Pablo Atchugarry was born in Montevideo, Uruguay on August 23, 1954. His parents, Maria Cristina Bonomi and Pedro Atchugarry Rizzo, were passionate art enthusiasts. Before setting aside his artistic ambitions to support his family, Pedro Atchugarry trained under the great Uruguayan Constructivist Joaquin Torres-Garcia and such experience enabled him to guide his son’s artistic talents and to encourage Pablo to take up painting.
At age eleven, Atchugarry began showing his works and as he progressed through adolescence, he started feeling the need to express himself in various forms and materials, such as cement, iron, and wood. By age eighteen, he had his first personal exhibition of paintings at the Civic Room in Montevideo in 1972 and he had undertaken his first experiment with sculpture – a horse cast in concrete. In the following years as he took up and dropped architectural studies, he found venues in Brazil and Argentina to exhibit his paintings, which featured a mixture of abstraction and Constructivist concepts. However, in 1977, Atchugarry departed South America and travelled to Europe.
Atchugarry’s intention in traveling to Europe was to study and perfect his art. As early as 1977, he had his first successful display at an art fair in Copenhagen. During his travels, he visited Spain, France, and Italy, and while visiting Milan he reconnected with a woman he had met in Paris. She brought him to the city of Lecco where he mounted his first solo Italian show in 1978. As a result of the success of the show, his paintings were exhibited in a variety of European cities, including Milan, Copenhagen, Paris, Chur, Bergamo, and Stockholm.
After experimenting with a range of materials, in 1979, Atchugarry took up carving marble, and he created his first sculpture in Carrara marble entitled La Lumiere. His first monumental sculpture made of Carrara was completed in 1982, and later that year he moved permanently to Lecco. There, he began work on the sculpture, La Pieta, which was carved from a single block of marble weighing twelve tons. In 1987 he held his first solo sculpture exhibition, curated by Raffaele de Grada, in Bramantino’s Crypt in Milan.
Since 1989, his poetic sculptural style has caused Atchugarry to express himself through monumental works, which are now situated in various public spaces in Europe and Latin America. In late 1996, he saw the installation of the sculpture Semilla de la Esperanza (Seed of Hope) in the monumental sculpture park in the grounds of Uruguay’s government building.
The artist founded the Museo Pablo Atchugarry in Lecco, and it was inaugurated on 25 September 1999. This museum houses works spanning Atchugarry’s entire career, as well as bibliographical documentation and an archive. Visitors also have the opportunity to observe him in his workshop, which is located next door to the museum.
During the spring of 2001, twenty years after his arrival in Italy, the Province of Milan organized a retrospective of Atchugarry’s work entitled “The Infinite Evolutions of Marble” at the Palazzo Isimbardi in Milan. That same year, he sculpted his first monumental work entitled Obelisk of the Third Millennium, a six-meter-high Carrara marble sculpture for the Italian town of Udine.
In early 2002, Atchugarry’s sculpture Ideali in Garfagnana marble was given to the Prince Rainier of Monaco as a tribute to the 50th anniversary of his reign; it is located on the Avenue Princesse Grace of Monte-Carlo. During the spring, his Monument to the Civilisation and Culture of Lecco Labour was inaugurated as the centerpiece of the Caleotto Roundabout in Lecco in May 2002. Made of the Bernini variety of Carrara marble, this work was carved from a 33-ton block and stand 6.10 meters tall. Lastly in July 2002, Atchugarry received the Michelangelo Award in Carrara in recognition of his career as an artist. His sculpture entitled Sensation of the Infinite was added to the collection of the Lercaro Museum in Bologna in 2003. That same year, Atchugarry represented Uruguay in the 50th International Exhibition of the Visual Arts at the Venice Biennale of 2003 with an installation of eight sculptures in Carrara marble and Grey Bardiglio marble entitled Dreaming of Peace.
In 2005 the Berardo Collection in Lisbon, Portugal added to its patrimony Camino Vital, 1999, standing nearly 5 meters tall in Carrara marble. Another important project undertaken by Atchugarry during 2005 was the opening of a new atelier at Punta del Este, Uruguay, where he works during the European winter. Atchugarry opened the Fundación Pablo Atchugarry in Manatiales, Uruguay in January 2007. This institution aims to provide a stimulus for the arts and create a place for artists of all disciplines to meet in
an ideal location that combines nature and art.
After seven years of work, the artist completed the monumental sculpture Cosmic Embrace (2005-2011) in 2011. That same year, Hollis Taggart Galleries in New York City organized a solo show “Pablo Atchugarry: Heroic Activities” that featured an essay by the notable art critic, Jonathan Goodman. Expanding his presence in New York, the Time Square Alliance association selected Atchugarry’s sculpture Dreaming New York to be exhibited in Times Square during The Armory Show Art Fair in New York City during March 2012.
In late 2013, Mondadori Electa published the Catalogo Generale delle scultura, two volumes edited by Professor Carlo Pirovano cataloging every sculpture produced by the artist between 1971 and 2013. Atchugarry currently lives and works between Lecco and Manantiales where he oversees the development of the Fundación Pablo Atchugarry and the international monumental sculpture park, as well as teaching and promoting art.
Works by this internationally acclaimed sculptor form part of many major collections. His statue ‘Seed of Hope’ stands in the garden of the Uruguayan parliament and in the city of Lecco, Italy, he has his own museum. He works based on the principal that the natural beauty of marble is enhanced if the form remains simple, resulting in variations on linearity, while avoiding straight lines, sharp sides, corners and sharp grooves.
Directly from the artist, 2017;
private collection, The Netherlands.
Accompanied by a certificate of authenticity provided by Pablo Atchugarry, dd 5 January 2017.