March 23, 2021

New Book Looks at Bold Work of Italian Photographer Mario Giacomelli




LOS ANGELES, CA–– Mario Giacomelli (1925–2000) was born into poverty and lived his entire life in Senigallia, a seaside town along the Adriatic coast in Italy’s Marche region. He purchased his first camera in 1953 and quickly gained recognition for the raw expressiveness of his images. His preference for grainy film and high-contrast paper allowed him to produce his trademark bold, geometric compositions, with glowing whites and deep blacks. Marche and its people, seascapes, and landscapes served as the primary inspiration for his work. His art was not self-contained and separate—he often spent years expanding and reimagining one body of work or repurposing images for inclusion in a different series. Giacomelli gave his photographs titles derived from poetry and literature, further transforming these works into meditations on time, memory, and existence.

          Mario Giacomelli: Figure/Ground (Getty Publications, $24.95) covers the photographer’s earliest pictures to those made in the final years of his life. This publication celebrates the J. Paul Getty Museum’s extensive Giacomelli holdings, formed in large part through a significant gift from Susan Steinhauser and her late husband, Daniel Greenberg.

          Also featured are interviews with the Daniel Greenberg and Susan Steinhauser and with the American photographer Stephan Brigidi, who met Giacomelli in 1975 and, over the course of the next decade, became the exclusive representative of Giacomelli­­­’s work in America. The book’s afterword is by Katiuscia Biondi Giacomelli, the photographer’s granddaughter and director of the Archivio Mario Giacomelli.

          Virginia Heckert is the curator of photographs at the J. Paul Getty Museum. She is the author of Light, Paper, Process: Reinventing Photography (2015), Ed Ruscha and “Some Los Angeles Apartments” (2013), and Some Aesthetic Decisions: The Photographs of Judy Fiskin (2011), and coauthor, with Anne Lacoste, of Irving Penn: Small Trades (2009), all published by Getty.


Publication Information:
Mario Giacomelli: Figure/Ground
Virginia Heckert
J. Paul Getty Museum
160 pages, 6 x 7 3/4 inches, paperback
124 color illustrations, 1 b/w map
ISBN: 978-1-60606-718-5
US $24.95 / £18.99

Publication Date: June 15, 2021

Media Contact:
Sydney Lopez

Getty Publications

About Getty Publications:
Getty Publications produces award-winning titles that result from or complement the work of the J. Paul Getty Museum, Getty Conservation Institute, and Getty Research Institute. This wide variety of books covers the fields of art, photography, archaeology, architecture, conservation, and the humanities for both the general public and specialists. Publications include illustrated works on artists and art history, exhibition catalogues, works on cultural history, research on the conservation of materials and archaeological sites, scholarly monographs, critical editions of translated works, comprehensive studies of Getty’s collections, and educational books on art to interest children of all ages.

Getty Publications
1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 500
Los Angeles, CA 90049-1682

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