Francesco Clemente
Italy, 1952
Clemente was born into an aristocratic family who provided him with an education which concentrated on the study of Classical culture. He began with architecture, but soon met Alighiero Boetti and decided to take up painting. In 1971 he had his first exhibition. The same year, he travelled to India for the first time, and in 1973 to Afghanistan. Since then Eastern culture has left a deep mark on his work. In 1978 he made contact with other Italian painters who shared his interests: Chia, Cucchi and Paladino. Two years later Achile Bonito Oliva grouped them together under the name of the "Italian Transavantgarde"; Clemente was the leading figure. In 1980 he took part in the Venice Biennale, which brought him recognition on the international scene. Since 1982 he has lived between Italy, Madras and New York. There he met Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat, with whom he worked on various projects in 1984. It was also in the city where he became an outstanding figure in the renaissance of painting in the eighties.
David G. Torres