(Italy, 1900 - 1988)
- Among the great Italian masters of the 20th Century
- Included in major Biennals (Venice, Milan)
- Included in major Quadriennals (Rome, Turin)
- Included in major museum collections
- His works have been shown in pretigious public institutions, in Italy and aboad
- His works are in private collections, in Italy and abroad
- Reviewed by authoritative critics, art historians, poets and writers
- Museum dedicated to him (Museo Fondazione Primo Conti)
Primo Conti was born in Florence on October 16, 1900. Between the age of eight and nine, he already displayed his precocious talent in the fields of music, poetry and painting. In spite of his young age he was noticed for his acute and pertinent judgments on the works on display. In this way he knew Ardengo Soffici, Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, Aldo Palazzeschi, Carlo Carrà, Giovanni Papini and his peer Ottone Rosai. In 1914 he personally met Umberto Boccioni and set up an exhibition of the artist's sculptures in Florence, with the poet Ugo Tommei. In the summer, in Viareggio, he met Plinio Nomellini and started hanging out with him and his neighbor Galileo Chini. Their homes were meeting place for numerous intellectuals of the time, including Eleonora Duse, Giacomo Puccini, Alberto Magnelli, Grazia Deledda. He also became a friend of the famous painter Lorenzo Viani.
His approach to futurism was gradual and was finalized during 1917, the year in which he became editor of the magazine "L’Italia Futurista". In April of that year he met Pablo Picasso who was in Florence to follow the tour of the Russian Ballets; Picasso saw a Conti’s work exhibited in the city, and asked Alberto Magnelli to meet the young painter. In July, after his meeting with Giacomo Balla in Rome, Conti definitely became part of the Futurist movement. The paintings and drawings created between 1917 and 1919 gave a fundamental contribution to Futurism. Later, his style was already taking on a Metaphysical trend. The Twenties were a particularly complex period for Conti, his great curiosity led him to intersect different painting styles in his works.
In December 1920 he participated in the "Exposition National d'Art Moderne" in Geneva, organized by Enrico Prampolini, and his work was received as a revelation. In 1923 he exhibited at the Quadrennial in Turin: his paintings were placed together with those of Felice Casorati, Giorgio de Chirico, Carlo Carrà, Giorgio Morandi. In November he was looking with renewed interest at the religious art, dreaming of inaugurating "a new true and great Christian art". But at the same time he knew Harriet Quien; she help him to reconsider and to understand the opportunità to look at more modern and culturally stimulating horizons of life and thought.
In 1924 he exhibited at the 14th Venice Biennale; until the outbreak of World War II, Conti continued to participate in all the exhibitions of the Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh (U.S.A.), the Venice Biennials and the most important art exhibitions. In 1932 he exhibited in Florence, together with Arturo Martini, in the rooms of Palazzo Ferroni restored by architect Giovanni Michelucci.
From 1935 to 1939, he collaborated with the lively Maggio Musicale Fiorentino with sets, sketches and costumes. In 1939 he was called by Marcello Piacentini to collaborate on the decoration of the Palace of Justice in Milan. In 1941, he became professor of painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence. In the same year and in 1943 he exhibited in Florence together with Giorgio de Chirico.
Between 1948 and 1963, he went through a profound mystical vocation and adhered to the Franciscan order, while continuing to paint.
In 1959, in the fiftieth anniversary of the First Futurist Manifesto, he participated in the celebrations of futurism with exhibitions in Winterthur, Munich, Rome, and at the review hosted by the Venice Biennale in 1960. In 1962 the fifty years of his painting were celebrated with an exhibition at Plazzo Strozzi, in Florence.
In 1965 he participated in the IX Quadrennial of Rome and in 1967 he esibite in Amsterdam, Utrecht e Nijmegen. In 1979 was created the Primo Conti Foundation thanks to the donation of his house, his archives and his works of art.
Primo Conti passed away in 1988.
(an extract from artist's official website: https://www.fondazioneprimoconti.org/)