Cycladic XII, 1981

Acrylic on canvas 

70 x 250 cm

Piero Dorazio was born in June 1927, in Rome.


After brief studies in architecture, from 1945 to 1951, he quickly turned to the visual arts, especially painting.


In 1947 he co-founded, together with Pietro Consagra, Achille Perilli, Carla Accardi and Giulio Turcato the group Forma 1, which elaborated the "Manifesto del Formalismo-Forma 1". Strongly inspired by Futurism and expressing political approach, the manifesto contrasted with Socialist Realism's ideals, as illustrated by Renato Guttuso. This period led Dorazio to embrace abstract art and served as a reference point for the rest of his career.


Moreover, in 1947 Dorazio was awarded a scholarship to the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris, where he spent a year and met Severini, Braque, Vantongerloo, Pevsner, Arp, Sonia Delaunay, Le Corbusier and other prominent artists.


In 1952 he promoted the international foundation Origine in Rome, which published the periodical "Arti Visive". In 1953 he travelled to the United States, where he met Motherwell, Rothko, Kiesler, Kline and Clement Greenberg, and organised his first solo shows at the Wittenborn One-Wall Gallery and the Rose Fried Gallery in New York. After returning to Rome in 1954, he periodically travelled throughout Europe.

In 1957-58, inspired by Balla's work on Divisionism, Dorazio began creating meshes, overlapping chromatic structures reinventing both space and surface. In the same year, he had his first solo show in Rome, at the Galleria La Tartaruga.

During the 60s he dedicated himself to teaching at the Graduate School of Fine Arts at the University of Pennsylvania. In this period, he created the first compositions of ink ribbons in his studio in New York, which dominated his work henceforth.

In these years Dorazio was strongly connected to the german ZERO group, sharing a new vision of the world and art projected into the future. Their re-interpretation of painting travels through light, colour, space, and structure making art more objective and direct.

Dorazio was a crucial figure in the discovery of the ZERO group in the United States. In 1965, Dorazio and artists such as Heinz Mack, Günther Uecker, Enrico Castellani, Walter Leblanc and many others, participated in The Responsive Eye, an exhibition held at the MoMa in New York that later travelled throughout the United States for an entire year. This exhibition presented an international review of works by artists working on the same visual perception theme in Europe and the United States (Morris Louis, Frank Stella, etc.).


In 1966, he held a second solo exhibition at the Venice Biennale. During the following years, he had private and public commissions such as mosaics' realisation in Rome's subway stations.

After his return to Italy in 1974 Dorazio moved to the former Romanic cloister of Todi in Umbria, where he lived until he died in 2005.

He participated in major international shows, such as the Venice Biennale, where he exhibited in 1960, 1966 and 1988.


His paintings are collected in the most crucial collection worldwide such as the Art Institute of Chicago; The Museum of Modern Art (MoMa), New York; the Tate Gallery, London; the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice; and the National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.


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