Enrico Baj
Due personaggi notturni, 1952
Enamel on canvas
80 x 120 cm
About Brilliant at collage, which for him had literary origins, Enrico Baj is well known for the Ladies and the Generals: imaginary characters he created in order to make a barely concealed political critique, later unmistakeably evident when he began to create his Rallies and Military Parades.
An heir of the Surrealist-Dadaist spirit and an experimenter of original styles and techniques, Baj created collages and multi-material assemblages using the most diverse materials, among them textiles, haberdashery and upholstery items, mattress covers, medals and metallic fragments, mirrors and coloured glass.

Enrico Baj was born in Milan in 1924. After studying at the Brera Academy, he became one of the leading figures of the Italian avant-garde. Following his first solo exhibition at Galleria San Fedele in Milan in 1951, he founded the "Nuclear Painting Movement" with Sergio Dangelo.
From the Fifties on, he was a figure on the international scene and exhibited regularly, especially in Paris.
In 1953 he met Asger Jorn, with whom he founded the "International Movement for an Imaginist Bauhaus", opposing the forced rationalisation and geometrisation of art.

He debuted in New York in 1960 as part of the Surrealist Intrusion in the Enchanters’ Domain, organised by Marcel Duchamp and André Breton at the D’Arcy Galleries.
The following year, his works were included in the historic exhibition Art of Assemblage (1961) at the MoMa in New York, curated by William Seitz.
André Breton in France invited him to exhibit with the Surrealists and in 1963 wrote an essay about him, published in Rosamond and George Bernier’s magazine "L’oeil".
In 1964 he was assigned a room at the 22nd Venice Biennial.

From 1967 on, he regularly exhibited at Studio Marconi, and in the Seventies had his first important retrospectives (Palazzo Reale, Milan; Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam; Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels). In 1971, three important exhibitions were held at Palazzo Grassi, Venice; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; and the Musée de l'Athénée, Geneva. Following the artist’s death on 16 June 2003, a major retrospective was held involving a number of Milanese galleries: Spazio Oberdan, Brera Academy of Fine Arts, Giò Marconi Gallery and Mudima Foundation.

Some of the most recent exhibitions were held at the following venues: the Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Rome (2001-2002); the Marconi Foundation, Milan (2008, 2009, 2013); Palazzo Reale, Milan (2012); the 55th Venice Biennial and the Arnaldo Pomodoro Foundation, Milan (2013); Giò Marconi Gallery, Milan (2015); the Regional Archaeological Museum, Aosta and the Luxembourg & Dayan Gallery, New York, (2016); the Cobra Museum, Amstelveen, Netherlands (2017).

Works by Enrico Baj have been part of prestigious collective exhibitions: Italia Pop. Art During the Boom Years, Fondazione Magnani Rocca, Mamiano di Traversetolo, Parma; Artists and Stars: The Story of Art During the Boom Years, Museo del Novecento, Milan; Cobra: A Great European Vanguard (1948-1951), Fondazione Roma, Palazzo Cipolla, Rome (2016); Postwar: Art Between the Pacific and the Atlantic, 1945-1965, Haus der Kunst, Munich (2016-2017).