Milano  Corso Italia 47

April 11 — June 22, 2024

“My life is a quest for the ridiculous image.”

William N. Copley

This exhibition celebrates the American artist William N. Copley (1919-1996), known for being an important link between European Surrealism and American Pop art.

A self-thought artist, writer, gallerist, patron, publisher and collector, Copleylived in Paris, New York, Connecticut and Florida. Following the experience of the Copley Galleries in Los Angeles (1948-1949) – where Copley presents, for the first time on the West Coast, works by surrealists such as René Magritte, Yves Tanguy, Roberto Matta, Joseph Cornell, Man Ray and Max Ernst – Copley decides to devote himself to painting, developing a distinctive style characterized by curvilinear figures (often rendered without faces), bold contour lines, luminous colors, a flattened pictorial space and comic-inspired motifs.

Signing them with the pseudonym "CPLY," in his worksCopley visualizes what he himself defined as his “private mythology” of personal images and characters: men in suits and bowler hats, prostitutes, cars, embracing lovers and everyday objects extracted from their context, through which he explores, with irony and irreverence, themes such as love, death, sex, politics, parody, nationalism and self-knowledge.

Following the retrospective dedicated to the artist by the Fondazione Prada in Milan in 2016, Copley brings the attention back to an artist who challenged the artistic conventions of his time and anticipated important developments of contemporary art, from the Pop Art of the 1960s to the return to figuration of the 1980s.


Selected artworks

William N. Copley

Baby Bonnet, 1971

William N. Copley

Love for Two Oranges, 1964

William N. Copley

Untitled, 1964

Galleria Tommaso Calabro
Corso Italia 47
20122 Milan (Italy)
+39 0249696387