Joseph Barbiero was born on July 13, 1901, in Trebaseleghe in the Veneto region of Italy. The second of eight children, he never attended school, as his father needed his help in the garden to grow food for the family. He left Italy at the age of 22 when Mussolini came to power and spent a short while in the south of France before settling in Beaumont, near Clermont-Ferrand in the Auvergne.
He married Andrée Coustet, originally from Paris, in 1927, and took French nationality in 1931.As a professional stonemason, he was given the opportunity to take part in major projects in Clermont-Ferrand restoring Notre-Dame-du-Port basilica and the cathedral, using the local black volcanic rock from Volvic.On his retirement in 1965, he turned his garage into a studio for his own artistic projects, eventually producing hundreds of sculptures, drawings, and sketches, most in black pencil.He experimented with various materials for his sculptures, including clay, cement, limestone, sandstone, plaster, and wood, before settling on Volvic stone as his preferred medium, since as Jean Lelong noted, he wanted to « measure himself against the cathedral sculptures ».
His first exhibition took place in 1985, when he was eightyfour years old, twenty years after his first sculpture.He died on March 6, 1992, at the age of ninety.
Preface : Stéphane Corréard
Foreword : Christian Berst
Catalog published to mark the exhibition preTENse, from September 12th to October 10th, 2015.