Conrad Marca-Relli

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Conrad Marca-Relli
Conrad Marca-Relli in 1982 in his studio
Corrado Marcarelli

(1913-06-05)June 5, 1913
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
DiedAugust 29, 2000(2000-08-29) (aged 87)
Parma, Italy
EducationNew York School
Known forPainting
MovementAbstract expressionism

Conrad Marca-Relli (born Corrado Marcarelli; June 5, 1913 – August 29, 2000) was an American artist who belonged to the early generation of New York School Abstract Expressionist artists whose artistic innovation by the 1950s had been recognized across the Atlantic, including Paris.[1] New York School Abstract Expressionism, represented by Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline, Robert Motherwell, Marca-Relli and others became a leading art movement of the postwar era.


Marcarelli (he changed the spelling later in life) was born in Boston. His parents Cosimo and Genovina Marcarelli were Italian immigrants from Benevento. Marcarelli moved to New York City when he was 13 where he grew up with his brother Ettore, and sisters Dora and Ida. In 1930 he studied at the Cooper Union for a year. And a year later he opened his own studio in New York and managed to earn an income by teaching and producing occasional illustrations for the daily and weekly press.[2][3] He later supported himself by working for the Works Progress Administration, first as a teacher and then with mural painting divisions of the Federal Art Project during this period he won the Logan Medal of the Arts. He served in the US Army military service during World War II (1941–1945).

Marca-Relli taught at Yale University from 1954 to 1955 and from 1959 to 1960, and at the University of California, Berkeley. In 1953, he bought a house near Jackson Pollock's home in Springs, East Hampton. As his career progressed, he increasingly distanced himself from the New York School.[4]

He lived and worked in many countries around the world, eventually settling in Parma, Italy with his wife, Anita Gibson, whom he married in 1951. Conrad Marca-Relli died on August 29, 2000, in Parma, at the age of 87.


After the war Marca-Relli joined the "Downtown Group"[5] which represented group of artists who found studios in lower Manhattan in the area bounded by 8th and 12th street between First and Sixth Avenues during the late 1940s and early 1950s. During the late 1940s and early 1950s, he was actively involved in the avant-garde art world in Greenwich Village. These artists were called the "Downtown Group" as opposed to the "Uptown Group" established during the war at The Art of This Century Gallery.

His first one-man show was in New York City in 1948. In 1949 Marca-Relli was among the founders of the "Artists' Club"[6] located at 39 East 8th Street. He was selected by his fellow artists to show in the Ninth Street Show held on May 21 to June 10, 1951.[7] The show was located at 60 East 9th Street on the first floor and the basement of a building which was about to be demolished.

The artists celebrated not only the appearance of the dealers, collectors and museum people on the 9th Street, and the consequent exposure of their work but they celebrated the creation and the strength of a living community of significant dimensions.[8]

Conrad Marca-Relli was among the 24 out of a total 256 New York School artists included in the Ninth Street Show and in all the following New York Painting and Sculpture Annuals from 1953 to 1957.[9][10][11][12][13][14] These Annuals were important because the participants were chosen by the artists themselves.[15]

Marca-Relli's early cityscapes, still lifes, circus themes and architectural motifs are reminiscent of Italian surrealist painter Giorgio de Chirico. Throughout his career, Marca-Relli created monumental-scale collages. He combined oil painting and collage, employing intense colors, broken surfaces and expressionistic spattering. He also experimented with metal and vinyl materials. Over the years the collages developed an abstract simplicity, evidenced by black or somber colors and rectangular shapes isolated against a neutral backdrop.[16]

In 1967, the Whitney Museum of American Art gave him a retrospective show.

The Archivio Marca-Relli, which was established by the artist and Galleria d'arte Niccoli in Parma in 1997, collects information about Conrad Marca-Relli and archives his work for a future general catalogue.


Works in Museums and Public Collections[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Art History, Marilyn Stokstad, Vol. 2, p. 1109"
  2. ^ "Conrad Marca-Relli". Retrieved 14 July 2022.
  3. ^ "Conrad Marca-Relli". Retrieved 8 August 2022.
  4. ^ "Conrad Marca-Relli | Biography | Hollis Taggart Galleries". 2007-06-05. Retrieved 2010-07-26.
  5. ^ 9th Street Art Exhibition
  6. ^ Artists' Club
  7. ^ 9th Street Show Poster Archived February 5, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ Bruce Altshuler, Avant-Garde In Exhibition New Art in the 20th Century, New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1944, Chapter 9, p. 171
  9. ^ 9th Street Show Poster Archived February 5, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ "Second Annual Poster". Archived from the original on 2010-06-03. Retrieved 2009-12-08.
  11. ^ "Third Annual Poster". Archived from the original on 2010-06-03. Retrieved 2009-12-08.
  12. ^ "Fourth Annual Poster". Archived from the original on 2010-06-03. Retrieved 2009-12-08.
  13. ^ "Fifth Annual Poster". Archived from the original on 2010-06-03. Retrieved 2009-12-08.
  14. ^ "Six Annual poster". Archived from the original on 2010-06-03. Retrieved 2009-12-08.
  15. ^ New York school : abstract expressionists : artists choice by artists : a complete documentation of the New York painting and sculpture annuals, 1951–1957 p. 11–29
  16. ^ "Marca-Relli, Conrad – American artist". TerminArtors. Archived from the original on 2011-03-16. Retrieved 2010-07-26.
  17. ^ "Empire State Plaza Art Collection". Retrieved 21 November 2018.


  • Corrado di Marca-Relli. oils; Text by H. Elkin; Exhibition: Niveau Gallery New York, 1947
  • Corrado di Marca-Relli, New Paintings; Exhibition: The New Gallery, New York, 1951
  • Marca-Relli: Pastes a painting; Parker Tyler in "ArtNews", November New York, 1955
  • Marca-Relli; Text by Gillo Dorfles; Exhibition: Galleria del Naviglio, Milano, 1957
  • Marca-Relli - Kootz; Text by W.Rubin; Exhibition: Kootz Gallery, New York, 1959
  • William C Agee, Conrad Marca-Relli (New York, Published in the occasion of the personal exhibition at Whitney Museum of American Art by F.A. Praeger, 1967.) OCLC: 1555599
  • Conrad Marca-Relli; Marlborough-Gerson Gallery, Marca-Relli Feb. 1970 (New York : Marlborough-Gerson Gallery; Associated galleries: Marlborough Fine Art (London) Ltd., Marlborough Galleria d'Arte, 1970) OCLC: 56224536
  • Conrad Marca-Relli; Cordier & Ekstrom, Marca-Relli, new constructions & collages on paper : March 23 to April 23, 1977 (New York : Cordier & Ekstrom, 1977) OCLC: 47714830
  • Conrad Marca-Relli; Santiago Amón; Galeria Joan Prats, Marca-Relli 1976-1978(Barcelona : Ediciones Polígrafa, [1978?]) ISBN 84-343-0265-9, ISBN 978-84-343-0265-5; OCLC: 6284061
  • Conrad Marca-Relli, Conrad Marca Relli : the early years, 1955-1962: February 3-27, 1979 (New York : Marlborough Gallery, 1979.) OCLC: 6059559
  • Conrad Marca-Relli; Alex Rosenberg Gallery, Conrad Marca-Relli, homage to la belle epoque : new works : October 5-31, 1983 (New York, N.Y. : Alex Rosenberg Gallery, [1983]) OCLC: 47715196
  • Marca-Relli; Text by Dore Ashton; Galleria d'Arte Niccoli, Parma, Italy 1990. Exhibition: October 6-November 26, 1990
  • Reclaiming Artists of the New York School Toward a More Inclusive view of the 1950s, Exhibition: March 18-April 22, Baruch College CUNY, New York City, 1994 Mishkin Gallery
  • Marca-Relli:Tensioni Composte/Composite Tensions; Works from 1939 to 1997; Text by Bruno Corà; Pacini Editore and Galleria Open Art, Prato; 2004 [anthological exhibition, October 14, 2004 – January 8, 2005, Prato, Galleria Open Art] ISBN 88-7781-628-7
  • Conrad Marca-Relli; The New York Years 1945 - 1967; Text by Jasper Sharp; Knoedler & Company Publisher, New York, 2009; Exhibition: September 12 - November 14, 2009, New York, Knoedler & Company Gallery ISBN 978-0-9820749-4-7
  • Conrad Marca-Relli. City to town, essays by Carter Ratcliff 2011, Knoedler&Company Gallery publisher, New York, 2011; exhibition: May 5 - July 29, 2011
  • Conrad Marca-Relli. The Springs Years 1953 - 1956, essays by Carter Ratcliff 2011, Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center publisher, New York, 2011; exhibition: May 5 - July 29, 2011
  • Conrad Marca-Relli. The Architecture of Action, essays by David Anfam and Kenneth Baker, Ronchini Gallery publisher, London, exhibition October 10 - November 24, 2012
  • Conrad Marca-Relli. Reconsidered, Essay by William C. Agee, Hollis Taggart Galleries publisher, New York, 2016; Exhibition: January 21 - March 5, 2015, Hollis Taggart Galleries, New York ISBN 978-0-9889139-0-5


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