Mario Avati (1921-2009) was a master at intaglio, recognized specifically for his outstanding talent in the mezzotint medium. Italian in descent and born in Monaco, the artist studied and was active in Paris until his death. The tales of his skillful commitment to mezzotint are ones of legend in the printmaking community: He would rock his mezzotint plates for twenty-four hours; he would send warnings to collectors about handling the surface of his prints, lest they damage the perfect black velvet appearance that his handiwork created; and on and on. Although his subject matter consisted of animals, fruit, flowers, and other still life subjects, there was a surrealist quality in his artistic portrayal that was amplified by the mystical effect of mezzotint. Credited with reinvigorating the medium, Avati is now a household name and his work is in countless public collections across the globe and has been featured in many solo exhibitions during and after his passing in 2009.
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