Born in Rome in 1934, Claudio Olivieri moved to Milan in 1953 where he studied at the Accademia di Brera. In 1959 he exhibited at the British School in Bologna and later had his first solo show at Galleria Salone Annunciata in Milan. In 1966 Olivieri was invited to participate in the Venice Biennale, to which he returned with solo rooms in 1980 and 1990, as well as in 1986, in a section dedicated to colour.
In 1970s Olivieri had several solo shows in important Italian and international institutions such as the Westfälischer Kunstverein in Münster. In 1977 he took part in Documenta in Kassel.