Born in La Plata, province of Buenos Aires, Argentina, César Paternosto studied drawing and painting since his childhood, although he licenced as a lawyer, a profession he practised for a brief period. His initial artistic axis was abstract expressionism, but from 1961 he became interested in pre-Columbian cultures and began making sketches with rudimentary geometric shapes that alluded to Amerindian art, which led to his first geometric abstractions, with elements loaded with symbolic meaning. In the 1960s he also studied the work and theories of Josef Albers, and in 1965 he began experimenting with concentric circular bands. In 1969, two years after settling in New York, Paternosto developed his method of painting on the edges and the edge of the fabric, freeing the front area of it.
In 1977, during a long trip through northern Argentina, Bolivia and Peru, he visited some of the most emblematic places of pre-Columbian culture, such as Tiahuanaco, Cuzco, Ollantaytambo and Machu Picchu. This experience prompted him to publish, in 1989, the book "Abstract Stone", in which he compiled his research on the symbolic and abstract art of ancient American civilizations.
Paternosto exhibited his works in the Lirolay Gallery (Buenos Aires, 1964); "Latin American Art Since Independence", Yale University (Connecticut, 1965); "The 1960s: Painting and Sculpture from the Museum Collection", Museum of Modern Art (New York, 1967); "Beyond Geometry", Center for Inter-American Relations (New York, 1968); "Paintings: 1969-1980", Center for Inter-American Relations (New York, 1981); “Retrospective”, San Telmo Foundation (Buenos Aires, 1987); “Abstraction as Meaning”, Exit Art, The First World Gallery (New York, 1993); 1st and 3rd Havana Biennial (Cuba, 1981 and 1989), “The School of the South: the Torres-García Workshop and its legacy”, Reina Sofía National Museum of Art (Madrid, 1991), and Jorge Mara - La Ruche (Buenos Aires, 2004). He lives and works in Buenos Aires.