illustrating how Isaac Newton's equations changed our view of the world to being one determined by mathematical laws (1995).
Born 7 March 1924 (1924-03-07)
Leith, Edinburgh, Scotland
Died Did not recognize date. Try slightly modifying the date in the first parameter. (aged 81)
Nationality Scottish
Education Slade School of Fine Art
Known for Sculpture, art

Sir Eduardo Luigi Paolozzi CBE RA (7 March 1924 – 22 April 2005) was a Scottish sculptor and artist.


  • Early years 1
  • Career 2
  • Later career 3
  • Notable works 4
  • Other work 5
  • See also 6
  • Sources 7
  • Writings 8
  • External links 9

Early years

Paolozzi's I was a Rich Man's Plaything (1947) is considered the first standard bearer of Pop Art and first to display the word "pop". Paolozzi showed the collage in 1952 as part of his groundbreaking Bunk! series presentation at the initial Independent Group meeting in London.

Paolozzi was born 7 March 1924, in Leith in north Edinburgh, Scotland, and was the eldest son of Italian immigrants. In June 1940, when Italy declared war on Britain, Paolozzi was interned (along with most other Italian men in Britain). During his three-month internment at Saughton prison his father, grandfather and uncle, who had also been detained, were among the 446 Italians who drowned when the ship carrying them to Canada, the Arandora Star, was sunk by a German U-boat.[1]

Paolozzi studied at the Fernand Léger. This period became an important influence for his later work.[2] For example, the influence of Giacometti and many of the original Surrealists he met in Paris can be felt in the group of lost-wax sculptures made by Paolozzi in the mid-1950s. Their surfaces studded with found objects and machine parts, were to gain him recognition.[3]


After Paris, he moved back to London eventually establishing his studio in Chelsea. The studio was a workshop filled with hundreds of found objects, models, sculptures, materials, tools, toys and stacks of books.[4] Paolozzi was interested in everything and would use a variety of objects and materials in his work, particularly his collages.[5] In 1955 he moved with his family to the village of Thorpe-le-Soken in Essex. Together with Nigel Henderson (artist) he established Hammer Prints Limited, a design company producing wallpapers, textiles and ceramics that were initially manufactured at Landermere Wharf, and when his evening course in printed textile design at the Central School of Art and Design attracted the Trinidadian graphics student Althea McNish, he was instrumental in pointing her towards her future career as a textile designer. Paolozzi came to public attention in the 1950s by producing a range of striking screenprints and ′Art Brut′ sculpture. Paolozzi was a founder of the Independent Group in 1952, which is regarded as the precursor to the mid-1950s British and late 1950s American Pop Art movements. His seminal 1947 collage I was a Rich Man's Plaything is considered the earliest standard bearer representing Pop Art.[6][7][8] He always described his work as surrealist art and, while working in a wide range of media though his career, became more closely associated with sculpture. Paolozzi is recognized for producing largely lifelike statuary works, but with rectilinear (often cubic) elements added or removed, or the human form deconstructed in a cubist manner.

Paolozzi sculpture (1982) near Pimlico station of the London Underground system

He taught sculpture and ceramics at several institutions, including the Hochschule für Bildende Künste in Hamburg (1960–62), University of California, Berkeley (in 1968) and at the Royal College of Art. Paolozzi had a long association with Germany, having worked in Berlin from 1974 as part of the Berlin Artist Programme of the German Academic Exchange Programme. He was a professor at the Fachhochschule in Cologne from 1977 to 1981, and later taught sculpture at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Munich. Paolozzi was fond of Munich and many of his works and concept plans were developed in a studio he kept there, including the mosaics of the Tottenham Court Road Station in London.[5] He took a stab at industrial design in the 1970s with a 500-piece run of the upscale Suomi tableware by Timo Sarpaneva that Paolozzi decorated for the German Rosenthal porcelain maker's Studio Linie.[9]

Paolozzi’s graphic work of the Sixties was highly innovative. In a series of works he explored and extended the possibilities and limits of the silkscreen medium. The resulting prints are characterised by Pop culture references and technological imagery. These series are: As Is When. (12 prints on the theme of Paolozzi’s interest in the philosopher, Ludwig Wittgenstein; published as a limited edition of 65 by Editions Alecto, 1965); Moonstrips Empire News. (100 prints, (8 signed) in an acrylic box; published as a limited edition of 500 by Editions Alecto, 1967); Universal Electronic Vacuum. (10 prints, poster and text; published by Paolozzi as a limited edition of 75, 1967); General Dynamic Fun. (part 2 of Moonstrips Empire News. 50 sheets plus title sheet; boxed in 5 versions; published as a limited edition of 350 by Editions Alecto, 1970).

In the 1960s and 1970s, Paolozzi artistically processed man-machine images from popular science books by German doctor and author Fritz Kahn (1888–1968), such as in his screenprint "Wittgenstein in New York" (1965), the print series "Secrets of Life – The Human Machine and How it Works" (1970), or the cover design for John Barth’s novel "Lost in the Funhouse" (Penguin, 1972). As recently as 2009, the reference to Kahn was discovered by Uta and Thilo von Debschitz during their research of work and life of Fritz Kahn.[10]

Later career

Paolozzi was appointed CBE in 1968[11] and in 1979 he was elected to the Royal Academy. During the late 1960s, he started contributing to literary magazine Ambit, which began a lifelong collaboration.

He was promoted to the office of Her Majesty's Sculptor in Ordinary for Scotland in 1986, which he held until his death. Paolozzi was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1989.[12]

In 1994, Paolozzi gave the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art a large body of his works, and much of the content of his studio. In 1999 the National Galleries of Scotland opened the Dean Gallery to display this collection, and the gallery displays a recreation of Paolozzi's studio, with its contents evoking the original London and Munich locations.[4]

In 2001, Paolozzi suffered a near-fatal stroke (causing an incorrect magazine report that he had died). The illness made him a wheelchair user, and he died in a hospital in London in April 2005.

In 2013, Pallant House Gallery in Chichester held a major retrospective 'Eduardo Paolozzi: Collaging Culture' (6 July −13 October 2013) which features over 100 of the artists works, including sculpture, drawings, textile, film, ceramics and paper collage. Pallant House Gallery has an extensive collection of Paolozzi's work gifted and loaned by the architect Colin St John Wilson who commissioned Paolozzi's sculpture 'Newton After Blake' for the British Library.

Notable works

Paolozzi mosaic designs for Tottenham Court Road Station. Location shown is the Central Line westbound platform (1982).
Paolozzi's sculpture Head of Invention is installed in front of the Design Museum on the Thames at Butler's Wharf, London (1989)

Other work

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ ″Paolozzi Arches Noah″, Exhibit Catalog, Münchner Stadtmuseum, 1990.
  3. ^ Jonathan Clark. "Eduardo Paolozzi (1924–2005) – Jonathan Clark Fine Art". 
  4. ^ a b
  5. ^ a b ″Mythologies″, Exhibit Catalog, The Scottish Gallery, 2–26 May 1990.
  6. ^ Livingstone, M., (1990), Pop Art: A Continuing History, New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc.
  7. ^ ″Eduardo Paolozzi″, Exhibit Catalog, Hefte der Akademie der Bildenden Künste, 1977.
  8. ^ I was a Rich Man’s Plaything', Sir Eduardo Paolozzi – Tate"'". Tate. 
  9. ^ [Anon.] (1976). "Faenza-Goldmedaille für SUOMI". Artis 29: 8.  
  10. ^ Uta and Thilo von Debschitz (2009). Man Machine / Maschine Mensch. (Springer Wien New York).  
  11. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 44484. p. 11. 29 December 1967.
  12. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 51578. p. 1. 30 December 1988.
  13. ^


  • Eduardo Paolozzi by Eduardo Paolozzi, Tate, London 1971 ASIN B00103A8RG
  • Recurring themes by Eduardo Paolozzi Rizzoli (1984) ISBN 978-0-8478-0573-0
  • Metafisikal Translations by Eduardo Paolozzi, Lelpra, London 1962 ASIN B002MNOJQY

External links

  • Tate Collection of Sir Eduardo Paolozzi: 381 Works
  • Works in National Galleries of Scotland
  • Sir Eduardo Paolozzi – Daily Telegraph obituary
  • BBC report of Sir Eduardo's death
  • Photos of some of Paolozzi's work
  • The Tottenham Court Road Underground Station mosaics
  • Sir Eduardo Paolozzi Gallery Web Site
  • Sir Eduardo Paolozzi Projects 1972 – 2000
  • Sir Eduardo Paolozzi – Jonathan Clark Fine Art
  • Independent Gallery
  • Paolozzi's internment recorded in Saughton Prison records, National Archives of Scotland
  • Article by John-Paul Stonard on Paolozzi's Bunk Collages: "The Burlington Magazine", April 2008
  • Designer Nicole Farhi on her 'friend and mentor' Eduardo Paolozzi, Daily Telegraph, July 2013
  • Review of the Sixties screenprints

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