Gilioli is one of the leaders of lyrical abstraction in French sculpture of the 1950s alongside Brancusi and Arp.
Emile Gilioli was born on June 10, 1911, in Paris, into a family of Italian shoemakers. From childhood , during his holidays in Italy, he learned the art of blacksmithing.
At the end of the First World War, the Gilioli family moved to Nice. The young Emile works in the family business and also takes classes at the school of decorative arts in the city. At the beginning of the 1930s, he joined the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris. He then frequented the studio of Jean Boucher where, like many artists of his generation, he was influenced by the work of Charles Malfray.
Mobilized in 1939, he was sent to Grenoble and remained there until the Liberation. There, he became friends with Andry-Fracy, curator of the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Genoble from 1919 to 1949, who transmitted his interest in Cubism to him. It was in the city of Grenoble that he made his first solo exhibition at the Galerie Laforge in 1945.
Back in Paris, he animated the young abstract school of Paris with Poliakoff and Deyrolle and exhibited his works at the Galerie Breteau in 1946. He then participated in most French and foreign artistic events: the Salon des Réalités Nouvelles, the Salon de Mai, the Salon de la Jeune Sculpture. The Galliera museum dedicated an exhibition to him in 1968.
The simplicity of his art where form and material condition each other, inspired both by archaic Greece, the statuary of ancient Egypt, and Cubism, earned him numerous public commissions, particularly in the Isère department where he built the Voreppe Memorial in 1946, the war memorial for the Deportees from Grenoble in 1950 .... Memorial of the Resistance on the Glières plateau in 1973.
Two characteristics very often recur in his work: the balanced circle and the broken line.
These two traits are found in his sculptures, in his painted work and in his work on paper.