Conrad Marca-Relli, born in Boston, MA, 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. Marca-Relli, among some of his contemporaries, was a prominent leading artist in the art movement of the postwar era.
In 1930 he studied at the Cooper Union for a year. 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. After the war, Marca-Relli joined the "Downtown Group," which represented a 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" located at 39 East 8th Street. He was selected by his fellow artists to show in the Ninth Street Show held from May 21 to June 10, 1951.
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. 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.
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