Arturo Carmassi was born on the 2nd of July 1925 in Lucca. As a child, he moved to Turin with his family, where he studied and worked until 1952. He attended courses at the Fontanesi Landscape School and at the Accademia Albertina, from the very outset coming into contact with the artistic environment surrounding him.
Influenced by Cubism, he visited several European cities including Zurich, Berne and Paris, where he worked for some time before moving to Milan. Confronted with the Historical Avant Garde traditions, Carmassi soon diverged and showed himself to have his very own artistic style.
From the end of the Forties the artist had personal shows in several galleries in Turin. These earned critical acclaim and helped him come into contact with some of the greatest artistic expressions of the time (e.g. his participation in the International Exhibition of the Art Club and in Painters Today – Italian-French Encounters, organized by Luigi Carluccio).
At the beginning of the next decade, he met Gino Ghiringhelli from the Galleria Il Milione. They forged an extremely sound working relationship (Ghiringhelli becoming his dealer) and a solid friendship.
From 1952 onwards he made his name in culturally vibrant Milan, working in via Brera; in the same year he took part in the 26th Venice International Art Biennale.
The Fifties brought considerable activity for the young artist, who obtained repeated success in personal and collective shows in public and private galleries all over Italy (he won the Gulf of Spezia National Painting Prize, he had his first personal show at Il Milione, then in Rome and La Medusa, Venice), in Europe (Switzerland, Germany), and even on the American continent (São Paolo, New York).
From 1955 to 1965 Carmassi paid particular interest to sculpture, creating works of large dimensions with truly imposing qualities, displayed in a room of his own in the 1962 Venice Biennale. From the second half of the decade one can observe a change of course in Carmassi’s personal artistic expression, from “informal abstraction” towards the re-appropriation of “depiction”, the representation of the landscape and of the figure. This change coincides with his retreat into the Tuscan countryside, between Florence, Pisa and Lucca to Torre di Fucecchio where he currently lives.
This new artistic language, pervaded by symbolic connotations which confirm certain links the artist has with the Surrealist movement, finds its expression in a series of works exhibited between 1969 and 1972 at the Galleria Trentadue in Milan.
In the second half of the Seventies, Carmassi showed an overwhelming interest in sculpture and also in lithography and copperplate engraving. Through important monographs (among which the one curated by Giovanni Accame in 1980) in which he demonstrated his various artistic techniques, he came to be known as one of the most noteworthy artists on the international cultural scene, and was asked to exhibit and attend cultural events at museums and art institutions in Europe and America. The next couple of decades would be ones of intense activity for him.
In 1986 the French Academy in Rome dedicated an exhibition to the Imaginary Museum of Carmassi, in which recent works by the artist share space with the works of illustrious artists of the past (Dürer, Redon).
In 1992 and 1994 the artist had shows at the Galleria Il Ponte in Florence: paintings from the early Fifties and Sixties and works on paper form the Seventies to the Nineties.
This past decade, Carmassi, as well as building on the experimentation of the preceding years, has submitted his artistic language to a kind of “simplification”, eliminating almost all superfluous information, and thus reaffirming his work as extremely “modern”.