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Mark di Suvero and di Suvero family papers, 1934-2005

Biographical Note

Mark di Suvero was born September 18, 1933, in Shanghai, China, the son of Matilde Millo di Suvero and Victor E. di Suvero, an Italian diplomat. He was one of four children: Victor M., the eldest, Marie Louise, Mark, and the youngest son Henry. With the outbreak of World War II, the family immigrated to San Francisco, California, in 1941.
Mark di Suvero studied fine arts and philosophy at the San Francisco City College from 1953 to 1954, and attended the University of California, Santa Barbara, from 1954-1955, where he began creating sculpture. In 1956, he received a B.A. in Philosophy from the University of California, Berkeley. The following year, di Suvero moved to New York City to establish a career as a sculptor.
Shortly before his first solo exhibition at the Green Gallery in 1960, di Suvero suffered severe spinal injuries when he was pinned against an elevator shaft in a construction accident. Initially confined to a wheelchair for two years, di Suvero persevered in overcoming his injuries and continuing his work.
In protest of the Vietnam War, di Suvero left the United States in 1971, and exhibited his sculpture in Holland and Germany. A year later, he established a painting and drawing studio in Venice, where he also taught at the Università Internazionale dell'Arte, and, in 1973, he moved to France. Also during this time, di Suvero married Maria Teresa Capparotta, an architect, whom he later divorced.
The Whitney Museum of American Art honored Mark di Suvero in 1975 with the first retrospective and first American city-wide exhibition of his work, in New York City. At this time, di Suvero began working with a team in assembling his sculpture, first with Lowell McKegney, and later joined by his nephews Enrico and Matteo Martignoni.
In 1977, di Suvero founded the Athena Foundation to award grants to artists. In 1986, in conjunction with the Athena Foundation and with Enrico Martignoni, he created the Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City, New York, an outdoor space where sculptors are invited to create and exhibit their work. With Marcel Evrard in 1988, di Suvero created a foundation entitled La Vie des Formes (The Life of Forms) in the shipyards at Chalon-sur-Saône, France. Based upon the model of Socrates Sculpture Park, this organization hosted artists in studio and exhibition spaces at the shipyard and on di Suvero's converted canal barge Rêve des Signes, that was moored alongside.
Included in most major international gallery collections, Mark di Suvero's art work has also been the focus of major solo exhibitions including two at Storm King, and international city-wide exhibitions in Duisberg and Stuttgart in Germany, Chalon-sur-Saône, Paris, Valence, and Nice in France, and Valencia in Spain. During the summer of 1995, di Suvero was honored with a major installation of seven pieces along the Grand Canal to coincide with the Venice Biennale's 100th anniversary.
In 1993, Mark di Suvero married Kate Levin, Ph.D., a professor at the City University of New York and Commissioner of the New York Department of Cultural Affairs. Di Suvero and Levin have a daughter named Veri. At present, di Suvero maintains studios in Petaluma, California, Long Island City, New York, and Chalon-sur-Saône, France.