Marco Polo di Suvero was born in 1933 in Shanghai, China, where his father was stationed as a naval attaché for the Italian government. His family moved to San Francisco when he was seven, and di Suvero graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, with a degree in philosophy in 1957.

Di Suvero moved to New York City soon after graduation, and worked construction part-time to make ends meet. In 1960, as he prepared for his first solo show, that job nearly killed him when he broke his back and left leg in a freight-elevator accident. His doctors told him he would never walk, or work, again. But during his recovery, di Suvero learned arc welding, cutting, and cold bending as he created small wood and steel sculptures, and mastered the advanced welding techniques he would later employ in his massive pieces.

Di Suvero's sculptures are in private and public collections around the world, as well as all the major museums. Some of these include: The National Gallery of Art and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C.; Storm King Art Center in Mountainville, New York; The Museum of Modern Art in Stockholm, Sweden; the Kröller-Müller Museum in Otterlo, Netherlands; and Skulpturenpark Köln in Cologne, Germany.