Pintori Biography

Giovanni Pintori (Tresnuraghes 1912–Milan 1999) was one of the best-known, widely admired and respected Italian designers worldwide. The winner of sought-after international awards, he designed impressive works that created the Olivetti image and were an emblematic reference in the history of 20th-century design.

Giovanni Pintori left his home in Sardinia in 1930, the year he won a scholarship that allowed him to attend the course for advertising graphics directed by Nizzoli and Persico at the ISIA in Monza. As soon as he graduated in 1936, he was asked to join Olivetti, beginning a dazzling professional and artistic career that would make him one of Italy’s best-known designers around the world. He was awarded the Palma d’Oro for advertising (1950), became a partner of the AGI and exhibited his work at MoMA in New York (1952) and at the Louvre in Paris (1955), received the AIGA Certificate of Excellence (1955) and a gold medal at the Fiera di Milano (1956), and received the Grand Prize at the Milan Triennale (1957) and the Certificate of Merit from the Art Directors Club of New York (1964). His works have been published in books and magazines around the world, capturing attention in Japan, which in 1967, dedicated a large solo exhibition to him in Tokyo. That same year, he decided to leave Olivetti due to difficult relations with the new management that took over after Adriano passed away. He opened his own studio in Milan and began working freelance. He continued working with Olivetti, but also various other Milanese companies like Pirelli, Sirti, Ambrosetti and Gabbianelli. In 1981, the Fondazione Corrente in Milan dedicated an exhibit to his painting activities. For three years, until 1983, he worked with Merzario to create an incredible advertising campaign. In 1990, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Italian Art Directors Club. Pintori died in Milan on 15 November 1999.

Main Awards and Exhibitions
1950: Palme d’Or for advertising., Milan
1952: Exhibition at MoMA in New York
1955: Certificate of Excellance from Aiga
1955: AGI Exhibition at Louvre, Paris
1956: Gold medal and graphic illustrations award, Milano
1956: AGI exhibition, London
1962: Eighth Annual Typographic Excellence Award, New York
1967: Large solo exhibition at Tokyo

Source: Musina, Massimiliano. (2014) “Giovanni Pintori. The Stark Tension Between Flair and Discretion“. Bologna: Fausto Lupetti Editore.


“I have always believed in the strength of simple ideas and the demand for clear, immediate language that is accessible to everyone. This doesn’t mean that the language of graphics is downgraded to the most common taste. Just the opposite: it means that the language intends to improve average tastes. This is a goal I set a long time ago.”

Giovanni Pintori, 1961

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