Eduardo's time in Paris shaped his artistic identity brought him into contact with the work of the Dadaists and Surrealists. He produced many collages inspired by Dadaist photo-montage that would come to inspire the Pop Art movement. Surrealism also shaped his sculptures and silk-screen prints, most of which started as a collection of unrelated images, rearranged to achieve a new unity. Often these are overlaid with fragmentary diagrams suggesting automotive parts, that gave his work a distinctive primitive quality. His work asserts the fragmentation of modern society, suggesting its reconnection is achievable through a mixture of imagination and fancy.
Sir Eduardo Paolozzi was one of the most celebrated British artists of the post-war period and a key figure in the development of pop art. He was born in Leith, Edinburgh, the eldest son of Italian immigrants, and in 1940, when Italy declared war on Britain, he was interned at Saughton. During this time his father, grandfather and uncle were among the hundreds of internees killed when the Arandora Star was sunk by a German U-boat, a tragedy that greatly affected Eduardo’s attitude towards British politicians for much of his life.
He attended the Edinburgh College of Art in 1943. After a brief service in the military, he attended St Martin’s School of Art in London and studied sculpture at the Slade School of Fine Art. He travelled to Paris in 1947 and spent two years there, where he was influenced by the vision of the French Modernists. Upon returning to London, Eduardo taught at the Central School of Art and Design until 1955. During this time, he became involved with the Independent Group, who shared his passion for works inspired by popular culture, by mass media, science and technology. In 1974, he was invited to live in Berlin, and stayed to live in Germany for several years, becoming a professor at the Cologne Fachhochschole and then at the Munich Academy where he taught until 1994, while still teaching part-time at the Royal College of Art. In 1994 he donated much of his work to the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, and in 1999 the Dean Gallery was opened in Edinburgh to display this collection.
He had a particular interest in sculpture (where he experimented with a number of different media, including aluminium, iron and wood) and printmaking. Taking great influence from surrealism his work often has elements of pastiche, combining elements as diverse as advertisements, cartoons and machine parts, anticipating the rise of pop art.
Among the many awards he received during his career are the British Critics Prize (1953), the David E. Bright Foundation award (1960), the Grand Prix d’Honneur at the fifteenth International Print Biennale, Ljubljana, Yugoslavia (1983) and two awards from the Saltire Society in 1975 and 1981. He held honorary doctorates from the Royal College of Art, the University of London, and Heriott-Watt, Edinburgh.
He was awarded the CBE in 1968 and elected to the Royal Academy in 1979. He served as the Sculptor in Ordinary For Scotland to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth between 1986 and his death in 2005, and was knighted in 1988.
With thanks to the Tate for information on this artist