Francesco Clemente was an Italian painter born in Naples in 1952. He first studied classic languages and literature but in 1970 studied architecture in Rome. In the 1970s Clemente established a studio and exhibited drawings and photographs across Europe, the works based on childhood memories and dreams. He became involved with avant-garde artists and friends with painter Alighiero Boetti who was an early influence of his. Clemente became interested in Indian culture and began visiting yearly from 1973. He moved to New York in 1981. He often collaborated with other artists and poets including Jean-Michel Basquait and Andy Warhol.
Clemente first gained wider attention in the mid 70s with erotic imagery of mutilated body parts and strange self-portraits. He was involved in the revolt against formalism and the detached nature of conceptual art. His own work was highly symbolic and personal, later violent and expressionist, more surreal.