Piero Dorazio

In the language of artists, painting is a way of writing history.

Piero Dorazio was born in Rome in 1927. After studying architecture, at the age of 20, he turned to painting through his association with Aldo Bendinelli’s studio, becoming interested in abstraction in the following years.
In 1946, he participated in the Gruppo Arte Sociale with Perilli, Guerrini, Vespignani, Buratti, Muccini, until he formulated his manifesto in 1947, and collaborated in the early exhibitions of Forma 1 with Consagra, Turcato, Accardi, and Sanfilippo. Dorazio then went to Paris with Guerrini, and with the mediation of Severini, he came into contact with the French avant-garde.
In 1950, he, along with Perilli and Guerrini, opened the gallery-bookstore L’Age d’or on Via del Babuino in Rome, aiming to spread the message of abstraction. In 1952, Dorazio participated in his first Venice Biennale, invited by Prampolini.

The Origine Foundation was established through the merger of the Age d’or group with Origine by Ballocco, Burri, Capogrossi, and Colla. In XX, he visited America where he interacted with De Kooning, Rothko, Pollock, and Barney Newman. He took part in the Summer International Seminar at Harvard University and had a solo exhibition at the Wittenborn One-Wall Gallery in New York. In America, he also met Hans Richter, a friendship that would last a lifetime, with Richter’s films on abstract rhythms greatly influencing his style, which distanced itself from the Informal and Gesture Expressionism.
Dorazio relied on a transparent grid of overlaid chromatic structures that reimagined the space-surface, a composition of lines in horizontal, vertical, and diagonal orientations. “Light,” he said, “is not just a physical phenomenon, but a psychic and biological one that has nothing to do with reason and might be produced by forms of energy mutation or expansion in cosmic spaces. Both light and shadow, dimness, or darkness induce states of mind. Therefore, they are essential components of visual arts expression.”
From the late 1940s onward, he was present and active in various cities such as Paris, Prague, Harvard, and Berlin, until the 1960s and 1970s when he directed the Department of Fine Arts at the University of Pennsylvania. This period was interspersed with stays in Italy and elsewhere, including eight months in Berlin in 1968. He held solo exhibitions and in the 1960 Venice Biennale presented monochromatic canvases covered with dense linear patterns, aligning him with American minimalism. He exhibited in 1966 and 1988 in London, New York, Switzerland, and Germany.
In 1966, he exhibited at the Galerie Im Erker in Saint Gallen, where he established a flourishing artistic partnership with Giuseppe Ungaretti. For the occasion, the poet wrote the catalogue text, and the following year, Dorazio created a series of graphics to accompany Ungaretti’s collection “La luce” (The Light). In 1970, he curated Rothko’s retrospective at the Venice Biennale.
In 1974, he settled in Todi, where he worked and taught at the Atelier School for Modern Ceramics and his own studio.In the early 1980s, he participated in a major exhibition at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, then in major American museums, and finally at the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna in Rome. He exhibited in Tokyo and Osaka in 1985 and 1986.
Between 1993 and 1996, he developed a project for the creation of fifty mosaics by international artists in Rome’s subway. In 2004, the Pinacoteca di Locarno dedicated a comprehensive retrospective to him. His works are displayed in important public and private collections, including the Tate Gallery in London, the Galleria d’Arte Moderna in Turin, and the Fine Arts Museum in San Francisco, California.
Piero Dorazio passed away in Todi in 2005.

Gallery

Piero Dorazio, 1927 - 2005
Untitled, 1959
Oil on canvas
113 x 147 cm - - 44 1/2 x 57 7/8 in
Piero Dorazio, 1927 - 2005
Preziosa, 1965
Oil on canvas
46 x 38 cm - - 18 1/8 x 15 in
Piero Dorazio, 1927 - 2005
Climber, 1968
Oil on canvas
80 x 105 cm - - 31 1/2 x 41 3/8 in
Piero Dorazio, 1927 - 2005
Malaise II, 1969
Oil on canvas
90 x 45 cm - 35 3/8 x 17 3/4 in

Exhibitions

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