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Afro (1912—1976)

Arturo Martini (1889—1947)

Reg Butler (1913—1981) sculptor



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Italian sculptor, born at Udine, brother of the painter Afro and of the sculptor Dino Basaldella (1909–77). He trained in Venice, Florence, and Monza, where he was a pupil of Arturo Martini. In the late 1940s he began to experiment with abstraction and he worked with many different materials in his search for fresh and expressive forms. He had numerous public commissions, his best-known work being bronze gates and balustrades for the Mausoleo delle Fosse Ardeatine, Rome (1949–51), a memorial to the 320 Italians executed by the Germans in 1944 in reprisal for the killing of 32 German soldiers. Their spiny, tormented forms convey ‘the horror of modern extermination, perpetuating the moment of anguish rather than dealing in the facile coinage of patriotic condolence’ (Fred Licht, Sculpture: 19th and 20th Centuries, 1967). Mirko also worked as a painter and in 1951 he did murals and mosaics for the Food and Agriculture Organization Building, Rome. In 1953 he won a second prize in the international competition for the Monument to the Unknown Political Prisoner (see Butler, Reg) and in 1955 he was awarded the grand prize for sculpture at the São Paulo Bienal. He moved to the USA in 1958 to teach at Harvard University.

Subjects: Art.

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