(Rome, Italy, 1941-2015)

Elisabetta Catalano lived and worked in Rome. Considered one of the greatest witnesses to the work and lives of artists and other important cultural figures in Italy from the 1970s onward, Elisabetta became a portrait photographer of international fame. Her professional career began as a contributor to Vogue Italia, Il Mondo, L’Espresso and other international publishers. In 1971 she worked in New York for Vogue America and in Paris for Vogue France, photographing the celebrities of the fashion world. Catalano as photographer true debut came though, in the set of Federico Fellini’s iconic film, 8 1/2, in which she played a role as Anouk Aimée’s sister. During her down time she began to photograph behind the scenes, using her father’s old camera. These images were eventually published in L’Espresso and Il Mondo. Afterwards, Fellini invited her to photograph on the set of his other films as well, to document his artistic process. The great director went on to pose in Catalano’s studio several times, eventually using some of her portraits for his book covers. As a consequence, in the seventies, Elisabetta Catalano decides to dedicate herself completely to portraiture. In her studio in Rome she went on to photograph some the most important avant-garde artists of the day as Alighiero Boetti, Joseph Beuys, Gilbert & George, Sandro Chia, Enzo Cucchi, Francesco Clemente, Cesare Tacchi, Jannis Kounellis, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Vettor Pisani and many others. Catalano not only made portraits but also became an active and frequent participant and collaborator in the creation of performance art. In many cases the artists used her images when creating and exhibiting their pieces. Gino De Dominicis, for example, used a portrait made by Elisabetta as part of his contribution to the 1973 exhibition Contemporanea al Parcheggio at the Villa Borghese in Rome. She also collaborated with artists in her studio, such as Fabio Mauri and Vettor Pisani, to prepare and document performances, making photographs that will be in future considered  the iconic images of  those works. Of particular note was her long and continuous collaboration with Fabio Mauri, from his first years until his final days, in which she photographed his theatrical installations, performances, projections and other works.

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1973 “Uomini 1973”, Galleria del Cortile, Rome – solo exhibition; portraits of artists
1974 Galleria Milano, Milan – solo exhibition; portraits of artists
1975 Galleria Marlborough, Rome – solo exhibition; portraits of writers and figures from the theater, television, film
1978 Polaroid Company, Boston – portraits of celebrity films directors taken on Polaroid film
1978 “Work With”, Galleria Barozzi, Venice – solo exhibition; photographs made in collaboration with artists
1979 “Mostra Storica della Fotografia” dell’Unesco, Venice – portraits
1980 “Roma-Parigi- Roma”, Museo Carnevalet, Paris – group exhibition with Franco Fontana and Luigi Ghirri, and french photographers Boudinet, Delaborde and Plossu; portraits
1992 Museo Galleria Nazionale di Arte Moderna di Roma (GNAM) – solo exhibition; anthology of 160 portraits of important cultural figures from Italy and abroad
1993 Istituto Italiano di Cultura, New York and Brussels – solo exhibition; portraits of Fellini and photographs from his movie sets
1999 Pop Art al Chiostro del Bramante, Rome – 11 portraits of artists
1999 Galleria Gian Enzo Sperone, Rome – solo exhibition; portraits of artists
2003 “Piazza del Popolo anni ’70”, Accademia d’Arte Ripetta & Hotel Locarno, Rome – portraits of Mario Schifano, Franco Angeli and Plinio De Martis
2004 Galleria Massimo Minini, Brescia – solo exhibition; portraits and photographs of art performances
2004 Galleria Moncada, Rome – solo exhibition; photographs of the film world
2005 Museo Galleria d’Arte Moderna di Torino (GAM), Turin – solo exhibition; anthology of 180 portraits
2006 Museo MAXXI, Rome – solo room within the exhibition of Gilbert & George, showing a series of photographs of the artists in front of their designs
2007 “Gente della Musica”, Festival Opera di Barga, Lucca – solo exhibition
2007 “Caro Moravia”, Istituto Italiano di Cultura, Paris – solo exhibition; portraits of the writer
2008 Galleria Pino Casagrande, Rome – solo exhibition; portraits of soccer players
2008 “United Artists of Italy”, Musee d’Art Moderne, Saint Etienne, France – portraits included in the touring exhibition of Galleria Massimo Minini
2009 “Ogni Sera con Elisabetta”, Galleria Pio Monti, Rome – solo exhibition; portraits taken of 19 artists in 19 evenings.
2009 “Ricordando Fellini”, Vittoriano, Rome – two large portraits included in the exhibition
2010 Fiera di Bologna – portraits included in Galleria Pio Monti’s stand
2010 Palazzo Sant’Elisa, Palermo – portraits of artists
2010 “Roma 60”, Novi Ligure and Alessandria – portraits of artists and performance
2010 “Il Furore delle Immagini”, Collezione Italo Zannier, Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa, Venice – portraits
2011 Galleria Forni, Bologna – portraits and photographs of performances included in an exhibition with Franco Fontana
2011 Bibliotheque de Paris, Paris – portraits of writers
2011 “Biennale 54° Esposizione”, Padiglione Italia Regione Lazio, Museo Nazionale di Palazzo Venezia, Rome – portraits
2012 “Omaggio a Vettor Pisani”, Museo MACRO, Rome – portraits
2012 “Ritratto di una città – Arte a Rome 1960-2001”, Museo MACRO, Rome – 25 photographs of artists
2013 “L’arte è un romanzo”, Palazzo della Penna, Perugia – portraits of writers
2013 “Eroica e Antieroica”, Museo MADRE, Naples – portraits and photographs of performances exhibited within this Vettor Pisani show
Works in the permanent collections of the museums

Galleria d’Arte Moderna (GAM Torino),
Galleria nazionale d’Arte Moderna – MAXXI Roma
Museo Arte Contemporanea Roma (MACRO)

Film portrait

1980: Short film of 20 minutes on Jacques-Henry Lartigue (Tg1-Rai) – Film purchased from the Lartigue museum of Paris.

Exhibitions promoted by The Archive

L’altra metà dell’arte, Museo MACRO, Rome
Pantheon, Galleria Massimo Minini, MIART, Milan
ENNESIMA, Triennale, Milan
L’altro sguardo, Collezione Donata Pizzi, Triennale, Milan
The Glorious World of Fellini, ERARTA Museum, St. Petersburg Retrospettiva a luce solida, Museo MADRE, Naples – photographs of performances and installations in the exhibition of Fabio Mauri.
Uomini 73… e oltre, GALLERIA DEL CORTILE, Roma
TV70 Francesco Vezzoli guarda la RAI, FONDAZIONE PRADA, Milano
Testimonianze preziose, MAMM, Mosca
Testimonianze preziose, KINOPOBEDA, Novosibirsk, Russia
Women look at women, Richard Saltoun, London, United Kingdom
Is Pink just a color?, Galleria Paola Verrengia, Salerno, Italy
Cesare Tacchi, Una retrospettiva, Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Roma, Italy
Fabio Mauri 1968- 78, Fondazione Menegaz, Castelbasso, Teramo, Italy
Quattro sguardi su Roma, Elisabetta Catalano, MUSIA, Roma, Italy
Richard Saltoun, Paris Photo 2018, Paris, France