Of Venetian origin, Giacomo de Pass was born in Morocco on 10 November 1938.
His early notable and noted works date from 1958 when he was only 20 years old. A painter impossible to classify, whose range of styles is disconcerting. The slightest upset in his life is reflected in his creation, which explains the diversity of his works that extend from impressionism to expressionism, through fantastic surrealism; from fauvism to symbolism and beyond to the limits of abstraction.
Of this period, the artist says that to be drawn to beauty and to be a slave to fashionable trends, are creation’s worst enemies.
1954. He enters the Fine-Arts Academy of Casablanca but he is advised to leave quickly by his master who told him:
“Flee this academic environment, avoid the workshops, preserve your nature and your personality.”
1956. At the age of 17, he takes part in his first group exhibition, the Casablanca Independents Salon. He is very successful and receives many requests not only for his pictures but also for his architectural or decorative works and skills.
1958. He travels to Europe and, as an independent student, studies at the art schools of Barcelona, Madrid, Venice and Milan before moving to Paris. He settles there and, still as an independent student, attends the Frochot Academies, de la Grande Chaumière, The Atelier de la Bûcherie as well as the Ecole Nationale Supérieure de dessin (the national school of drawing) at Montparnasse.
1959. He takes part in many salons and group exhibitions: musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris (the city of Paris Museum of Modern Art), Salons of the Independents, the Surindependants, SPA Belgium as well as various biennales.
1960. Meeting Madame Renée Capitaine is a defining point in his career. She offers him his first major solo exhibition in her Gallery “Transpositions” on the boulevard de Montparnasse in Paris.
1961. He creates his first metal sculptures from empty cans of the food on which he fed at the time. These “compressions” as they were later to be called (the word did not exist at the time), were made with a simple blowtorch, using his bare hands and feet to give new shape and life to this metal rubbish.
1963. Roger Dulac, a passionate gallerist in the Avenue Rapp, and his wife Yvonne, discover Giacomo de Pass at the “Salon de l’Art Libre (Free Art Salon) in the Musée d’Art Moderne and falls in love with his work. Roger Dulac offers him an exclusive exhibition called “Coup de foudre” (“Love at first sight”). Giacomo exhibits there until 1966. His sculptures made from food cans are put on display at last and become the subject of a film shown in cinema as part of “Actualités françaises” (French newsreels) that disappeared with News Programmes on television.
The international career of Giacomo de Pass begins in 1961 with exhibitions in France and elsewhere, notably Sweden (Stockholm, Göteborg, Halmstad), as part of a cultural exchange between the two countries, then in Spain which he visits many times for exhibitions in particular those sponsored by the government. He also has exhibitions in Berlin, Munich, Geneva (the Roger Ferrero Gallery).
From 1963 to 1969, Marie le Savouroux presents and promotes his work in Morocco with major exhibitions in Casablanca, Marrakesh, Agadir and Tangiers.
In 1966, La Ville de Paris (the City of Paris) acquires one of the artist’s paintings for its collections. From this time, his works will feature in prestigious collections and in numerous museums around the world: Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Modern Art Museum at Valletta in Malta, Modern Art Museum at Marrakech, Buffalo – USA, Lincoln Cultural Center New York…
Reproductions of his work are to be found in famous collections such as the Anthologie du Fantastique, the Anthologie de l’Epouvante, magazines like « Planète », Les Signes et les Prodiges de Francoise Mallet-Joris.
A preface by Louis Pauwels to introduce a collection of lithographs called “Luxure” (feminine sexual desire) conveys well the climate of the artist’s work in the 1960s. “With Giacomo de Pass, there is no mannerism; there is hallucination and possession. The spirit of revolt; that dominates the Sabbath, toughens his line. Each of his paintings is a deep provocation that calls on the obscure forces of Eros to emerge, and to victory over the incommunicability of beings and sexual magic. His descents into the depths are all the more violent in that they are an anguished reflection of the charity and nostalgia of the Holy Spirit. The taller I stand, the heavier my sexuality weighs. Giacomo de Pass – password to purity.”
1967-1986 – The Félix Vercel Gallery, based in Paris and New York, who acquired worldwide exclusivity of the artist’s works, has them on permanent display and organises many exhibitions around the world dedicated to his work.
Giacomo de Pass, who has a studio in an ancient coaching inn on the outskirts of Paris is also offered the use of a studio in New York. His work from now on reflects that material change and the various events that marked his life. Women, whom he previously saw as victims of society’s sexual prejudices, from 1971 are portrayed as open and submissive, sweet, sensual and desirable. Child-like figures radiating colour replace the dark, sombre ones of the 1960s.
In 1978 Giacomo de Pass moves from Paris to the Moulin de Peymeinade in the South of France. He sets out on an unusual course encouraged by his friend and gallerist, Félix Vercel. Freed from all constraint and true to himself, he gives free rein to a creation overflowing with vitality, richness and questioning, in an expression that is constantly renewed and original.
In 1990, The writer Hervé Bazin, President of the Goncourt Academy visits Giacomo de Pass in his studio and says to him: “I see here in a very talented painter all that inspires writing for me. Indeed, we share the same ambition, he with his brush and me with my pen: describe the human comedy.” Following that encounter, in 1991, the press of l’Imprimerie Nationale in Paris publishes a collector’s item: “A la poursuite d’Iris”, poems by Hervé Bazin and 17 lithographs by Giacomo.
Between 1991 and 1998, Giacomo de Pass has several exhibitions at the Palais des Festivals in Cannes and at the Palm Beach Casino. There, an exhibition on the theme of gambling, although he is not a gambler himself, brings him close to players such as Etienne Bacrot or Kortchnoy as well as chess champions such as Karpov or Kasparov. Over the years, these encounters contribute not only to the renewal of his vision of the world but also of his palette, with works that are increasingly luminous and rich in symbols.
From 1994 onwards, numerous solo showings take him to Malta (in 1994), to the National Assembly in Paris (1994), the European Parliament in Strasbourg, the Lincoln Cultural Center in New York (13-26 October 1996); then to the World Bank in Washington (November 1996), to Abidjan (as part of North-South cultural exchanges under the aegis of the Ministry of Culture), and to the Casa di Dante Art Museum (Florence 2002).
From 1999 to 2006, his works on the theme of sport were reproduced as visual communication tools and exhibited during international sports meetings in Monaco and Nice…
In 2007, Giacomo de Pass is invited to Russia to the prestigious Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow; an event sponsored by the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation. This first Russian exhibition is followed by others (the Shostakovitch Philharmonic Hall in Saint-Petersburg, the Central House of Cinema in Moscow).
In the summer of 2016, Peymeinade, the town he adopted and has lived in for more than 35 years, honors him with exhibitions and other events in various parts of the county.
Currently, Giacomo de Pass, with nine other recognized artists, is customizing one of the ten giant statues that adorn the hall of the Palm Beach Casino at Cannes which is to be rebuilt. Their works will be exhibited before being sold by auction in the near future.