By Costanza Beltrami

Sculptor Berto Lardera was born on 18 December 1911 in La Spezia, in the Italian region of Liguria, where his father worked as a naval engineer. Inspired by his father’s technical drawings, Berto attended the free drawing school in Florence from 1926 to 1932, and later specialized in sculpture. In 1942 he held his first solo exhibition in Milan. A few years later, he settled in France, where he became naturalized in 1965. Living in Paris, he encountered many avant-garde groups and exhibited at the main annual Paris salons, such as the Salon de Mai and the Salon des Réalités Nouvelles. His work was also shown at international exhibitions such as the Biennials of Venice, São Paulo, Antwerp-Middelheim, Ljubljana,and Documenta, Kassel. Since his death in 1989, his prolific career has been celebrated with two restrospectives at the Musée de Grenoble, France.

After producing some figurative sculptures early in his life, Lardera moved to abstract works. Initially, he rejected the traditional equation of sculpture and volume, focusing on flat assemblages of geometrical figures cut out of metal. Following the steps of Russian avant-garde painters such as Vladimir Tatlin, he demonstrated that space can be filled with two-dimensional, rather than rounded, forms. Later on, he reintegrated the third dimension in his work by freely arranging metal plates in intersecting vertical and oblique planes. Hollowing out and scalloping the edges, he emphasized the lightness of metal and the permeability of space, which he considered as a material. Using a variety of modern and traditional materials such as iron, copper, aluminum, stainless steel, Corten, and sometimes mosaic decoration, Lardera intended his artworks to capture movement, human myths, and emotions: Dramatic Occasions, Heroic Rhythms, Cathedrals of Suffering, and Antique Goddesses are some of their titles. At the same time, Lardera created monumental works, for example Sculpture (1959) in Berlin. These works often stand close to the architecture of modernist masters such as Mies van der Rohe, Alvar Alto, Walter Gropius, and Frank Lloyd Wright.

Reference: Piero Pacini. “Lardera, Berto.” Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online. Oxford University Press,

Dramatic Occasion VIII, 1963, Duisburg, Germany.

Dramatic Occasion VIII, 1963, Duisburg, Germany.

Between two words, 1962, Duisburg, Germany.

Dawn, 1957, Altonaer Straße 9, Berlin-Hansaviertel, Germany.

Ile de France, 1967, initially in the Niedersächsischen Landesmuseum, Hanover; now at the corner Culemannstraße/Friedrichswall, Hanover.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Officers & Contacts