Pietro Lazzari
(Italian-American, 1895-1979)

Vertical Ascent, 1960, oil on canvas
50 H. x 34 W. inches, signed verso: Pietro Lazzari 1960
Pietro Lazzari's formal training as an artist began in Rome, where he joined the Italian Futurist movement. He exhibited and lived in both Rome and Paris until 1925 when he immigrated to the United States, arriving in New York. In 1926, Lazzari was one of only nine European artists who contributed to an important exhibition at the New Gallery, in New York. Amongst the other participating Europeans were the 44 year old Pablo Picasso, Jules Pascin, and Amedeo Modigliani. During the Great Depression, Lazzari became an American citizen and was commissioned by the WPA for many mural paintings and sculptures. In 1935, he participated in the influential exhibition, Abstract Painting in America, at the Whitney Museum of American Art. He was also represented by the influential Betty Parsons Gallery. Lazzari was immersed in the New York art scene and for a time shared a studio with Mark Rothko.
In 1942, the artist moved permanently to Washington, D.C., where he established his studio and participated in many exhibits. During the following years, he was awarded the Fulbright Fellowship and often traveled to Rome. He taught painting and sculpture at The American University from 1948 to 1950, headed the Art Department at Dumbarton College, and also taught at the Corcoran School of Art and Gallaudet College. His sculpture, paintings and drawings can be found in many major collections including the Whitney Museum of American Art, Art Institute of Chicago, the Smithsonian Institution, Miami Museum of Modern Art and the San Francisco Museums of Fine Art.
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