Salvatore Scarpitta Italian American, 1919-2007


Salvatore Scarpitta was born in New York City in 1919 to a Sicilian father, sculptor Salvatore Cartaino Scarpitta, and Polish-Russian mother. His family relocated to Los Angeles when he was six months old. He graduated from Hollywood High School, and then attended the premier art university in Europe, the Academia di Belle Arti in Rome. He served in the United States Navy during World War II as a "Monuments Man", finding, preserving and cataloging art stolen by the Nazis.


After the war, Scarpitta remained in Rome and worked from his studio on Via Margutta. During his time in Rome he was represented by the leading Avant-garde modern art gallery in Italy, Galleria La Tartaruga. In 1958, Leo Castelli saw his work and asked him to move to New York and join his gallery. Scarpitta remained with Castelli until the latter's death in 1999.


From 1959 until 1992, Scarpitta had 10 one man shows at the Castelli Gallery in New York. He also was a part of many Castelli group shows that included artists such as Norman Bluhm, Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg, James Rosenquist, John Chamberlain and Julian Schnabel. Scarpitta's works are part of the permanent collections at the Museum of Modern Art and MoMA PS1 in New York, Whitney Museum of American Art, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, DC, the Kunstsammlungen zu Weimar Museum in Germany, Civico Museo d'Arte Contemporanea in Milan, the Guttuso Museum in Italy and the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston. Scarpitta also exhibited at numerous Venice Biennials.


Scarpitta died in Manhattan, at the age of 88. 

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