Ercole Pignatelli

Ercole Pignatelli was born in Lecce on April 1935. In the 50’s he moved to Milan. The city was the undisputed capital in Italy of the new artistic and cultural ferment of the '50s and '60s. Here Pignatelli frequented the right environment (Brera) and met Italian masters, like Migneco and Virgilio Guidi (who later on would write for him a short but impassioned letter for a presentation). At “Bar Jamaica”, which was a hang out for painters, poets and art critics, Pignatelli had the opportunity to meet Salvatore Quasimodo, George Kaisserlian, Lucio Fontana, Ugo Mulas, Piero Manzoni, and Milena Milani. He became acquainted with the cultural movement in Milan and was soon to share the same interests of a renewal in art. The gallerist, Carlo Cardazzo was very interested in Pignatelli’s disheveled characters, represented as they had been struck by an electric current and placed in alarming backgrounds. He began to buy paintings by Pignatelli on a monthly basis, thus becoming his first merchant. Peppino Palazzoli, collector and then director of the Gallery Blu, also commissioned some paintings of the artist. In November 1954, in, Pignatelli won the San Fedele Prize for young artists, which was given to him by Carlo Carrà. From that moment on Ercole Pignatelli’s artistic career became rich and rewarding with many international awards. Between 1958 and 1974 his works were exhibited in New York, Venice, Milan, Turin, Philadelphia, Taipei, Tokyo, Salzburg, Bucharest and San Francisco. Of his various exhibitions, of great importance was his retrospective in Milan in 1974 and the exhibition at the European Parliament in Strasbourg in 2000. Ercole Pignatelli, has also been invited to exhibit at the Biennale in Venice, twice. He currently lives and works in Milan. Over the years many Italian and international critics have written of his work, such as Raffaele Carrieri, Tommaso Trini and the great guru of the "new realism" in France (with artists like Arman, Rotella, Spoerri and others) Pierre Restany, who edited a volume for one of the artist’s personal exhibitions. The subjects of the most recent decades are the "oasis", the "bases" (derived from Baroque), powerful, inspirational and evocative "nocturnal lucent" and "acrobats", which reveal a heartfelt love for Picasso, the artist that has most inspired Pignatelli. However the sea and landscapes of his native land are particularly dear to the master. He has demonstrated his deep attachment to his land by donating various pieces of his works (ranging from the '50s to the present day) to the city of Lecce. Such works are housed in three large rooms of the castle of Charles V.

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