Piero Manzoni (1904 – 1963)

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Manzoni, Achrome

Achrome
c. 1960 Kaolin on canvas 7 1/8 x 9 5/8″ (18.1 x 24.3 cm)

Manzoni, Achrome

Achrome
circa 1958 kaolin on canvas
Walker Art Center

Manzoni, Achrome

Achrome
Polystyrene and kaolin 53 x 43 cm
Cultural Heritage of Intesa Sanpaolo

Piero Manzoni was an Italian conceptual artist, known for critiquing Italian social values. Manzoni was born Count Meroni Manzoni di Chiosca e Poggiolo, in the town of Socino in the province of Cremona.

Manzoni, Achrome

Achrome
1962 Fiberglass on velvet-covered wood 32 x 25 1/2 x 10 3/8″ (81.3 x 64.8 x 26.4 cm)

Manzoni, Achrome

Achrome
Kaolin and wrinkled canvas 70 x 100 cm
Cultural Heritage of Intesa Sanpaolo

Manzoni, Achrome

Achrome
1959 Kaolin on canvas 90 x 70 cm
Private collection

Manzoni’s work was greatly impacted by Yves Klein’s exhibition ‘Epoca Blu’, which was on display at the Galleria Apollinaire. Manzoni created his series of ‘Achromes’ in response to Klein’s monochromes. In the Achrome series, Manzoni experimented with a type of white clay known as kaolin, which he would use to coat canvases. Some of his later Achromes included white cotton, fiberglass, rabbit skin, cobalt chloride and bread.

Manzoni, Una linea lunga

Una linea lunga
(12 Line series) 1959 cardboard tube

Manzoni, Line

Line 18.82m (12 Line series)
1959 Ink on paper with cardboard container object: 267 x 70 x 70 mm

In 1959 Manzoni started showing in Milan at the Gallery Azimuth. It was in Milan that Manzoni innovated the idea of showing multiples in his series, ’12 Lines’ and ‘Bodies of Air’. The latter exhibit consisted of an edition of forty-fie balloons on tri-pods. The balloons were to be inflated by either the artist of consumer, depending on the price of purchase.

Manzoni, Artist's Breath

Artist’s Breath
1959-1960 wooden box 4,8 x 42,5 x 12,3 cm

Manzoni, Thumbprint

Thumbprint
1960 Ink on paper with colored mat, Sheet 7 7/8 x 6 5/8″ (20 x 16.8 cm)

In 1960, Manzuni’s exhibition ‘Consumption of Art by the Art-Devouring Public’ consisted of edible hard-boiled eggs, carrying the artist’s thumbprint. In 1961 Manzoni’s work became even more controversial after producing ‘Merda d’Artista’ or ‘Artist’s Shit’. The project consisted of ninety sealed cans. The contents of the cans, which weigh thirty grams each, remain a mystery. The mystery cans continue to sell for prices as high as $80,000.

Manzoni, Artist's Shit No. 014

Artist’s Shit No. 014
1961 Metal, paper, and “artist’s shit” 1 7/8″ (4.8 cm) x 2 1/2″ (6.5 cm) in diameter

Manzoni’s work is regarded to be a parody of consumer culture and the art market. Ironically, the value of Manzoni’s work continues to rise in the market. Do you think you own a piece by Piero Manzoni? Contact us. We are the experts on Piero Manzoni.