Lauretta Vinciarelli

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Lauretta Vinciarelli
DiedAugust 3, 2011 (aged 67–68)
Alma materLa Sapienza University, Rome
OccupationArchitect, artist, educator

Lauretta Vinciarelli (1943 – August 3, 2011) was an artist, architect, and professor of architecture at the collegiate level.[1][2]

Background and education[edit]

Born in Arbe, Italy, Lauretta Vinciarelli was the daughter of Alberto and Annunciata Cencioni Vinciarelli. The family moved to Rome where she grew up, and her father was an organist in the St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican, and her mother was a teacher.[3] Vinciarelli studied architecture at Sapienza University of Rome, and was accepted to the Ordine degli Architetti di Roma e del Lazio (the Italian Board of Architects). She practiced architecture in Rome before emigrating to the U.S. in 1968. In 1993, she married Peter Rowe, a distinguished professor of architecture at Harvard University.



After moving to the U.S., Vinciarelli taught architecture design studio for many years in many schools, including Rice University in Houston, Texas, University of Illinois, Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, Columbia University, City College, and The Open Atelier of Design and Architecture (OADA), a non-accredited design school founded by Giuseppe Zambonini in New York City.[4][5][6]


During the 1980s, Vinciarelli worked with Minimalist artist Donald Judd in New York City and in the American Southwest,[7] especially in Marfa, Texas. Marfa quickly became a research site for theoretical postmodern architectural proposals such as Marfa II Project, Marfa, l978 and untitled drawings 1981.[8][9] Vinciarelli used a rigorously inductive methodology to define and integrate fundamental architecture and design components.[10][11] On the topic of the Marfa "hangar and courthouse" study, Vinciarelli stated her aim was "to form a fabric."[12] In 1984, Vinciarelli and Judd entered the winning entry for the Kennedy Square Providence, Rhode Island, competition. Their project drew upon Vinciarelli's earlier work, including her landscape architecture proposal of 1977 for a system of urban gardens, commissioned by the Regional Administration of Apulia, in southern Italy. In 1986, Vinciarelli was awarded an Artists Fellowship in Architecture by the New York Foundation for the Arts.[13]


From the early 1980s until the end of her life, Vinciarelli created evanescent watercolor-and-ink studies of hypothetical architectural spaces. Her work has been analyzed by scholars and critics, including Ada Louise Huxtable and K. Michael Hays in Not Architecture But Evidence That It Exists.[14][15] Vinciarelli belonged to an esteemed and influential group of contemporary paper architects, which included, among others, Raimund Abraham, John Hejduk, Gaetano Pesce, Lebbeus Woods, and Aldo Rossi. Vinciarelli created powerful and inspiring, hand-crafted imagery of topological space, on paper, which is a distillation of traditional, historical, and imaginal references.[16] Her use of water elements extend the essence of architecture through transparency and reflection.[17]

About her artwork, Vinciarelli said, The architectural space I have painted since 1987 does not portray solutions to specific demands of use, it is not the space of a project; at least not a project as the rational answer to a program.[18]


Vinciarelli's art is part of many private collections and cultural institutions, including the International Archive of Women in Architecture (IAWA) at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, California, Columbia University's Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Art Institute of Chicago.[19][20][21][22][23] A large body of work by Vinciarelli, including the luminous Orange Sound series is held at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. A 2015 exhibition at MAXXI, the National Museum for the Twentieth Century Arts in Rome, dedicated to architecture included a group of Vinciarelli's abstract watercolors donated by the artist’s family.[24][25]

Museum and archive collections[edit]

Lauretta Vinciarelli's work is part of major international collections.

  • A.A.M. Architettura Arte Moderna[26]
  • Senza titolo
medium/ media: 3 tecnica mista su cartoncino
dimensions: each 44, 5 x 57 cm., 1975
  • Hangar + Courtyard,
medium. media: 3 inchiostro e tempera su carta lucida
dinemsions: each 39, 5 x 64 cm. 1980 ; 1980
Classification: architectural drawing
Collezione Francesco Moschini e Gabriel Vaduva, 2002
  • San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA
  • Atrium in Red, 1992[27]
Medium/media: watercolor and ink on paper
Dimensions: 30 in. x 22 3/8 in. (76.2 cm x 56.83 cm)
Classification: architectural drawing
Collection: SFMOMA Accessions Committee Fund, 1977
Medium/media: watercolor and ink on paper
Dimensions: 30 in. x 22 5/8 in. (76.2 cm x 57.47 cm)
Classification: architectural drawing
Collection SFMOMA: Accessions Committee Fund: gift of Frances and John Bowes, Emily L. Carroll and Thomas W. Weisel, Doris and Donald Fisher, Maria Monet Markowitz and Jerome Markowitz, Madeleine H. Russell, and the Modern Art Council, 1997
  • Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA
  • Garden Structure; Untitled,[perspective], 1986[29]
Medium watercolor on heavy paper
Measurements H: 13 1/2 x W: 16 3/4 in. (34.29 x 42.55 cm)
Collection: The Heinz Architectural Center, gift of the Drue Heinz Trust
  • National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC[30]
  • Long Horizon II [center]. Dimensions: 74 x 102.7 cm (29 1/8 x 40 7/16 in.), 1995;
  • Long Horizon II [left]. Dimensions: 74 x 104 cm (29 1/8 x 40 15/16 in.), 1995;
  • Long Horizon II [right]. Dimensions: 74 x 104 cm (29 1/8 x 40 15/16 in.), 1995[31]
Medium: watercolor and pastel over graphite on heavy woven paper
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Roger Ferris, Rowland and Eleanor Miller, and Eric and Ellen Somberg, 1998
Accn. N° 1998.26.2 ; Accn. N° 1998.26.2 ; N° 1998.26.3
  • Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
  • Orange Sound, project, 7 watercolor series, 1999[32][33]
Medium: graphite, and color ink on paper
Dimensions: each 30 x 22" (76.2 x 55.9 cm)
Gift of Mrs. Gianluigi Gabetti Purchase Fund
Annc. N° 1417.2000.1, Annc. N° 1417.2000.2, Annc. N° 1417.2000.3, Annc. N° 1417.2000.4, Annc. N° 1417.2000.5, Annc. N° 1417.2000.6 1417.2000.7
  • International Archive of Women in Architecture (IAWA)[35]
  • Lauretta Vinciarelli Art Work
11 untitled tempera drawings on boards
IAWA Small Collections; Special Collections 1907-2013
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.


The work of Lauretta Vinciarelli has been published and exhibited in solo and group shows at galleries and museums around the world.

Solo shows[edit]

Group shows[edit]

  • 1975: Goodbye Five: Work by Young Architects. Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies, New York, N.Y.[47]
  • 1975: Architectural Studies and Projects. Museum of Modern Art, New York, N.Y.[48]
  • 1977: Drawing for A More Modern Architecture. The Drawing Center, New York, N.Y.[49]
  • 1977: Women in American Architecture: A Historic and Contemporary Perspective. Brooklyn Museum, N.Y.[50] and Hayden Gallery, :::MIT.
  • 1978: Architectural Drawings. Otis Art Institute, Los Angeles, CA.[51]
  • 1979: Elements of Architecture. Sperone Westwater Fisher Gallery, New York, N.Y.[52]
  • 1980: Art by Architects. Rosa Esman Gallery, 70 Greene Street, New York, N.Y.[53]
  • 1980: Creation and Recreation: America Draws, Jugend Hall, Museum of Finnish Architecture, Helsinki, Finland[54]
  • 1980: Desire As Archetype: The Chicago Tribune Tower Competition/ Late Entries.[55]
  • 1980: Young Architects: an Exhibition at Yale School of Architecture. Gallery of Art and Architecture, New Haven, CT.[56]
  • 1985: Project for Palmanova. Venice Biennale of Architecture: 3rd International Exhibition of Architecture[57]
  • 1991: Contemporary Architectural Drawings. Miriam & Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery and Arthur Ross Gallery at Columbia University, NY[58]
  • 1997: Summer Group Show. Max Protetch Gallery, New York, N.Y.
  • 2001: Inside Out: New Perspectives on the Heinz Architectural Center’s Collection. The Heinz Architectural Center Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA.[59]
  • 2002: Luminous Void Volume of Light, series (2001). Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City.[60][61]
  • 2002: Italian Architecture Signs Since The War. Dalla Collezione Francesco Moschini, A.A.M. Architettura Arte Moderna, Florence, Italy.[62]
  • 2003: Visions and Utopias: Architectural Drawings from the Museum Of Modern Art. New York, NY; Museum of Finish Architecture, Helsinki, Finland[63][64]
  • 2004: Watercolor Worlds : Lauretta Vinciarelli, et al. Dorsky Gallery, New York[65]
  • 2004: Envisioning Architecture: Drawings from the Museum of Modern Art, New York. National Building Museum, Washington, D.C.[66]


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  2. ^ "Lauretta Vinciarelli: Biography". San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
  3. ^ Amateau, Albert. "Lauretta Vinciarelli, 68, a painter emphasizing horizon, light, and color, as well as A architecture professor". The Villager. Retrieved September 24, 2015.
  4. ^ "Biographical information on contributors". Oz: Journal of the College of Architecture, Planning & Design of Kansas State University. 17 (10). 1995. doi:10.4148/2378-5853.1276.
  5. ^ Amateau, Albert. "Lauretta Vinciarelli, 68, a painter as well as architecture professor". The Villager. Retrieved September 24, 2015.
  6. ^ Larson, Jen (October 28, 2011). "The Open Atelier: "I was told he was a designer and a poet…"". The New School Archives.
  7. ^ Lerup, Lars (October 1, 2001). After The City (Reprint ed.). Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press. pp. 208. ISBN 978-0262621571.
  8. ^ Ian, Fraser (November 15, 1993). Envision Architecture: An Analysis of Drawing (1st ed.). Wiley. p. 208. ISBN 978-0471284796.
  9. ^ Kice, Karen (June 23, 2015). Chatter: Architecture Talks Back. Chicago, Illinois: Art Institute of Chicago. p. 96. ISBN 978-0300210637.
  10. ^ Riley, Matilda McQuaid ; with an introduction by Terence (2002). Envisioning architecture : drawings from the Museum of Modern Art. New York: The Museum of Modern Art. p. 248. ISBN 978-0870700118.
  11. ^ Vinciarelli, Lauretta. "7 Courtyard Studies for South West texas". Art & Architecture (Winter 1981): 36–37.
  12. ^ Miller, Ross (July 1980). "Reading Architectural Writing : Drawings of Unbuilt Projects Reveal Two Unique Approaches". Residential Interiors: 76–77, 88.
  13. ^ "NYFA Directory of Artists Fellows 1985-2013". New York Foundation for the Arts. New York Foundation for the Arts.
  14. ^ Huxtable, Ada Louise (2008). On Architecture: Collected Reflections on a Century of Change. Walker Books. pp. 496. ISBN 978-0802717078.
  15. ^ Hays, K. Michael (April 1999). "Not Architecture but Evidence That It Exists: A Note on Lauretta Vinciarelli's Watercolors". Assemblage (38): 49–57. doi:10.2307/3171247. JSTOR 3171247.
  16. ^ Karen D., Stein (September 1993). "Imagined Spaces". Architectural Record. 181 (9): 106.
  17. ^ Filler, Martin (October 1992). "Building with Paper and Water". Design Quarterly. 57: 15.
  18. ^ Vinciarelli, Lauretta (1995). "Red Rooms, Water Enclosures, and Other Unfolding Space". Oz: Journal of the College of Architecture, Planning and Design, Kansas State University. 17.
  19. ^ "Modern Women: Women Artists At The Museum of Modern Art". Museum of Modern Art.
  20. ^ Smyth, Francis, P. "National Gallery of Art: 1998 Annual Report". National Gallery of Art. Editor's Office, National Gallery of Art.
  21. ^ Parks, Janet. "Avery Library Blog: Lauretta Vinciarelli: in memoriam". Columbia University.
  22. ^ "Collections: Lauretta Vinciarelli, Italian, 1943-2011". Art Institute of Chicago. Art Institute of Chicago.
  23. ^ "Glass Ceilings: Highlights from the International Archive of Women in Architecture Center," selected exhibit panels, 2010". Virginia Heritage: Guide to Manuscripts & Archival Collections in Virginia.
  24. ^ Perkovic, Jana (December 8, 2015). "MAXXI Rome Closes the Year With Three Architectural Exhibitions". BlouinArt.
  25. ^ "New adquisitions on "Libera e permanente" at MAXXI's Collection". BIGMAT International Architecture Agenda. December 11, 2015.
  26. ^ "A.A.M. Architettura Arte Moderna Fondo Francesco Moschini". FFMAAM.
  27. ^ "Lauretta Vinciarelli, Atrium in Red, 1992".
  28. ^ "Lauretta Vinciarelli, Night #6, 1996". San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
  29. ^ "Garden Structure; Untitled, [perspective]".
  30. ^ "Artist Vinciarelli, Lauretta". National Gallery of Art.
  31. ^ "Vinciarelli, Lauretta". National Gallery of Art.
  32. ^ "Lauretta Vinciarelli Orange Sound, project 1999The Collection".
  33. ^ McQuaid, ed., Matilda (2002). Revisioning Architecture: Drawings from The Museum of Modern Art. New York: The Museum of Modern Art. p. 248.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  34. ^ "Lauretta Vinciarelli. Orange Sound, project. 1999. Watercolor, graphite, and color ink on paper, 30 x 22" (76.2 x 55.9 cm). Mrs. Gianluigi Gabetti Purchase Fund".
  35. ^ "IAWA Small Collections, 1907-2013". Virginia Tech.
  36. ^ Ballantine, Christa. "Obit> Lauretta Vinciarelli, 1943-2011". The Architect's Newspaper.
  37. ^ "Arte, Fotografia, Disegni e Progetti di Architettura Collezione Francesco Moschini e Gabriel Vaduva A.A.M. Architettura Arte Moderna: Lauretta Vinciarelli". A.A.M. Architettura Arte Moderna. Francesco Moschini Foundation: A.A.M. Architecture Modern Art.
  38. ^ International Archive of Women In Architecture. "Biographical Database: Lauretta Vinciarelli". Virginia Tech. IAWA.
  39. ^ Vinciarelli, Lauretta (1995). "Red Rooms, Water Enclosures and Other Unfolding Spaces". OZ. 17. doi:10.4148/2378-5853.1272.
  40. ^ "entlichungen" (PDF).
  41. ^ "Past Exhibitions 1985-2002". National Building Museum. Archived from the original on 2012-08-08.
  42. ^ Rowe, Peter G; Vinciarelli, Lauretta (1997). Reflections : watercolors by Lauretta Vinciarelli. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Graduate School of Design.
  43. ^ MUSCHAMP, HERBERT (1998-09-13). "THE ARTS: NEW SEASON/ARCHITECTURE". The New York Times.
  44. ^ Kalb, Peter R. (2002). "Lauretta Vinciarelli at Henry Urbach Architecture". Art in America. 90 (9): 130.
  45. ^ Peter Rowe, Camille Farey, George Ranalli (2015). Clear Light: The Architecture of Lauretta Vinciarelli. Oscar Riera Ojeda Publishers. p. 296. ISBN 978-988-16195-9-4.
  46. ^ Filler, Martin (2012). "dates & events: "Clear Light: The Architecture of Lauretta Vinciarelli" in New York City". Architectural Record. 200 (5): 216.
  47. ^ Frank, Suzanne S. (2011). IAUS: The Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies, An Insider's Memoir. Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse. ISBN 9781452086965.
  48. ^ "Architectural Studies and Projects: Press Release" (PDF). The Museum of Modern Art.
  49. ^ "Drawings For A More Modern Architecture". The Drawing Center.
  50. ^ "Women in American Architecture: A Historic and Contemporary Perspective".
  51. ^ "Contributors". Oz : Journal of Architecture, Planning & Design. 17 (10). 1995. doi:10.4148/2378-5853.1276.
  52. ^ "Gorup Show: Elements of Architecture : May 08 to Aug. 31, 1979". speronewestwater. Exhibitions: Sperone Westwater. Missing or empty |url= (help)
  53. ^ "Rosa Esman Gallery records, [ca. 1965 -1997]". Archives of American Art. Retrieved January 21, 2016.
  54. ^ Juhani Pallasmaa (Ed), Gerald Allen and (1980). Creation And Recreation: America Draws. Helsinki: Museum of Finnish Architecture.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  55. ^ "Late Entries to the Chicago Tribune Competition Collection: Ryerson and Burnham Archives, Ryerson and Burnham Libraries". The Art Institute of Chicago.
  56. ^ Ranalli, George (curator) (1980). "Young Architects". New Haven, Ct.: Yale School of Architecture. OCLC 702321262. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  57. ^ Pirovano, ed., Carlo (1985). Terza Mostra Internazionale Di Architettura =Third International Exhibition of Architecture. Venice Project. 2 Volumes. Milano: La Biennale di Venezia / Electa Editrice. ISBN 978-8843511983.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  58. ^ Contemporary Architectural Drawing. San Francisco: Pomegranate Artbooks. 1991. p. 0876547676. ISBN 978-0876547670.
  59. ^ "Media Archive: Heinz Architectural Center". Carnegie Museum of Art.
  60. ^ Rinder, Lawrence; Whitney Museum of American Art. 2002 biennale exhibition. Whitney Museum of American Art. pp. 291. ISBN 978-0810968325.
  61. ^ Iovine, Julie V. (February 21, 2002). "The Whitney Biennial Invites Architecture In". The New York Times.
  62. ^ "Italian architecture designs since the war". Dalla Collezione Francesco Moschini A.A.M. Architettura Arte Moderna.
  63. ^ "Mostre: VISIONS AND UTOPIAS Architectural Drawings From The Museum Of Modern Art, New York".
  65. ^ Watercolor worlds : Roger Andersson, Jennifer Bartlett, Robert Bechtle, Louise Bourgeois, Cecily Brown, Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Francesco Clemente, Lydia Dona, Till Freiwald, Barnaby Furnas, Margaret Harrison, Al Held, Jane Kaplowicz, Joyce Kozloff, Yayoi Kusama, Charlene Liu, Steve Mumford, Elizabeth Murray, Philip Pearlstein, Judy Pfaff, Sylvia Plimack Mangold, Robert Rauschenberg, Alexis Rockman, Shahzia Sikander, Lauretta Vinciarelli, Roger Welch, William Wiley. New York: Dorsky Gallery. 2004.
  66. ^ Quaid, Matilda; Riley, Terence, eds. (2002). Envisioning Architecture: Drawings from The Museum of Modern Art. New York: The Museum of Modern Art. ISBN 978-0870700118.