1990, Painted Steel, Ed.4/8, 50 x 43 x 10 cm


Born in 1938, Nice, France

Died in 2015, Nice, France



Claude Gilli is born in Nice in 1938. He enters the School of Decorative Arts in Nice in 1955. In 1957, he meets Albert Chubac and his first exhibition is organized with him and Martial Raysse ("Painters of twenty years" at the gallery Longchamp Nice).

In the wake of Raysse, Gilli begins to work at the School of Nice in the sixties. Abandoning the painting to assemblages of constructed objects, he produces - from 1961 - a long series of "Ex-votos”; his first work in painted carved wood, this period marks the commitment of the artist to the adventure of creation. The following year, Gilli burns almost everything he has done before, marking his commitment to establish a true starting point.

Arman, Ben, and Raysse allow him to participate in his first Parisian exhibition (Gallery Henriette Legendre), he makes the acquaintance of Robert Malaval. Gilli, in the early sixties, began a series of landscapes carved wood. The artist engages frantically in the use of the blue color, a color found throughout his work. He participates in several exhibitions in Nice with Albert Chubac, Robert Malaval, and Bernar Venet, and meets Jacques Matarasso who becomes one of his leading merchants.

Arising out of his earliest works, a desire to leave the "framework" of the painting is expressed in his art, a desire ever-present throughout his work. In a similar spirit, Claude Gilli performs the "Showcases" cutting volumes in thin planks of violently colored wood. In 1965, he also experiments with his first carved wood "Coulées" which enables him to be successful.

Letterings appear in the cuttings of Claude Gilli in 1966, lettering borrowed from the world of teaching. That same year, his first solo exhibition is held at Gallery Yvon Lambert. In 1967, he participates in the exhibition "12 Great Realists" in Venice Gallery Del Leone, where he discovers the work of American Pop Art (Lichtenstein, Warhol, Wesselman). Gilli starts a new work phase in rupture with the previous period of colored wood, and his first work on transparent plexiglass appears in 1968. From 1969 to 1971, Gilli experiences working with "Snails" which he says have met on the Saleya market (Nice). He realizes castings, snails invading the surface of the table, then watercolors, by the necessity of means imposed by gastropods.

The artist settles down in Paris in 1970. In 1981, a first retrospective at the Museum of Nice (Gallery Ponchettes) reveals for the first time all of his work. 

In 1985, the first steel sculptures of Claude Gilli appear; in successive series, the artist shows landscapes and bas-reliefs of painted welded steel. He also creates a monumental sculpture for the city of Nice. Claude Gilli has certainly participated in the adventure of the School of Nice. His name can also be associated with the affirmation of the New Realism in France.





A l’origine, Nice, exposition de groupe, Galerie Malborough, Nice, France



James Mayor Gallery, Londres, Angleterre


2006 ​​

Galerie Guy Pieters, Knokke-le-Zoute, Belgique



Galerie du Centre, Paris, France



Galerie Hervé Loevenbruck, Paris, France



Galerie Jousse & Segui, Paris



Galerie Loft, Paris, France



Galerie Vallois, Paris, France



Galerie Ferrero, Nice, France



Palais des Beaux-Arts de Bruxelles,Belgique



12 Super-Réalistes” , Galerie Del Leone, Venise, Italie



Galerie Yvon Lambert, Paris, France



Galerie Henriette Legendre, Paris, France



Laboratoire 32, Inauguration de la boutique de Ben, Nice, France






" À propos de Nice: 1947-1977 ", MAMAC, Nice, France.



Réalisation d’une sculpture monumentale en acier de 12 mètres pour la Fondation Alliance, sur le site d’Al-Maaden à Marrakech,



Musée Fernand Léger, Biot, France



Rétrospective Gilli & Co.” , Musée des Beaux-Arts de Bordeaux, France



Rétrospective, Villa Tamaris, La Seyne-sur-Mer, France



Rétrospective, Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain, Nice, France 



Exposition de l’ensemble de ses sculptures en acier, Centre d’Art Contemporain, Rouen, France



" Rétrospective ", Musée de Nice, Nice, France



l’École de Nice ”  au Centre Georges Pompidou



Palais des Beaux-Arts de Bruxelles,Belgique