Italo Scanga Biography

Italo Scanga



Italian-American sculptor and painter Italo Scanga was born in the Calabria region of Italy in 1932. The early life of Scanga produced themes that would play out in his career: As world war became imminent, Scanga's mother attempted to follow her husband, who had moved to the U.S. a couple years prior; on the day of their planned departure in 1939, American troops invaded Italy, and they had to stay in Lago for the duration of the war. While there, Scanga worked as a cabinetmaker's apprentice and studied with a sculptor who created busts of saints. When the war drew to a close in 1945 they were able to resume preparations for their move to the United States, and in 1947, they reunited with Scanga's father in Marion Point, Pennsylvania. Eventually Scanga worked evenings on an assembly line at General Motors, attending high school as well as enrolling in classes at the Society of Arts and Crafts in Detroit. At the age of 21, he joined the U.S. Army and was stationed in Austria in the armored tanks division from 1953 to 1956, when he returned to Michigan and enrolled at Michigan State University. He received his bachelor's in 1960 and a master's in sculpture one year later. Scanga would go on to exhibit and teach throughout the U.S., eventually settling in Pacific City, California. He was known primarily for his work with found objects, though his ouvre includes painting, printmaking, and ceramics.

Scanga’s work is represented in museum collections around the world, including Albertina Museum, Vienna; The Art Institute of Chicago; Berkeley Art Museum + Pacific Film Archive; Detroit Institute of Arts; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Philadelphia Museum of Art; Rhode Island School of Design Museum of Art, Providence; and Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, and many others.

An extensive biography of the artist can be found on his website.