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img227Sometimes one does not realize what treasurers can be found in hefty book volumes.

Today’s post is about an interesting profusely illustrated garden statuary book I happen to like. It almost was destined to a charitable cause, as it was purchased well over ten years ago and was in storage. And for the life of me could not remember why it was purchased by me in the first place. Weighing four pounds and having 700 pages, I decided to leaf through the little bugger. After 16 pages, I realized why it was purchased. THE PAGE WITH THE FOUNTAINS OF ROME! Who would have known that there were 49 color photographs by Mario Carrieri in this book? It was not mentioned on the title page. Here was a lesson for me, leaf through the book!

The book is called the Garden Ornaments, an Encyclopedia by Kenneth Lynch, measuring a hefty 14″x9″x2 inches thick (36x24x5cms). The book was published in 1974  and has 700 plus pages with photographs and line drawings in black and white of beautiful Statuary! It appears to be a collection of newly made ornaments for sale by Lynch a prestigious landscape architect supplier and horticulturist from Wilton, Connecticut.

This man had a thing about fountains as we will see below!. The most wonderful thing, in my opinion, is his commissioning of (by American Standards) a rather obscure Italian photographer, Mario Carrieri to supply him with color photographs of some fountains and sculpture from gardens in and around Rome, Italy.

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Among Mario Carrieri’s (1932- ) clients and friends were Jean Nouvel, Renzo Piano, Valentino, Norman Foster, Knoll, Diwar, Cassina, Henry Moore (the sculptor) and Fiorucci.

Carrieri spent the mid-fifties working for the magazine “Epoca” (Mondadori) and won numerous prestigious awards during his career. In the late fifties he concentrated working in Milan and took some 3500 photographic shots documenting the city that earned him the admiration and friendship of another Italian photographer Ugo Mulas. Several museums acquired their first photographs from him among them the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The photos, not all of course, were published in a book by G. M. Leric Publishers, Milano, Italy in 1959. Today we would classify Carrieri’s earlier work as New Realist in approach, and perhaps somewhat influenced by photographers like Werner Bischof. In the ensuing years of the 70’s he photographed for UNESCO on the Legacy of Humanity Program.This brought sculpture again to his attention, photographing worldwide with emphasis on African sculpture and the ancient sculpture of Greece and Italy.  In the late 1990’s he began to photograph sculpture again seeking to capture the mysteries of Rodin’s Plasters and  Bronzes for a planned future book.

A Scion of an important artistic Milanese family, his father was the poet and art critic Raffaele Carrieri who counted among his many friends Italian Futurists and artists of great stature like Modigliani and Picasso. He also mingled with the “cream of the crop” of Milanese artists in the 30’s and 40’s like Giorgio De Chirico, and later Lucio Fontana and poets like Eugenio Montale. His son Mario was equally at home in this environment especially at the many Triennales and Galleries around Milan hobnobbing with the intellectuals, painters and young poets alike.

I wonder if Mr. Lynch knew how well Mario Carrieri was known in Italy at the time and how famous a photographer he would become over the years.The Book and photographs are certainly a lesser known aspect of Carrieri’s superb body of photographic work, yes even in Italy.

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