Artist Spotlight: Enzo Plazzotta

September 18, 2018

Italian sculptor Enzo Plazzotta began attending the Accademia di Brera in Milan in the late 1930s. With the guidance of Francesco Messina and Giacomo Manzù, Plazzotta began investigating the power of movement and the human body through traditional bronze casting techniques. His studies were soon interrupted by his nation’s involvement in WWII. Upon returning from his first tour of service in North Africa, Plazzotta rejected the Fascist regime and joined the resistance. Though he was imprisoned and nearly transferred to the Mauthausen concentration camp, Plazzotta escaped to Switzerland where he continued to aid the Allies. Following the war he was commissioned by the Italian Committee for National Liberation to create a piece that represented “the spirit of rebellion.” In 1947 he presented the work to the British Special Forces in London, as a symbol of unity and cooperation. During this trip, Plazzotta grew very fond of London and so decided to stay and open a commercial art agency specializing in Italian imports. It was not until the early 1960s that Plazzotta returned to sculpture with any consequence. Rigniting his early fascination with movement, Plazzotta became well known for his portraits of ballerinas and modeled some of the 20th century’s most famous dancers including Nadia Nerina, David Wall, and Isadora Duncan.

Enzo Plazzotta, Jilly Relaxing, 1979
September 30, 2018 Modern Art & Design Auction

Throughout his career, Plazzotta remained committed to classical form and emulated Beaux-Arts figuration. While enjoying commercial popularity, he received much intellectual pushback due to his rejection of “the anti-representational conventions of modernity.” Despite this controversy, critics never questioned his technical accomplishments. His distinct ability to construct light, energized figures that seemingly defy the physical weight of their materials, has always been beyond reproach. Today, Plazzotta’s works are held in many internationally renowned collections including The Vatican, The Hermitage (Lausanne), and The Queensland Art Gallery.


Profile of Sculptor Enzo Plazzotta. Art Parks International, 19 Dec. 2017,


Lot 346
Enzo Plazzotta
Jilly Relaxing
Signed with edition
16.75″ x 12″ x 10″
Literature: Enzo Plazzotta: A Catalogue Raisonné. C. Plazzotta and R. O’Conner. 1986. #299.

September 30, 2018 Modern Art & Design Auction

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