Francesco Clemente Untitled (1984)

  • Not on view

Widely traveled and incessantly nomadic, Francesco Clemente divides his time between Rome, New York, and Madras, India. His work incorporates a broad range of cultural influences, including Eastern and Western religions, philosophy, art, mythology, and astrology, and his paintings, pastels, watercolors, and prints reflect this inclusive spirit. Tondo, for example, combines the circular format popular in the Italian Renaissance with a dreamlike composition of sensual nudes and mystical circular forms reminiscent of waxing and waning suns and moons.

Emerging on the New York art scene in the 1980s, Clemente was recognized as part of the new generation of figurative painters labeled Neo-Expressionists, and the peripatetic Italian painters known as the Transavanguardia. Clemente befriended members of New York's burgeoning graffiti and hip-hop scenes, as well as visual artists such as Andy Warhol, and musicians and literati. Such relationships have proven to be an important complement to Clemente's wholehearted embrace of collaboration, which has included work with Indian miniaturists and sign painters, monastic papermakers, authors and poets with whom he has made numerous book projects, and master printers with whom he makes prints.

In the 1980s one such collaboration with Japanese master printer Tadashi Toda of the Shi-un-do Print Shop in Kyoto led to the creation of several virtuoso woodcut self-portraits, one of Clemente's most prevalent subjects. Executed after existing watercolors, these woodcuts were done in the traditional ukiyo-e manner, with the artist collaborating with both a woodblock carver and a master printer to achieve complicated, full-color, multiblock prints. First invited to make prints by Kathan Brown of Crown Point Press in 1980, Clemente has created more than one hundred prints to date in mediums including woodcut, etching, and aquatint. In addition to Crown Point Press, he has also worked at Petersburg Press and Edition Schellmann, among others.

Publication excerpt from an essay by Sarah Suzuki, in Deborah Wye, Artists and Prints: Masterworks from The Museum of Modern Art, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2004, p. 229.
composition: 14 3/16 x 20 1/8" (36.1 x 51.1 cm); sheet: 16 13/16 x 22 9/16" (42 x 57.3 cm)
Crown Point Press, Oakland
Shi-un-do Print Shop, Kyoto, Japan
Gift of Elinor and Edmund Grasheim through the Associates
Object number
© 2024 Francesco Clemente
Drawings and Prints

Installation views

We have identified these works in the following photos from our exhibition history.

How we identified these works

In 2018–19, MoMA collaborated with Google Arts & Culture Lab on a project using machine learning to identify artworks in installation photos. That project has concluded, and works are now being identified by MoMA staff.

If you notice an error, please contact us at [email protected].


If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA’s collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

MoMA licenses archival audio and select out of copyright film clips from our film collection. At this time, MoMA produced video cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. All requests to license archival audio or out of copyright film clips should be addressed to Scala Archives at [email protected]. Motion picture film stills cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For access to motion picture film stills for research purposes, please contact the Film Study Center at [email protected]. For more information about film loans and our Circulating Film and Video Library, please visit

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication, please email [email protected]. If you would like to publish text from MoMA’s archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to [email protected].


This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to [email protected].