Piero Dorazio (Italian, 1927–2005) is a painter who was instrumental in bringing abstraction to Italy. Born in Rome, Dorazio trained in classical painting and drawing, later turning to architecture as a university student.
In the late 1940s, Dorazio became active in a variety of artistic and literary circles, when he was exposed to a range of artistic influences. In 1946, he met Giulio Turcato, Antonio Corpora, Renato Guttuso, Gino Severini, andEnrico Prampolini, and painted his first abstract pictures.
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 his studio. At the same time, Dorazio became actively involved in design, printing silkscreens, and creating furniture. Dorazio also helped draft a manifesto for Forma 1, the first group of Italian abstract artists. After receiving a scholarship from the French Government to live in Paris for a year, he studied at the École des Beaux-Arts. He then returned to Rome, and, in 1950, cofounded the influential cooperative gallery Age d’Or for avant-garde exhibitions, edited Forma 2, and organized the second national exhibition of abstract art.
In 1953, he traveled to New York, where he met influential Abstract Expressionists Mark Rothko, Robert Motherwell, and Franz Kline. He held his first solo exhibition at the Wittenborn One-Wall Gallery in New York the same year. He continued to visit the United States regularly, and held a teaching position at the University of Pennsylvania, where he founded the Institute of Contemporary Art.
Beginning in 1954, Dorazio began to paint with splotches and bands of intense color. Then, between 1958 and 1963, he experimented with webs of color lines, followed by bolder, wider color structures.
In 1959, Dorazio participated in documenta II in Kassel, and, in 1961, was awarded the Prix Kandinsky.
In the 1960s, he executed the first compositions of ink ribbons in his studio in New York, which continued to dominate his work throughout the rest of his career. He died in Perugia at the age of 77.
Today, his works can be found in major institutions around the world, including the Museo di Arte Modernae Contemporanea in Italy, the Tate Gallery in London, and the Cleveland Museum of Art.