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Conrad Marca-Relli

Born Corrado Marcarelli in Boston in 1913 to Italian parents, he would change his name in early 1950 to Conrad Marca-Relli. In 1927 he moved with his family to New York where he found work as workshop assistant to Onorio Ruotolo, a historic Italian-American sculptor in Manhattan. In 1949, he founded with Philip Pavia, Mark Rothko, Franz Kline, Willem de Kooning and many other artists the Eight Street Club, an important reference point for American intellectuals and promoter of the first exhibition on Abstract Expressionism, the Ninth Street Show, in 1951. During his lifetime Marca-Relli created collages on a monumental scale. He combines oil painting and collage, developing very intense colors, irregular surfaces, and expressionist sketches that link his aesthetic to the work of Kurt Schwitters. He also experiments with metal, plastic and textile materials. Over the years, his collages take on an abstract simplicity, highlighted by dark colors and isolated rectangular shapes against a neutral background. His works are exhibited in the world’s most celebrated museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation in New York. He died in Parma on August 29, 2000, at the age of 87.

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