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Biography

Born in Catania on 20 August 1922 , the second son of four children of a humble family, he loses his father at a very young age and is therefore forced to alternate study and work since he was a child. Obsessively attracted to drawing, he returned home in the evening and felt the need to impress his emotions on everything that happened to him: on wood, cardboard and on pieces of cloth stolen from his mother. Among his favorite subjects there was the little sister that he dressed up and portrayed. He loved to say; "Those moments were my life and my life was waiting for those moments."
The more the years passed, the more his passion for drawing and painting grew.

1937/1946 - He enrolled at the Art School of Catania, where the painter Roberto Rimini (1988/1971) was headmaster, who immediately recognized his enormous potential and allowed him to attend his studio. Rimini's technique, far from the "truth" of hyperrealism and closer to expressionism, will play an important role in Calogero's artistic choices. He alternates his study with the profession of decorator, learning to paint in extreme conditions. During his military service, he was entrusted with the task of draftsman for the army; it will be during this period that he becomes fully aware that he will devote the rest of his life to art. At the end of the war hostilities, he realizes that his Catania cannot help him achieve his goals, and he moves to Rome. Meet the master Renato Guttuso, who in those years together with some painter friends founded the "Fronte Nuovo Delle Arti" movement, which had as its objective the recovery of various international artistic experiences, which due to the war were little known in Italy.

1947/1950 - The knowledge of these new realities and the full confidence of his abilities pushed him to direct confrontation and with courage he moved to Paris. He lives on the top floor of a poor pension in Montmartre, keeping the accommodation by portraying the faces of his landlord's children. He manages to get what he needs to paint from a fine arts shop in exchange for some work. He works a lot, closely observes the great artists of the period and frequents them in the bistros of Montmartre. Among these Gino Severini, Filippo De Pisis and Maurice Utrillo glimpse his talent and encourage him to insist in moments of despair. After two years of suffering, he meets an influential art dealer, who undertakes to buy all his production, successfully proposing it to private individuals and many Parisian galleries. With the first earnings he decides to perfect his technique by attending the Accadèmie des Beaux Arts with commitment.

1951/1956 - His first solo show in Paris at the Harvè gallery (at that time very attentive to young talents) where he obtained considerable success with critics and audiences. They also became aware of his talent in America and on the occasion of one of his personal shows in New York he met Bing Crosby, a great actor and art lover, who organized an exhibition for him with the most prestigious gallery in Los Angeles. Become one of the most coveted artists of Hollywood actors and overseas collectors. He works in Paris with the Galerie Madsen which allows him the opportunity to experiment with new themes and painting techniques that will interest much not only the public, but also the most attentive critics of the period: Maximilien Gauthier, Waldemar George and Francois Christian Toussaint review him in the catalog for the his personal exhibitions. Now a successful artist, he buys the atelier that once belonged to Picasso and Degas in Pigalle in Paris, where he will work with great intensity to satisfy the requests of art dealers who will take his works around the world.

1957/1960 - The municipal council of la Ville de Paris awarded him the great silver medal, the highest recognition of the city of Paris for living artists. Considered now a French painter, he decided to add the name Jean to the now famous Calogero to the signature of his paintings.
- The municipal council of la Ville de Paris awarded him the great silver medal, the highest recognition of the city of Paris for living artists. Considered now a French painter, he decided to add the name Jean to the now famous Calogero to the signature of his paintings.

1961/1970 - Bound by an exclusive contract with a large network of American galleries, he decides to live more permanently in Sicily, from which he draws heavily on lights and colors. In 1965 his first solo exhibition in Japan in Tokyo.

1971/1984 - While on tour in the United States, he is recalled to Italy due to the deterioration of his mother's health, who expires a few days after his return. From the serious loss, he suffered severe trauma and abruptly broke off relations with his merchants, refusing long stays abroad. Urged by his friend, writer and essayist Leonardo Sciascia, he intensified his exhibition activity in Italy and the critics who had only reported the echo of the successes of his exhibitions in the world, entered the heart of the artistic debate, which concerns him, knowing how to grasp the international value and strong personality. Thus began a new pictorial period for Calogero. He maintains his studio in Paris where he often goes, both for long business stays and to take care of public relations with his admirers.

1985/1990 - He returns to exhibit in America and Japan to present the new works of the eighties, where his palette lights up, giving his knights, ladies, clowns, places and architecture the dazzling light of an eternal spring.

15 NOVEMBER 2001 - He dies in Acicastello in Sicily, and since his death, in order to protect artistic production and intellectual memory, his sons Patrizia and Massimiliano together with Luigi Nicolosi, have formed the Association Cultural "JEAN CALOGERO ARCHIVE". The archive is intended for the training, updating, study and dissemination of the cultural aspects of Calogero's work. The organization of personal exhibitions and the promotion of meetings and conferences. Archiving and certification of authenticity of the Works. Numerous anthological and retrospective exhibitions have been organized since his passing. Several works have been donated to administrations and public spaces, we recall; the Diocesan Museum of Catania, the Municipality of Catania and the Municipality of Acicastello, which has permanently dedicated a room of the Norman Castle to the title of a street and a villa. The headquarters of the Jean Calogero archive (located in Acicastello in via F. Crispi 50, where the Artist had his studio and residence) can be visited by the public, and the visitors who attend it and those who participate in its exhibitions, continue to experience the poetics magic of his paintings.

Main personal exhibitions

  • 1951, Galerie Hervè, Parigi;
  • 1952, Associated American Artists, New York;
  • 1953, James Vigevano Galleries, Los Angeles;
  • 1954/1960, Galerie Madsen, Parigi;
  • 1955, Galerie Lefort, Montreal, Canada;
  • 1957, Galerie Albert, Quebec, Canada;
  • 1959, Gallery Roland, Londra;
  • 1961, Galleria Della Torre, Bergamo;
  • 1963, Galerie Robert Philippe, Parigi;
  • 1965, Mostra Antologica Tokyo;
  • 1968, Galerie Rosenheim, Germania;
  • 1970, Galleria La Robinia, Palermo;
    • Florida Gallery, Chicago;
  • 1971, Galleria LaTorre, Bergamo;
    • Galleria il cavalletto, Catania;
  • 1972, Galleria De Rosa, Milano;
  • 1973, Galleria Pinacoteca, Roma;
    • Galleria L’Incontro, Taranto;
  • 1974, Galleria Idea, Firenze;
    • Galleria Pier della Francesca, Arezzo;
    • Galleria La Meridiana, Verona;
    • Galleria Schettini, Milano;
    • Galleria L’Incontro, Bologna;
  • 1975, Galleria New Gallery, Catania;
    • Galleria L’Isolotto, Napoli;
    • Galleria del Corso, Latina;
  • 1977, Galleria Michelangelo, Firenze;
    • Galleria Pinacoteca, Roma;
  • 1978, David Galleries, Bari;
  • 1979, Galleria d’Arte La Pinacoteca ,Roma;
  • 1981, Graziani Gallery, New York;
  • 1982, Museo d’Arte Moderna Sessa Arunca CE;
    • Chiesa S. Silvestro, Tuscania VT;
  • 1987, Galleria L’Angolo, Catania;
    • Galleria Arte Spazio, Sassari;
    • Centro Arte Il Faro, Taranto;
  • 1988, Galleria L’esagono, Lecce;
  • 1989, Minako H. Gallery, Tokyo;
    • Nihon Garo,Nagoya, Giappone;
    • Galleria Del Viale Jonio, Catania;
  • 1990, Galerie Molìer, Parigi;
    • Galerie Axe, Parigi;
    • Axis Gallery, San Francisco;
    • Art Expo New York;
  • 1991, Palazzetto dell’Arte, Foggia;
    • Galleria Pinacoteca, Roma;
    • Sinagrarte91, Sinagra, ME;
    • Galleria Buonarroti, Siracusa;
  • 1992, Galleria Arte Oggi, Reggio Calabria;
    • Galleria del Corso, Latina;
    • Art Gallery, Gela;
  • 1993, Galleria Profili d’Arte, Catania;
  • 1994, Europ Art 94, Ginevra;
    • Galleria Antarte, Messina;
  • 1995, Galleria Agorà, Palermo;
  • 1996, Palazzo Russo, Acicastello, CT;
    • Galleria Arte Spazio, Sassari;
  • 1997, Chiesa S. Leonardo, Tuscania VT;
  • 1999, Galleria Perlini, Reggio Calabria;
    • Galleria Il Castello, Rovigo;
    • Galleria Donini, Roma;

Posthumous activities and exhibitions

  • 2002, Intitolazione “Villetta Jean Calogero” in Piazza Castello ad Aci Castello CT
    • Apertura sede archivio Jean Calogero a Catania presso ”Galleria Artesia”
  • 2003, Retrospettiva arte fiera Padova;
  • 2004, Retrospettiva arte fiera Forlì;
    • Retrospettiva arte fiera Palermo;
    • Retrospettiva arte fiera Padova;
  • 2006, Mostra collettiva itinerante “Il treno dell’arte”;
    • Retrospettiva arte fiera Catania;
  • 2010, Grande mostra antologica “Centro culturale le ciminiere” Catania;
    • Donazione Opera al Museo Diocesano di Catania;
  • 2011, Mostra personale “Galleria artesia” Catania;
  • 2012, Intitolazione sala al Castello Normanno di Aci Castello CT;
    • Mostra antologica “Galleria civica montevergini” Siracusa;
  • 2013, Mostra personale a cura della galleria “arte viva” Vittoria;
    • Istituzione associazione culturale archivio Jean Calogero;
    • Apertura della “Casa museo Jean Calogero” ad Aci Castello CT;
    • Istituzione tour Jean Calogero ad Aci Castello CT;
  • 2014, Mostra collettiva arte a Catania 1950-1980 “Camera di commercio” Catania;
    • Intitolazione strada a Cannizzaro frazione di Aci Castello CT;
    • Ciclo di mostre tematiche “Spazio espositivo archivio Jean Calogero” Catania;
  • 2015, Mostra personale Castelmola (ME) a cura di Art promotion Taormina;
    • Mostra collettiva itinerante “Artisti di Sicilia” a cura di Vittoro Sgarbi;
  • 2016, Mostra personale presso “Fondazione lamberto puggelli” Catania;
    • Mostra personale di disegni e bozzetti “Museo del disegno” Palermo;
  • 2017, Mostra collettiva casa Vaccarini “Retabolo siciliano” artisti siciliani del ‘900 Catania;
  • 2019, Mostra personale “Omaggio a Catania” a cura di Luigi Nicolosi. Gam Catania;
    • 2019 Donazione Opera al Comune di Catania;
  • 2020, Mostra collettiva “novecento. da Pirandello a Guccione”. A cura di Vittorio Sgarbi. Convitto delle arti di Noto SR;
    • Assegnazione Premio Verga;

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