Mario De Biasi

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Biographical notes

Mario De Biasi (Sois, Belluno, 1923 - Milan, 2013) began to take pictures between 1944 and 1945 in Germany, where he was deported during the war. Returning to Milan, his adoptive city, in 1946, he began working as a radio technician and he dedicated his free time to take pictures in the city. In 1948 he approached the Circolo Fotografico Milanese, where in December he organized his first exhibition, but after disagreements with some members of the group, he abandoned the club. In the spring of 1953 he was hired by the weekly magazine Epoca and thus became the first photographer to have a permanent job in the staff of an Italian magazine. In Epoca he remained for more than thirty years and there he met Bruno Munari. Their friendship will lead De Biasi to illustrate with his photos some books of the famous Italian designer. At that time he made a series of reports on unknown Italy, published in the form of episodes with the title Viaggio in Italia and L’Italia che non conosciamo. Soon he became a foreign correspondent: on 23 October 1956 he went to Hungary, where he documented the popular uprising and Soviet repression. This report will be published worldwide on dozens of magazines in Italy and abroad, giving De Biasi the right reputation as a photojournalist. In 1955 he published his first photographic book, Idea di Milano by Arnoldo Mondadori publisher. In 2003 he was awarded the title of Maestro della Fotografia Italiana, the highest honor of the Federazione Italiana Associazioni Fotografiche (FIAF), dedicating a monograph to his work. In 2006, the Milan City Council confers its highest honour, the Ambrogino d’oro, upon Mario De Biasi on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution and, in the same year, his dramatic pictures taken in Budapest in 1956 were published in a monographic book and exhibited first in Budapest and then at the European Parliament in Strasbourg. In 2016 the book Mario De Biasi, curated by Enrica Viganò, was published by Electa. Among the numerous exhibitions of Mario de Biasi figure: The Italian Metamorphosis, 1943-1968, Guggenheim Museum of New York, USA (1994-95); Mario De Biasi. A photographic journey (2004), Italian Cultural Institute of Los Angeles, USA; Mario De Biasi. Changing Japan 1950-1980 (2011), Japan Camera Museum of Tokyo, Japan. In 2008 ADMIRA presented the exhibition by Mario De Biasi, Un reporter a tutto campo, hosted at Villa Erba Odescalchi Scotti in Bovisio Masciago (Italy) and in 2021, together with Civita Tre Venezie, the solo show “Photographs 1947 - 2003” curated by Enrica Viganò at Casa dei Tre Oci in Venice. The exhibition is accompanied by the catalogue published by Marsilio Editori with essays of Enrica Viganò, Denis Curti and Angelo Ponta.

A selection of his photographs is included in the international touring exhibition nd in the book NeoRealismo. La nuova immagine in Italia 1932-1960, published in Italian editions (Admira Edizioni, 2006), Spanish (La Fábrica Editorial, 2007), German (Christoph Merian Verlag / Fotomuseum Winterthur, 2007) and English (DelMonico Books•Prestel / Admira Edizioni, 2018).

His photographs are part of important private Italian and foreign collections, among which the incomparable collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

All images © Archivio Mario De Biasi.