Artist

Piero Dorazio

Piccolo Mattutino, 1958
oil on canvas
19 1/2h x 13 3/4w in
49.53h x 34.93w cm
Grey, 1957
watercolor on grey paper
23h x 19 1/4w in
58.42h x 48.90w cm
Pink, 1962
watercolor on paper
27 1/2h x 19 1/4w in
69.85h x 48.90w cm
Untitled, 1960
ink on paper
13 1/2 x 20 1/2 in. (34.2 x 52 cm)
signed lower left: Piero Dorazio 1960

Attractions, 1967
Oil on canvas
38 ¼ x 31 ½ in. (97.2 x 80 cm)
Signed, titled, and dated on reverse: Dorazio 1967 Attractions

untitled, 1998
gouache on laid paper
53.3 x 66 cm (21 x 26 in.)
Piero Dorazio (1927–2005)
Untitled, 1960
Watercolor and crayon on paper
20½ x 28¼ in. (52 x 72 cm)

Chronology

1927

Born in Rome, Italy.

 

1947

Awarded a grant by the French Government to live in Paris for a year and enrolls in the Ecole des Beaux-Arts.

 

1949

Participates in Leopoldskron seminars in Salzburg. Contributes articles to the journals Giornale della Sera and Il Mondo.

 

1950

Studies architecture at the University of Rome. Organizes L'Age d'Or, a gallery bookshop and international meeting place for avant-garde artists and writers.

 

1951

Exhibits at the Triennale di Milano. Participates in a group exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum in New York. Becomes Italian correspondent for the magazines L'Architecture d'Aujourd'hui and Art d'Aujourd'hui.

 

1952

Wins scholarship to study in Paris. Publishes the magazine Arti Visive.

 

1953

Invited to participate in the international Summer Seminar at Harvard University and spends the next year in the U.S.

 

1955

Publishes LA Fantasia dell'arte nella vita moderna, the first international survey of modern art to appear in Italy.

 

1956

Teaches drawing and mosaic techniques at the Positano Art Workshop.

 

1958

Experiments with new technique and produces a series of monochromatic paintings with overlapping brushstrokes.

 

1960

Appointed director of the department of painting, sculpture, and graphic art at the School of Fine Arts at the University of Pennsylvania.

 

1962

Participates in the founding of the Zero Group in Düsseldorf.

 

1970

Appointed curator of the Biennale di Venezia. Lectures in the Faculty of Architecture in Rome.

 

1978

Organizes the Scuola Atelier per la Ceramica Moderna in Todi.

 

1984

Begins to write art criticism for the newspaper Corriere della Sera.

 

1996

Publication of the Catalogo Generale (1962-1993) by Pananti in Florence.

 

2005

Dies in Perugia, Umbria.

Solo Exhibitions

 

1953

Wittenborn Gallery, New York

 

1954

Rosa Fried Gallery, New York

 

1955

Galleria Apollinaire, Milan
Galleria del Cavallino in Venice

 

1959

Galerie Springer, Berlin

 

1960

XXX Biennale di Venezia

 

1961

Bienal de Sao Paolo, Brazil

 

1964/65

Galeria Malborough, Rome. Exhibiton travels to sister gallery in New York

 

1966

Erker Galerie in St. Gallen, with catalogue text by Giuseppe Ungaretti
XXXIII Biennale di Venezia
Marloborough Gallery, London

 

1969

Marlborough Gallery, New York

 

1974

Sala delle Pietre, Todi, Umbria

 

1977

Andre Emmerich Gallery, New York

 

1979

Travelling exhibition opens at the Musée d'Arte Moderne de la Ville de Paris, then tours the U.S. and Germany before closing at the Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna in Rome in 1883

 

1985-86

Seibu and Face Galleries, Tokyo

 

1986

Achim Moeller Fine Art, New York

 

1988

XLIII Biennale di Venezia

 

1990

Erker Galerie, St. Gallen, Musee de Grenoble, Galleria Civica, Bologna

 

1993

Galerie Artcurial, Paris

 

1994

Municipal Gallery, Athens

 

1995

Erker Gallery, St. Gallen, exhibition is accompanied by a volume of poetry by Mario Luzi

 

1996

Retrospective exhibition of engravings at the Calcografia Nazionale in Rome

 

1999

Retrospective exhibitions from the 1950s at the Studio Angeletti in Rome, Padiglione d'Arte Contemporanea in Milan, Galerie Valentin in Stuttgart

 

2000

Dresdner Bank, Heidelberg
Achim Moeller Fine Art, New York

 

2002

Galleria Ulisse, Rome
Galleria Cappelletti , Milan
Galerie Aras, Ravensburg
The Municipal Gallery, Rhodes
Galerie Valentin, Stuttgart
Achim Moeller Fine Art, New York

 

2003

Retrospective at the Institut Valencia d'Art Modern, Valencia

 

2004

Works from 1946-2003 at the Casa Rusca, Locarno; Achim Moeller Fine Art, Ltd.


Group Exhibitons

 

1946

Gruppo Arte Sociale (Achille Perilli, Mino Guerrini, Renzo Vespignani, among others)

 

1947

Forma 1, the first group of Italian abstract artists (Guerrini, Perilli, Carla Accardi, Pietro Consagra, and Giulio Turcato)

 

1948

helps to organize the inaugural exhibition Mostra Nazionale d'Arte Astratta at the Galleria di Roma

 

1951

Triennale di Milan
Guggenheim Museum, New York
helps organize Arte Astratta e Concreta in Italia at the Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna in Rome

 

1952

XXVI Biennale di Venezia

 

1956

Exhibitions in Rome and New York
XXVIII Biennale di Venezia

 

1957

VIII Mostra Nazionale di Arte Contemporanea at the Museo Civico in Alessandria

 

1965

The Responsive Eye at the Museum of Modern Art in New York

 

1973

Plus by Minus at the Albright-Knox Gallery in Buffalo, New York
invited to be part of the permanent installation of the Zero Group at the Kunstmueum in
Düsseldorf

 

1987

Forma 1 at the Bourg-en-Bresse and Darmstadt Museums

 

1991

organizes Beauty is Difficult at the Museion-Museo d'Arte Moderna in Bolzano

 

1995

Les Figures de la Liberte in Geneva

 

1996

Face a l'histoire at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris

 

1998

50 Anni di lavori su carta, 1948-1998 at the Palazzo Crepadonna

 

2001

Dorazio Jazz at the Museo d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea in Bolzano

 

International Awards

 

1957

Citta di Alessandria, most prestigious prize in Italy for contemporary art

 

1961

Prix Kandinsky
International Prize of the Biennale de Paris
Declines award of 1 million French Francs in protest against war in Algeria

 

1968

Award from the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst

 

1970

Awarded International Prize for Graphic Work by the city of Crakow

 

1986

Prize of the President of the Republic from the Accademia di San Luca in Rome

 

1991

Elected to the Akademie der Künste in Berlin and the Accademia di San Luca in Rome which awards him the Alcide de Gasperi Prize

 

1997

Michelangelo Prize awarded by the Accademia dei Virtuosi del Pantheon

 

2000

Scipione Prize by the Fondazione Carima

Biography

Born in Rome and trained in traditional classical painting and drawing, Dorazio (1927 – 2005) turned to architecture as a university student in 1945. In the late 1940s, Dorazio became active in a variety of artistic and literary circles, when he was exposed to a wealth of artistic influences and intellectual currents, from the School of Paris and Surrealist biomorphism to Russian Supremativism, Constructivism, and even Italian Futurism. Notably, he rediscovered the art of Giacomo Balla, whom he sought out in Rome in 1950 and visited often, studying the paintings and sketchbooks in the neglected Futurist's studio. At the same time, Dorazio became actively involved in design, printing silk-screens, and creating furniture. In 1950, a visit to Paris led to his collaboration with a number of fellow artists in organizing a notable avant-garde institution, L' Age d' Or. During the late 1940s and early 1950s, while traveling throughout Europe and visiting New York, Dorazio was evolving the approach that a decade later would establish his international renown.

In his urbane, tense abstractions, Dorazio has captured not life but rather a fleeting, emotionally charged glimpse of it in passing. Luminosity itself might be the subject of his delicately textured and atmospheric grids, embodying a lyricism that is both fragile and firmly constructed. In his watercolors of the late 1950s and 1960s, Dorazio tethers radiant bars of color to one another, creating pictorial textures that appear to be the inspired efforts of a weaver working with tensile bands of pure color and light. Yet Dorazio's elegant abstractions are not merely atmospheric and ethereal. As the tactile grids twist and writhe energetically across the surface, they reveal firm, fluid brushstrokes of great confidence.
Somehow, Dorazio strikes a balance between the rigidity of the grid format and this lush tactile surface treatment. With their pulsating masses of strong color and rough texture, the grids appear to have settled on the paper, as if through some mysterious natural process that is at once dynamic and graceful. In these monochromatic crosshatched grids, Dorazio has abandoned organic polychromatic gesture to focus on the essence of his compositions: the surface itself, patterned and infused with soft, tinted light. Each composition is rendered in exquisite, assured strokes, achieving a remarkable and highly personal synthesis of lyricism and a barely tangible formalism.