Claude Gilli is a major figure of the “École de Nice” (School of Nice) that had a considerable impact on French pop art. Born in Nice in 1938, he enters the School of applied arts of his hometown in 1955. In 1962, on New Year’s Eve, he burns most of his early works. Close to the artists Albert Chubac, Martial Raysse, Ben, but also Arman, César, Farhi and Venet it’s his encounter with Robert Malaval that will lead to different works that they made in common around “aliment blanc”. Having obtained the Lefranc prize in 1966, he is shown at the exhibition “12 super realists” at the Del Leone gallery, Venice, where he discovers the works of American “pop” artists, Lichtenstein, Warhol, Wesselmann. In 1968 he starts working with Plexiglas and then continues with a series of paintings “aux escargots” (with snails). In the 1970’s he moves to Paris and is also shown in numerous international exhibitions, one of them was dedicated to the school of Nice a the Pompidou Center, Paris. The degenerative disorder he was subject to finally caught up with him and obliges him to be in a wheelchair. He starts working tirelessly and develops works in cut iron, notably for outdoor pieces and monumental sculptures.


Claude Gilli is a leading artist from the Nice school who has greatly contributed to the affirmation of French pop art. Born in Nice in 1938, he entered the Decorative Art school in Nice in 1955. Between 1957 and 1959, during his first exhibitions at the Galerie de Longchamp, he befriended with Albert Chubac, Martial Raysse, then Ben at the inauguration of the latter’s “Laboratory 32”.

In 1962, on New Year’s Eve, he burned almost all of his early works. Then he met Arman, César, Farhi and Venet before meeting Robert Malaval with whom he carried out several works around “L’aliment blanc”. He presents numerous exhibitions, notably in Venice then in Paris at Yvon Lambert Gallery after having obtained the Lefranc Prize in 1966. The following year he takes part in the exhibition “12 Super-Réalistes” in Venice at Del Leone where he discovers the works of American “pop”, Lichtenstein, Warhol and Wesselmann. Then in 1968 he worked with plexiglass before starting a series of “snail” paintings.

After settling in a Parisian studio in 1976, he participated in numerous international exhibitions, including one dedicated to the “l’école de Nice (Nice school)” at the Center Georges Pompidou. In 1981 a retrospective was devoted to him at the Musée de Nice, and several catalogs were published by Pierre Restany. He also produced a monumental steel sculpture for the Palais des Congrès in the city of Nice.

The degenerative disorder he was subject to finally caught up with him and obliges him to be in a wheelchair. In 1985, He started working tirelessly and developed works in cut iron, notably for outdoor pieces and monumental sculptures presented at the Center d’Art Contemporain in Rouen (1990) and at the Jousse & Seguin gallery (1991). Three other retrospectives was presented in 1999 at the MAMAC in Nice, with the publication of a catalog with his works; in 2003, at the Villa Tamaris, then in 2004 at the Museum of Fine Arts in Bordeaux.

In 2005, Constance Ryder directed a feature-length documentary on her work broadcast on TV5 Monde.

Between 2005 and 2015, Gilli participated in numerous exhibitions in Asia, the United States and Europe, produced a monumental 12-meter steel sculpture for the Alliance Foundation, at the Al-Maaden Golf Resort in Marrakech, and was nominated to the grade of “Commander des Arts et Letters” by the Minister of Culture.

On June 28, 2015 Claude Gilli died in Nice at the age of 76. A posthumous exhibition was dedicated to him at MAMAC in 2017.



Pop Art : Les feux de l'amour, Galerie Loft, Paris, France

À propos de Nice : 1947-1977, MAMAC, Nice, France.

A l’origine, Nice, exposition de groupe, Malborough Gallery, Nice, France

Musée Fernand Léger, Biot, France

James Mayor Gallery, Londres, Angleterre

Loft Gallery, Barcelona, Spain
Guy Pieters Gallery, Knokke-le-Zoute, Belgium

Galerie du Centre, Paris, France
Rétrospective, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Bordeaux, France

Rétrospective, Villa Tamaris, La Seyne-sur-Mer, France

Hervé Loevenbruck Gallery, Paris, France

Rétrospective, Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain, Nice, France

Jousse & Segui Gallery, Paris

Exposition de l’ensemble de ses sculptures en acier, Centre d’Art Contemporain, Rouen, France

Loft Gallery, Paris, France

Rétrospective, Musée de Nice, Nice, France

L’Ecole de Nice, Centre Pompidou, Paris, France

Vallois Gallery, Paris, France

Ferrero Gallery, Nice, France

Escargots, Paris, France

Palais des Beaux-Arts de Bruxelles, Belgium

12 Super-Réalistes, Galleria Del Leone, Venice, Italy

Yvon Lambert Gallery, Paris, France

Henriette Legendre Gallery, Paris, France

Laboratoire 32, inauguration of Ben's store, Nice, France

FRAC Provence-Alpes-Côte-d’Azur

Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres de la République française