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Giovanni Pintori

Giovanni Pintori Italian painter and designer

Italian painter and designer
The basics
Quick Facts
Intro Italian painter and designer
Is Painter Designer
From Italy
Type Arts Creativity
Gender male
Birth Tresnuraghes
Death 15 November 1999, Milan
The details

Giovanni Pintori (14 July 1912 - 15 November 1999) was an Italian graphic designer known mostly for his advertising work with Olivetti. He is known for his use of geometric shapes and minimalist style in his advertising posters, specifically his posters for the Lettera 22 and the Olivetti logo.

Early life and education

Born July 14, 1912 in Tresnuraghes, Sardinia, he was the fifth child out of six born to a dairy worker father and homemaker mother. Until 1930, Pintori lived in Sardinia and found work as a typist starting in 1927. It was during his time as a typist that he frequented a gallery owned by photographer Piero Pirari. Pirari suggested Pintori apply for a scholarship to the Higher Institute for Artistic Industries (ISIA), which he began to attend in 1930 after receiving the scholarship. During his time at ISIA, Pintori studied under Elio Palazzo, director of ISIA and professor of descriptive geometry.

Work with Olivetti

Upon graduation in 1936 Pintori went to work for Olivetti, an Italian typewriter company founded in 1908. He worked in the advertising department before he became the art director in 1950. It was during his time with Olivetti that Pintori first had his work appear in the Museum of Modern Art in 1952, where many of his works still reside to this day. He was the recipient of many awards while working at Olivetti, including the 1950 Palma d'Oro of Italian Federation of Advertising and Certification in Excellence of Graphic Arts from the Association of American Graphic Design. In addition to his work in the Museum of Modern Art, he also had exhibits in London and the Louvre in Paris.

Later work

Pintori decided to leave Olivetti in 1967, 7 years after the death of Adriano Olivetti, due to differences with the new management of the company. It was here he began working as a freelance designer out of Milan, opening his own studio. He continued to do freelance work for Olivetti, but also worked with numerous other companies in the Milan area. His work included designs for magazines and books, and the 1980 campaign for the logistics company Mezzario S.p.A., which would be his last advertising job before his death. He would work in design until his finished the Mezzario campaign, when he began to paint exclusively. While his paintings has appears in some of his work for advertising agencies throughout his career, he stopping using graphic design in his work, and incorporated many images of perpetual motion into his work, however many of Pintori's later painted works are little know since he kept his work rather private. Pintori had only one public showing of paintings, in 1981 in Milan.


Pintori's style is most commonly recognized for its use of color and geometric shapes, along with minimalistic style. Many of his designs revolved around simplified objects rather than a direct reproduction of an object. This meant he was able to clearly represent products in his advertising with strong imagery and basic coloring. Pintori's later years beyond working at Olivetti brought him into freelance work, which began while he was still art director during the 1950s, He left Olivetti in 1967 and opened his own studio in Milan, Italy, where he continued to do freelance design work. He began working exclusively on painting in 1983 after becoming "disillusioned" with modern graphic design. He would remain in Milan until his death on November 15, 1999, at the age of 87.


  • Musina, Massimiliano: Giovanni Pintori. The Stark Tension Between Flair and Discretion. Fausto Lupetti Editore, Bologna 2014 (eBook in English)
  • Musina, Massimiliano: Giovanni Pintori, la severa tensione tra riserbo ed estro. Fausto Lupetti Editore, Bologna 2014 (paperback in Italian)

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