Salvatore Fiume Biography

Salvatore Fiume




Painter, printmaker, architect, writer, and sculptor Salvatore Fiume was born in Cosimo, Sicily, on October 23, 1915. He pursued art from a young age and was awarded a scholarship to the Royal Institute for Book Illustration in Urbino, Italy at age sixteen. There he took courses in etching and lithography, and at age twenty-one moved to Milan with the aim of becoming acquainted with literary and artist circles. In 1938 he was offered a position in Ivrea as director of the cultural publication Tecnica e Organizzazione (Technique and Organization), overseen by Italian entrepreneur Adriano Olivetti. He worked there until 1946, continuing to write and paint. 

Fiume left Ivrea for Canzo in 1946 to focus on painting, sculpture, and architectural design while living in an old silk mill, hosting writers, artists, and musicians throughout his time there. His first solo exhibition took place in 1949 at the Galleria Borromini in Milan. The success of the exhibition led to several commissions from buyers in New York and Milan, and he was subsequently invited to participate in 1950 Venice Biennale. By the mid 1950s he had patrons througout Italy and the U.S., including commissions from Life and Time magazines. During this time and into 1960, he was a theater set designer for the Teatro alla Scala of Milan, the Covent Garden of London, and the Teatro dell'opera of Rome. 

The 1970s saw Fiume's career expand into large scale conceptual work that combined a broad variety of mediums, including a beautification project for the Calabrain village plaza of Fiumefreddo Bruzio. This was done in installments between 1975 and 1977, with a final installment of bronze sculptures in the 1990s. 

Fiume continued to work and exhibit until 1995, when ill health - attributed to his use of caustic paints and other mediums on large scale projects - finally kept him from working. He died in Milan on June 3, 1997. His works are held at the Vatican Museums, the Hermitage of Saint Petersburg, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Pushkin Museum of Moscow, and the Galleries d'Arte Moderna in Milan, among others.