Carlo Carrà (1881-1699)

Carrà was born in Quargnento  (Alessandria) on February 11, 1881, to a family of artisans.

During an illness, he became passionate about drawing. Carrà wrote in his autobiography, “Confined to my bed, I started to draw to distract myself.

And that was the start of my passion for painting that ended up being dominant for my entire life.”

In 1895, he moved to Milan in search of work. He started to go to museums and the Grubicy Art Gallery, where he encountered the works of Segantini and Previati.

In Paris, meanwhile, the 1900 Exposition Universelle was being planned and Carrà was drawn to this opportunity. He settled in Paris and began his education in painting.

He saw and was attracted to the works of Renoir, Cézanne, Pissarro, Sisley, Monet, and Gauguin. In Paris, he also started to take an interest in literature and discovered Baudelaire, Rimbaud, and Mallarmé.

After the Exposition, he moved to London in search of new work. Here he encountered the art of Constable and Turner.

1906-10. He attended Cesare Tallone’s school in Brera. He made friends with the young painters Bonzagni, Romani, and Valeri and, later, Boccioni. In his brief experience with Lombard Divisionism, Carrà felt the more vivid stirrings of revolt against the provincial atmosphere of Italian painting at that time.

  1. He met Marinetti and made the decision to create a manifesto for young artists.

He had his first contact with the Cubist world in 1911 when he met Braque and Picasso.

In 1912, he returned to Paris. A futuristic exhibition was organized at Galerie Bernheim-Jeune with some of Carrà’s works. Here he met some of the period’s great painters, including Modigliani and Matisse, and here he had relationships, dialogue, and disputes with the Cubists. He painted The Woman on the Balcony and The Gallery in Milan.

  1. Another period in Paris; the crisis of futurism grew in Carrà; this is the year of his Collages.

1915-16. Carrà’s relationships with the Florentine group grew stronger. Carrà painted several metaphysical works.

In Ferrara, he met De Chirico, Savinio, Govoni and De Pisis. This was a period of new painting and literary ferment, the era of ‘metaphysics,’ which Carrà interpreted in his own style.

  1. Carrà returned to Milan and married Ines Minoja. He worked with “Valori Plastici,” the magazine edited by Mario Broglio and printed in Rome. It also published his essays about Metaphysical Painting.

In 1922 he was invited for the first time to the Venice Biennale with two works, The House of Love and the Dioscuri, which aroused strong objections. He worked with the Parisian magazine “L’Esprit Nouveau”

  1. He was invited for the second time to the Venice Biennale with two works. In February, he exhibited twenty-one paintings with De Chirico and Merello at the Pesaro gallery in Milan.

In 1928, for the first time, he had a solo exhibition, showing fourteen works at the Venice Biennale; in 1930, with Soffici, he had an exhibition at the Bardi Gallery in Milan, where he exhibited forty-one paintings that incited great controversy.

  1. At the first Rome Quadrennial, he won second prize for painting.
  2. He painted an enormous fresco at the 5th Milan Triennial of Decorative Art.

1934-36. In addition to landscape painting, Carrà worked on a series of compositions. For the 6th Triennial, he made three enormous panels about the marble industry. In 1935, he held a solo show with forty-six works at the Galleria del Milione in Milan.

  1. He painted two frescoes for the courthouse in Milan and a series of Venetian seascapes. After seventeen years, Carrà stopped working as an art critic for “L’Ambrosiano.”

1941 He was appointed to the chair of painting at the Brera Academy of Fine Arts.

  1. Anthological exhibition at the Pinacoteca di Brera, curated by G. Pacchioni and G. A. Dell’Acqua: one hundred and fourteen works were exhibited.

1948 25th Venice Biennale, where he was awarded the Grand Prize for an Italian artist.

  1. Solo exhibition at the Alibert Gallery in Rome, with nineteen works.
  2. Solo exhibition at the 7th Quadrennial in Rome.
  3. Retrospective exhibition at the O’Hana Gallery in London: twenty-seven paintings and fifty drawings from throughout his career were exhibited.


  1. Historical exhibition at the Palazzo Reale in Milan, curated by the Municipality and the Milanese Exhibition Authority.  Carrà died in Milan on April 13, 1966