Associazione per Mario Negri – per la Scultura

Mario Negri

Artist | Porta Venezia – Loreto | From the 1960s to the end of the millennium


Mario Negri was born in Tirano, Valtellina, on 25 June 1916. After schooling in Genoa, he moved to Milan, where he graduated from classical high school and the Brera Fine Arts Academy. From 1935 to 1940 he became acquainted with artists and intellectuals in Milan, particularly those connected with the Corrente group. After studying architecture and a long hiatus caused by the war and imprisonment (called to arms from 1940 until 1945, held in Polish and German work camps during the last two years for having refused to serve in the army of the Reich), he had his first solo show in 1957, at Galleria del Milione. These were years of intense and formative human and cultural ties: Alberto Giacometti, Franco Russoli, Luigi Carluccio, Lamberto Vitali, Cesare Gnudi, Marco Valsecchi, Dante Isella, Vittorio Sereni, Rudi Wach, and the photographers Arno Hammacher and Paolo Monti. Starting at the end of the 1950s, he regularly showed work in exhibitions in Italy and abroad. He passed away suddenly in Milan on 5 April 1987, on the eve of a retrospective held in Mantua at Palazzo Te.

For you, there were always a before and an after, Mario. Nothing in between, no compromises, no blurry zones. A clean cut: before, after. There’s your life as a young man, a student at the Manzoni high school, shaping clay on the sly, as a game, an unconscious apprenticeship, a yearning. And there’s the death of your father and your mother, in the span of just a couple of years, in the middle of your adolescence. The youngest of four children, you took the advice of your brother Bruno. No more clay. You signed up for architecture. “I had to show my brother I was making a choice, something that would lead to a future, a job,” you said. Concrete,…