Eduardo Paolozzi, sculptor and artist, Died at 81


Eduardo Luigi Paolozzi died on the 22nd of April 2005 at the age of 81; he was a Scottish sculptor and artist.  Born on the 7th of March 1924, in Leithin north Edinburgh, Scotland, and was the eldest son of Italian immigrants.

In June 1940, when Italy declared war on Britain, Paolozzi was interned (along with most other Italian men in Britain).

During his three-month internment at Saughton prison his father, grandfather and uncle, who had also been detained, were among the 446 Italians who drowned when the ship carrying them to Canada, the Arandora Star, was sunk by a German U-boat.

He moved back to London eventually establishing his studio in Chelsea. The studio was a workshop filled with hundreds of found objects, models, sculptures, materials, tools, toys and stacks of books.

Paolozzi was interested in everything and would use a variety of objects and materials in his work, particularly his collages.

In 1955 he moved with his family to the village of Thorpe-le-Soken in Essex. Together with Nigel Henderson (artist) he established Hammer Prints Limited, a design company producing wallpapers, textiles and ceramics that were initially manufactured at Landermere Wharf, and when his evening course in printed textile design at the Central School of Art and Design attracted the Trinidadian graphics student Althea McNish, he was instrumental in pointing her towards her future career as a textile designer.

Paolozzi came to public attention in the 1950s by producing a range of striking screen prints and ′Art Brut′ sculpture. Paolozzi was a founder of the Independent Group in 1952, which is regarded as the precursor to the mid-1950s British and late 1950s American Pop Art movements.

His seminal 1947 collage I was a Rich Man’s Plaything is considered the earliest standard bearer representing Pop Art.

He always described his work as surrealist art and, while working in a wide range of media though his career, became more closely associated with sculpture.

In the 1960s, Paolozzi further incorporated the theme of modern machinery into his art, through collaboration with industry engineering companies—which provided him with materials, equipment and workspace.

Aluminum became Paolozzi’s new material of choice, as he littered his work with discarded machine parts.

Fused together through drilling, bolting and welding, the sum total of the parts produced ground-breaking artwork with sharp geometric edges that still managed to be suggestive of the human form.

Through his industrial art, Paolozzi made a social statement about man’s role in the age of technology.

After a long period of illness following a stroke in 2001, Eduardo Paolozzi died in London, England.