Carlo Abate was born in Milan in 1859. He studied sculpture at the Brera Academy of Fine Arts, becoming an honorary member in 1888. He made his debut at the 1889 Promotrice in Turin with the bronze statuette Al sole and in the same year he also made Femmina, a sculpture that was acclaimed by the critics. Also in 1889, he took part in the Genoa Promotrice with another small bronze Serata d’onore.
The first recognitions soon arrived for his works of clear verist tendency, denoted by a constant reference to the social question. Carlo Abate was not only known for his work as a sculptor, but also for his political militancy in the ranks of anarchist groups, first in Italy and then in America. His interest in labour and social problems can be seen in the bronze group he exhibited at the Milan Triennale in 1894, Panem nostrum quotidianum, which won him the coveted Tantardini prize.
The move to America and anarchist militancy
After the death of his wife in 1896, Carlo Abate decided to emigrate with his two children to America. He first settled in New York, then in Quincy, Massachusetts, a town chosen because it was an important centre for granite working.
However, the city that would definitively adopt the Milanese sculptor was Barre, in Vermont, another reference point for granite. Having taken lodgings in the Italian neighbourhood, Carlo Abate made himself known by giving drawing lessons to young people. Later, with the support of the community, he opened an art school aimed at welcoming young people from all social classes, while the sculptor remained deeply attached to the ideas of humanitarian egalitarianism.
In America, from 1903, he directed the magazine “Cronaca sovversiva”, for which he also designed the masthead. It was to be a reference journal for all Italian anarchists in America, and for this reason it was closed in 1918.
During the years he spent in Vermont, Carlo Abate never abandoned his sculpture practice; indeed, several of his works populate the local museum, including a bas-relief dedicated to George Washington. In the Town Hall, there is a bust of Thomas Edison and statues of American soldiers who took part in the First World War were made by Abate for the Monumental Arch in Barre.
Some of his works are kept in the Galleria d’arte Moderna in Milan, including the Portrait of the painter C. Baronchelli, in bronze, and his Self-Portrait of 1935. He lived in Barre all his life and died there in 1941.