Many art critics believe that Francesco Clemente is one of the most talented artists of the second half of the 20th century. He was born in Naples, Italy, in 1952. In Naples, he received his high school diploma and frequented the gallery of Lucio Amelio. During the 1970s, he moved to Rome, where he studied architecture. In Rome, he became friends with the artists Alighiero Boetti and Luigi Ontani. These two friends introduced him to a cosmopolitan world of artists, critics, actors, dealers and gallery owners. During these years he also spent time in India, where he felt at home. India was a land that had a great influence on his spiritual life, and, of course, his art.
Fast Paced Emergence of a Young Artist
In 1979, he had two important shows:
In 1980, Clemente participated in:
Clemente continued to explore and express his passion for India. In this land, he searched for himself and life. He lived in extreme conditions of simplicity, sleeping in temples, living in the ashram, and eventually renting an apartment in Madras. His time spent in India was vital to his development and education as an artist. He studied English in Old Dehli. He became a permanent fixture at the huge library of the Theosophical Society in Madras, where he studied philosophy and esoteric literature. In Madras, he was introduced to a wealth of local art: local painters, illustrations and posters that announced Indian films in the cinemas, and of course, the statuary and architecture of the temples.
During the 1980s, he established himself in N.Y., where his notoriety
quickly rose. Clemente stated that N.Y. was the city of the artists who had
the greatest influence on him, from Rauschenberg to Warhol.
Clemente and the Transavangaurdi continued with success after success world wide. In Oct of 1999, Clemente had the great honor of displaying 150 of his artworks at the NY Guggenheim. This show then transferred to Guggenheim Bilbao in 2000.
To really understand and experience the profundity of Clemente's work, one has to take into account his life experiences and the way he chose to live his life. He took what he had absorbed from the deep spirituality of India and assimilated it with his artistic voice. Indian spirituality spoken through an elegant command of the language of painting.
Clemente continues to live between New York, Napoli, and Madras, with the
love of his life, Alba, and their beautiful children.