Mario Avati was one of the most important painters and engravers of the second half of the twentieth century, recognized as one of the most influential figures of black manner after Yozo Hamaguchi.
Avati, of Italian origin, was born in Monaco on May 27, 1921. Still very young he moved to France, where he first attended the School of Decorative Arts in Nice and then the National Higher School of Fine Arts in Paris, the city where he will spend most of his time. of his life.
He graduated at the age of twenty and already in 1947, thanks to the influence of the master Édouard Joseph Goerg, at the time an icon in the world of engraving and illustration, he began to explore the techniques of indirect engraving through etching and aquatint.
The following ten years, for Avati, were characterized by experimentation: in fact, he spent them deepening and refining his knowledge in the field of engraving, progressively approaching the black manner, of which, already in 1957, he became one of the greatest exponents, also renowned internationally.
The black way, otherwise known as mezzotint , is one of the most complex and sophisticated engraving techniques ever developed, capable of giving life to works of great visual impact thanks to the contrast between light and shadow. The well-known art historian Jean Adhemar wrote in his works: "Avati's mezzotint expresses a strange and devastated universe". The black manner of the Italian lithographer, in fact, was full of surrealism, although the subject of his engravings were generally simple still lifes such as fruits, flowers, animals or musical instruments.
The artist, however, was known to be particularly meticulous, especially as regards the choice of materials: he almost exclusively used rags of the highest quality. Mario Avati also took care of the entire lithographic process alone, aware of how delicate the mezzotint was and how fragile the works thus created were.
In 1955 he created four prestigious exhibitions in London, New York, Los Angeles and Tokyo and in 1967 he collaborated with the Tamarind Institut, one of the most renowned lithography laboratories, a branch of the University of New Mexico based in Albuquerque.
In 1965 in the Paul Proute Gallery in Paris one of Avati's most prestigious and vast exhibitions was held and for the occasion the artist himself sent a special invitation brochure, illustrated by himself in the manner Black. From 1969 onwards Mario Avati converted to color, always using the mezzotint technique, but with the addition of watercolors.
Throughout his career he has received numerous awards and honors, includingthe 1957 Critics Prize, the gold medal at the first Biennial of Engraving in Florence in 1969 and the Nahed Ojjeh Prize of the Academy of Fine Arts in 1997. In addition, he was a member of the Society of French painters and engravers and he was an illustrious member of the French National Engraving Committee (now called the National Press Committee).
He died in Paris, the city in which he worked and lived for most of his life, on February 26, 2009.