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Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens News Release


The Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens and Studio Copernico Presents “Giacomo Manzu 100”  Bronzes & Etching by the Italian Master

Exhibition Dates:

 January 16, 2008-February 10, 2008 


Giacomo Manzù (1908-91) Giacomo Manzù, a pseudonym used by Giacomo Manzoni, was born in Bergamo, Italy  in 1908. From a very young age he worked in a goldsmith’s and engraver’s workshop and graduated in decorative modeling from the Fantoni Institute. During his military service at Verona, from 1927-8, he sporadically attended courses at the Cignaroli Academy. From 1928 he dedicated himself exclusively to sculpture.

He established himself in Milan, and in 1929 received his first commission: to decorate the chapel of the Catholic University, which he carried out from 1931 to 1932. In 1933 he displayed a series of busts at the Triennale in Milan. In the following years he created the first versions of Child on a Chair (1933) and The Cardinal (1936). In 1939 he began to produce a series of bas-reliefs in bronze on religious themes, including a “Deposition” and a “Crucifixion”, in which, using the symbolism of the sacrifice of Christ, he evoked the horrors of the war and the violence of the fascist regime.

In 1940, Manzù taught sculpture at the Brera Academy in Milan and subsequently at the Albertina Academy in Turin. When war began, he moved to Clusone. After the war he taught again at the Brera Academy, until 1954, and then at Salzburg until 1960. During this period he started work on the Doors of Death for Saint Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican (which were finished in 1964). Between 1965 and 1968 he created the Doors of Peace and War for the church of Saint Laurens in Rotterdam. In the Seventies he returned to free-standing figures, sculpting in bronze female figures and groups, of which the most striking are the sculptures on amorous themes.

In the late Sixties he devoted him to design, creating the backdrops for some of the most important works of Igor Stravinskij, Goffredo Petrassi, Claude Debussy, Richard Wagner and Giuseppe Verdi. In the Seventies he created two large works in high-relief: for the Savings Bank of the Province of Lombardy in Milan and for the Palace of Justice of the European Community in Luxemburg, finished in 1970 and 1973 respectively.

In 1973 he had a personal exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in Toyko. In 1989 his last of his great public monuments was inaugurated in New York, a six metre high sculpture in bronze, outside the headquarters of the UN.
In 1964 Manzù moved to Ardea, near to Rome, where there now exists a Museum containing his entire collection, which he donated to the Italian State in 1979. The artist died in 1991.

The Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens comprise the former residence of sculptor Ann Weaver Norton (1905 -1982), the widow of Ralph Hubbard Norton. The Norton family is an integral part of the cultural history of West Palm Beach. The Norton Museum was begun by Ralph Norton. The home is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, and the 1.7 acre property, features a collection of over 300 species of tropical palms, lies near downtown West Palm Beach on the Intracoastal Waterway.

Displayed throughout the house, studio and gardens are more than 100 works by the artist Ann Norton, including nine monumental sculptures, eight in brick and one in granite. The Gardens were designed by Ann Norton and Sir Peter Smithers. Uniquely for this area, the largest tract of garden, containing the great brick sculptures, is designed in a natural, un-manicured style. The experience of coming across Norton's mysterious monoliths as surprises in their lush green jungle-like setting is akin to discovering another world.


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