Eduardo Paolozzi

Sir Eduardo Paolozzi with his sculpture of Newton at the British Library, photographed by Chris Lee.
Sir Eduardo Paolozzi with his sculpture of Newton at the British Library, photographed by Chris Lee. © British Library. Image not licensed for reuse.

Biography

Eduardo Paolozzi

Eduardo Paolozzi was a sculptor, draughtsman, printmaker and designer and is credited as one of the founders of British Pop Art. He is known for his collages of imagery from mass-media, screenprints, and monumental bronze sculptures. He was an influential teacher at St Martin’s School of Art (1955 – 1958), the Royal College of Art (1968 – 1989), and at schools in Hamburg, Cologne, and Munich in Germany, and in Edinburgh. Paolozzi was a key member of the Independent Group, alongside Richard Hamilton, Alison and Peter Smithson, Nigel Henderson, Lawrence Alloway, and John McHale. The Independent Group met at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London in the early 1950s to discuss mass-media imagery and visual culture in all its forms.

Eduardo Paolozzi’s work was exhibited at the 1952 Venice Biennale, the 1957 Sao Paulo Bienal, and in Documenta II in Kassel, 1959. Significant exhibitions include retrospectives at the Tate Gallery (1971), the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield (1994) and at Pallant House Gallery (2013). In 2004 Flowers East held an exhibition relating to Paolozzi’s public commissions. Paolozzi created the mosaics at London’s Tottenham Court Road underground station in 1986. His sculpture, Newton after Blake, was unveiled at the British Library in 1997. The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art holds an extensive collection of Paolozzi’s work.

Eduardo Paolozzi was appointed CBE in 1968, elected Royal Academician in 1979, and knighted in 1989. From 1993 – 1995 Paolozzi was interviewed by Frank Whitford for Artists’ Lives. His life story interview and transcript can accessed on the British Library Sounds website. A written summary is available on the British Library’s Sound and Moving Image Catalogue.

Biography and education

Eduardo Paolozzi was born on 7 March 1924 in Leith, Scotland, to Italian parents. He studied at Edinburgh College of Art in 1943 and at the Slade School of Fine Art from 1944 – 1947. After completing his war service in the Pioneer Corps, and following the popularity of his first one-man exhibition at the Mayor Gallery, Paolozzi moved to Paris where he lived and worked from 1947 – 1950. While in Paris he had access to collections of Dadaist and Surrealist work held by Mary Reynolds and Tristan Tzara.

Eduardo Paolozzi died on 22 April 2005 in London, aged 81.

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