Painter and installation artist Carla Accardi (1924, Trapani – 2014 Rome, Italy) has led a life dedicated to advancing an artistic philosophy of Abstraction. As a central figure in the Italian avant-garde movement of the 1950s, Accardi led the way towards new methods of abstract painting - a direction she continues to pursue in her contemporary work.
Born in a small Sicilian town in 1924, Carla Accardi expressed her interest in art at a young age through the medium of drawing. Deeply impressed by his daughter’s early work, Accardi’s father was the first to encourage her study of painting. Accardi trained as a painter at the Accademia de Belle Arti in Palermo where she studied for one year, however, the need for a more intense artistic environment led Accardi to the art-centered city of Florence. Once in Florence, Accardi again enrolled in the Accademia, but soon realized that she could not relate to the formalized training and instruction presented in an art school setting. While the school emphasized tradition and technique, Accardi desired a new kind of art that would allow room for her growing admiration of abstract expressionist artists like Kandinsky, Klee, and Mondrian.
Accardi found her inspiration when she met aspiring artist Antonio Sanfilippo, with whom she moved to Rome in 1946, and formed a close-knit circle of artist friends. In 1947, Accardi, along with Sanfilippo, Pietro Consagra, Piero Dorazio, Mino Guerrini, Achille Perilli, Giulio Turcato, and Concetto Maugeri founded the group Forma 1. The influential group attempted to create a new kind of art taking inspiration from Abstract Expressionism. Accardi’s works from this period combined bold colors with geometric shapes in reductive compositions. While her style softened in the 1950s with her brushwork becoming broad and calligraphic, Accardi maintained her interest in rhythm, figure, ground, and space, often exploring these relationships through varied color, pattern, and materials.
Accardi’s innovative contributions to the art world have been well recognized throughout her career. She has displayed her work in three Venice Biennial exhibitions and has been honored with retrospective exhibitions in Italy and France. In 1996 Accardi received the prestigious title of Cavaliere di Gran Croce Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana in honor of her lasting contributions to the humanities.