Paolo Malfi was an itinerant Italian artist. Wandering the world, partially deaf, Paolo supported himself by a variety of jobs, among them apple picker, electrician, gigolo, pizza maker. He was for a time footsore seeker after enlightenment in the Himalayas. He spent a short time in jail in Asia. In New York he worked as a studio assistant for both Julian Schnabel and Francesco Clemente. Clemente has noted that those close to Paolo 'felt he carried a gift. A secret illumination he protected faithfully but was unable to express.' Paolo Malfi died in an automobile accident near Rome in the summer of 1995. Schabel's cycle of paintings, The Conversation of St. Paolo Malfi, is a response to his friend. (B. Rose, "Bibliographical Note," The Conversation of St. Paolo Malf, exh. cat., PaceWildenstein, New York, 1989, p. 7).