Born in 1952 in Naples, Francesco Clemente is best known for his colorful, highly expressive drawings and paintings of the human form. After studying architecture at the University of Rome, Clemente turned to visual art and quickly gained recognition for his work. Frequently featuring subjective and erotic imagery, Clemente's drawings and paintings often depict the human body, particularly the female body. Other common subjects of Clemente’s work include spirituality, himself, and the symbolism of childhood dreams and memories.
In 1980, Clemente participated in the Venice Biennale and today he is seen as one of the most important artists of the Neo-Expressionist movement which emerged in the 1970s and 1980s as a reaction against the cerebral, emotionally detached art of Minimalism and Conceptualism. After moving to New York in 1981, Clemente created his first series of large-scale oil paintings The Fourteen Stations (1981-82).
Clemente has collaborated with other artists including, in the Western tradition, Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat. Having visited India for the first time in 1973, Clemente became interested in Indian crafts, culture, folklore, and mysticism and he has continued to return to India for inspiration and for collaboratation with Indian artists, most notably in the book Francesco Clemente Pinxit (1981). For this book, Clemente worked with Indian papermakers and with miniaturists who painted the decorative accents.
The making of books such as this one has been a central part of Clemente’s work throughout his career and he has also collaborated with numerous literary figures. In the 1980s, Clemente created three books with Beat poet Allen Ginsberg – Images from Mind and Space (1983), White Shroud (1984), and Black Shroud (1984). He has also collaborated with poet Robert Creeley on a number of books including It (1989) and Life & Death (1993). In all, Clemente has contributed to over forty books and portfolios. His works are held in the collections of the New York Public Library, the Museum of Modern Art, the Bibliothèque National, and the Whitney Museum of American Art among others.
Books by Francesco Clemente available from Boreas Fine Art:
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