Piero Manzoni  (Italian, 1933-1963) 

Piero Manzoni (Italian, 1933–1963) was one of the precursors of Conceptual Art. Born in Soncino, Italy, Manzoni was a self-taught artist and among the first to question the nature of the art object, creating shocking pieces that constantly provoked controversy within the Italian art community. In 1956, Manzoni signed two manifestos asserting his dedication to greater artistic freedom, and participated in the Nuclear Art movement with painter and sculptor Alberto Burri (Italian, 1915–1995). In both response and homage to the blue monochromes of Yves Klein (French, 1928–1962), Manzoni created the Achromes series in 1959. By pasting various materials (cotton, rocks, straw, and other natural elements) onto a monochrome canvas, he sought to transform matter into “pure energy.” In his Lines series of highly Conceptual works, he traced a pencil line on a strip of paper, writing the date and length of the line and rolling it up in a tube for display. In 1961, Manzoni created his famous Artist’s shit series—creating works advertising his own excrement in a can—as an ironic reflection on the relationship between an artist’s body, his art, and the contemporary art market. Manzoni died in Milano in 1963.

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Piero Manzoni, Achrome (Sassi)


Piero Manzoni
Achrome (Sassi)

Galerie Dreyfus
Piero Manzoni, Achrome


Piero Manzoni

Montrasio Arte
Piero Manzoni, Achrome (from the Azimut series)


Piero Manzoni
Achrome (from the Azimut series)

Cardi Gallery
Piero Manzoni, Fiato d'artista


Piero Manzoni
Fiato d'artista

Galerie Thomas
Piero Manzoni, Achrome


Piero Manzoni

Imago Art Gallery
Past auction results (595)  View All
Piero Manzoni, Achrome


Piero Manzoni
Achrome, 1960-1961
expansive polystyrene and phosphorescent paint


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Piero Manzoni, Carta d'autenticità (Declaration of Authenticity)


Piero Manzoni
Carta d'autenticità (Declaration of Authenticity), 1961
pre-printed receipt


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Piero Manzoni, Linea m. 6, 27


Piero Manzoni
Linea m. 6, 27, 1959
ink on paper and a cardboard cylinder


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1933   Born in Soncino, Italy
1951   Enrolled at the Accademia di Brera to study law, Milan, Italy
1953   Began private lessons in painting
1950 - 1954   Focused on conventional landscapes and portraits
1954   Changed studies at Acadamia di Brera from law to art and philosophy at first in Rome and later in Milan, but drops out
1954   Began experimenting with oils, plaster of Paris and enamel
1951 - 1955   Turned to making works with impressions left by keys, scissors, etc., which had been dipped in tar
1957   Manzoni and Fontana joined the group Gruppo Nucleare
1957   With the influence of Yves Klein, Manzoni began to make white paintings which he called Achromes
1957   First one-man exhibition in the foyer of the Teatro delle Maschere, Milan, Italy
1961   Manzoni began signing living bodies, which he proceeds to certify as works of art
1961 - 1962   Traveled to Germany, Yugoslavia, Belgium and the Netherlands
1963   Diesd in his studio in the Via Fiori Chiari, Milan, Italy
2011   Manzoni: Azimut, Gagosian, London, UK
2009   Piero Manzoni: A Retrospective, Gagosian, New York, USA
2007   L’immagine del vuoto, Museo Cantonale d’Arte, Lugano, Italy
2007   Piero Manzoni e Albisola, Palazzo Reale, Milano, Italy
2006   La Scultura Italiana del XX secolo, Fondazione Arnaldo Pomodoro, Milano, Italy
2006   Zero, Museum Kunst Palast, Düsseldorf, Germany
2006   Il modo Italiano, The Montreal Museum of fine Arts, Montreal, Canada
2005   Beyond Painting, Tate Modern, London, UK
2005   When humor becomes painful, Migros Museum, Zurich, Switzerland
2004   Beyond Geometry: Experiments in Form, LACMA, Los Angeles, USA
2003   3 x Monochrom. Lucio Fontana, Piero Manzoni, Pino Pinelli, Kreissparkasse, Rottweil, Germany
2002   Themes and Variations.Post-war Art from the Guggenheim Collections, Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venezia, Italy
2002   De Gustibus, Palazzo delle Papesse, Siena, Italy
2001   Ironia, Fundació Joan Miró, Barcelona, Spain
2000   Against Nature: Alberto Burri, Lucio Fontana, Piero Manzoni, Sperone Westwater, New York, USA
1998   Piero Manzoni, Serpentine Gallery, London, UK
1996   La metamorfosi del corpo. Arte Italiana da De Chirico a Manzoni, Palazzina dei Giardini, Modena, Italy
1995   Piero Manzoni: Line Drawings, The Musum of contemporary Art, Los Angeles, USA
1994 - 1995   The Italian Metamorphosis 1943-1968, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York,USA
1992   Joseph Beuys, Piero Manzoni, Noriyuki Haraguchi, Akira Ikeda gallery, Tokyo, Japan
1991   Piero Manzoni, Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris, France
1989   Italian Art in the 20th century, Royal academy of Arts, London, UK
1988   Zero, un movimento europeo. Collección Lenz Schönberg, Fundación Juan March, Madrid, Spain
1987   Grande Circo: 1973-1997. 15 anni di arte italiana alle fiere europee, Studio la Città, Verona, Italy
1986   Piero Manzoni. Disegni inediti 1960, Sala del consiglio, Perugia, Italy
1985   Azimuth & Azimut, Padiglione d’Arte Contemporanea, Milano, Italy
1983   L’Informale in Italia, Galleria Civica d’Arte Moderna, Bologna, Italy
1979 - 1980   Zero Internationaal Antwerpen, Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Antwerpen, Belgium
1977   Piero Manzoni, Centro Culturale Anconadue, Milano, Italy
1974   Piero Manzoni. Paintings, Reliefs & Objects, The Tate Gallery, London, UK
1972   Piero Manzoni; De Europa; Operazione Vesuvio, Henry Art Gallery, Seattle, USA
1963   Piero Manzoni, Galerie Smith, Brussels, Belgium
1963   Zero, der neue Idealismus, Galerie Diogenes, Berlin, Germany
1962   Gruppo Zero, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
1961   Manzoni, Castellani, Castellani, Galleria La Tartaruga, Rome, Italy
1960   A new artistic conception, New Vision Centre, London, England
1959   Bonalumi, Castellani, Manzoni, Bonalumi, Castel, Galerie Kasper, Lausanne, Switzerland
1959   Piero Manzoni: Rilievi, Galerie De Posthoorn, The Hague, The Netherlands
1959   Piero Manzoni, Galleria La Parete, Milan, Italy
1958   Piero Manzoni, Galleria Pater, Milan, Italy
1958   Piero Manzoni, Rotterdamsche Kunstkring, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
1958   Fontana, Baj, Manzoni, Fontana, Baj, Galleria Bergamo, Bergamo & Circulo di Cultura, Bologna, Italy
1957   Manzoni, Verga, Sordini, Verga, Sordini, Galleria Pater, Milan, Italy
1957   Piero Manzoni, Foyer del Teatro delle Maschere, Milan, Italy