Light verily exists in Dorazio,
and will become
a kind of reality in painting
thanks to Dorazio,
a concentration and fixation on
a point of light
re-emerging from abyss,
repeated to infinity.

— Dore Ashton, 2004

Piero Dorazio (1927–2005)

(Lines on Red Background), 1998

Ink, crayon, and watercolor on paper
19 1/2 x 25 1/2 in. (49.5 x 64.8 cm)
Inscribed and dated lower right: [?] 1998

Piero Dorazio (1927–2005)

(Lines on Red Background), 1998

Ink, crayon, and watercolor on paper
19 1/2 x 25 1/2 in. (49.5 x 64.8 cm)
Inscribed and dated lower right: [?] 1998



Piero Dorazio (1927–2005)

(Black and Grey Interlacing Lines), 1960

Charcoal on paper
27 x 19 3/4 in. (68.6 x 50.2 cm)
Signed and dated lower right: DORAZIO ́60

Piero Dorazio (1927–2005): Selected Works - Viewing Room - Moeller Fine Art

Portrait of Piero Dorazio, n.d.

Photo: Virginia Dortch


1927 Piero Dorazio was born in Rome on June 29.

1933 He studies at the Liceo classico “Giulio Cesare,” Rome. In 1942–43, he paints landscapes inspired by the Roman countryside and still lifes. During the 1945 bombing of Rome and until 1943 he moves with his family to Abruzzo. After returning to Rome in 1944 he enrolls as a translator for the Royal Army Service Corps and for the Red Cross, while finishing his studies.

1946 He attends the School of Architecture in Rome without finishing. He follows some classes at the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia, Rome. With Achille Perilli, Mino Guerrini, Lucio Manisco, Carlo Aymonino, Carlo Busiri Vici, Alfio Barbagallo, and Renzo Vespignani he founds the “Arte Sociale” group. With Perilli, Manisco, and Nello Ponente Dorazio attends lectures by Lionello Venturi at the faculty of Liberal Arts, Rome. Dorazio visits Severini in his studio in Rome and studies futurist paintings with Perilli.

1947 Dorazio, Guerrini, and Perilli with Carla Accardi, Antonio Sanfilippo, Ugo Attardi, and Concetto Maugeri establish the Forma 1 group. On March 17, 1947 the magazine Forma is published featuring the group’s manifesto. Right after publishing the Forma 1 manifesto Dorazio, Perilli, and Guerrini travel to Paris as stu- dents to see impressionist and cubist works. In the summer, Dorazio, Perilli, and Guerrini participate in the “World Festival of Youth and Students” in Prague.
In October, Dorazio receives a grant from the French government to study at the École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts in Paris. Gino Severini and his wife Jeanne introduce him to Georges Braque, Fernand Léger, Hans Arp, Alberto Magnelli, Picasso, and Le Corbusier.

1948 He publishes for Giornale della Sera a series of articles on Paris-based artists and on abstract art.

1949 In the fall, Dorazio, Perilli, and Guerrini are invited to join an international art workshop in Leopoldskrohn, Salzburg. Dorazio, Perilli, Manisco, and Guerrini leave the group Forma 1.

1950 Dorazio, Perilli, and Guerrini open a gallery-bookshop in Rome called L’Age d’Or, specialized in avant-garde books and magazines and hosting abstract art.

1951 Lucio Fontana invites Age d‘Or to collaborate with the Triennale in Milan. Dorazio, Guerrini and Perilli work together on two large wall-paintings, awarded with a silver medal. Group Origine (Ballocco, Burri, Capogrossi and Colla) and Age d‘Or join together in the Fondazione Origine.

1952 Dorazio obtains a grant by the French government to spend 4 months in Paris. He presents a conference on abstract art at the X Quadriennale in Rome. This research will serve as a basis for the book La fantasia dell’arte nella vita moderna. He exhibits three drawings at the XXVI Venice Biennale, with Perilli, Burri, and Guerrini.

1953 In June, he leaves for the Unites States, invited by the Harvard International Summer Seminar at Harvard University, Cambridge. He holds two conferences titled Italy: A New Culture in An Old Society. In October, an exhibition of his works on paper opens at George Wittenborn’s One-Wall Gallery, New York. Rose Fried visits his studio and invites him to exhibit his “cartographies” the following year.

1954 Dorazio returns to Rome in June and moves with his studio to Piazza Armellini. He leaves the Fondazione Origine and the “Arti Visive” to entirely devote himself to painting. He participates in the Triennale in Milan with a large wall composition.

1955 His book La fantasia dell’arte nella vita moderna is published by Polveroni e Quinti Editori, Rome. In March, he presents his first solo shows in Italy, at Galleria Apollinaire, Milan, and at Galleria del Cavallino, Venice. He participates in several group shows including those organized by the Art Club and titled Le Arti Plastiche e la Civiltà Meccanica at the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna, Rome.

1956 He wins the prize of Città di Alessandria and the first prize ex aequo of the Ministero della pubblica istruzione for his paintings. He also participates with three paintings in the Venice Biennale.

1957 He presents his first solo exhibition in Rome, at Galleria La Tartaruga. He moves his studio to Passeggiata di Ripetta, the artist neighborhood in the capital.

1958 For a cultural exchange program in Leverkusen, Dorazio, on behalf of the Art Club, organizes the exhibition Pittori italiani e tedeschi at the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna, Rome. He participates with six paintings in the XXIX Venice Biennale.

1959 He takes part in Documenta II in Kassel where he meets Heinz Marck, Otto Piene, and Günther Uecker.

1960 Dorazio is invited to Zurich by Max Bill to exhibit at Konkrete Kunst: 50 Jahre. He also displays paintings at Monochrome Malerei at the Städtisches Museum, Schloss Morsbroich, Leverkusen. He has a solo room at XXX Venice Biennale. In August, he departs for the United States, to begin teaching; he is invited to establish the graduate Fine Arts Department at the University of Pennsylvania.

1961 The Kunstverein Düsseldorf devotes to him a major retrospective. On this occasion he joins the group Zero. He has a solo room show at São Paulo Biennial.

1962 He participates in some exhibitions with the group Continuità, including Perilli, Consagra, Arnaldo and Giò Pomodoro, and Novelli. He wins the Premio Termoli and the Premio Lignano Sabbiadoro.

1963 He continues to teach in Philadelphia one semester each year and becomes Associate Professor.

1964 He holds solo shows at Galleria Marlborough and Galleria Il Segno, Rome.

1965 He participates in several exhibitions in Europe and the United States, including The Responsive Eye at MoMA, New York. In Rome, he moves his studio to a new location in Villa Giulia.

1966 The poet Ungaretti writes an essay on his art for Dorazio’s retrospective at Galerie Im Erker, St. Gallen. He is invited to present a room at the XXXIII Venice Biennale.

1967 In St. Gallen he illustrates Ungaretti’s poem collection La luce. For the VI Biennale d’Arte the Republic of San Marino organizes a large retrospective of his paintings together with works by Victor Vasarely.

1968 Dorazio moves to Berlin for six months, invited by the Deutsche Akademische Austauschdienst.

1969 He continues to teach at the University of Pennsylvania, and works both in New York and Rome for an exhibition at Marlborough Gallery, New York.

1982 Exhibitions at Museum Quadrat, Bottrop, and Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna, Rome. He participates in Italian Art 1960–1980 at the Hayward Gallery, London and in Carnegie International Exhibition at Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh.

1984 He starts to write regularly for Corriere della Sera.

1985 He travels to Japan for two exhibitions at Seibu Gallery and Face Gallery in Tokyo.

1986 The President of Italy Sandro Pertini awards Dorazio with the Accademia Nazionale di San Luca prize.

1987 The gallery Springer in Berlin organizes an important exhibition to celebrate Dorazio’s 60th birthday.

1988 Solo exhibition room at the XLII Venice Biennale.

1989 He organizes a major show Rassegna degli artisti dal centro Italia — Ad Villam in Perugia at the Rocca Paolina.

1990 Dorazio receives the Alcide de Gasperi prize for the arts and sciences. He designs a large mosaic for Italmosaic, Spilimbergo.

1991 Exhibition of works on paper at the Kodama Gallery, Osaka. The Musée de Grenoble and the Galleria Comunale d’Arte Moderna, Bologna host a large exhibition with over 80 paintings. He organizes the exhibition Beauty Is Difficult dedicated to Ezra Pound at Museion, Bolzano.

1992 The Kunstverein Ludwigshafen presents a retrospective on his works on paper. He is appointed member of the Akademie der Künste in Berlin and of the Accademia Nazionale di San Luca in Rome.

1993 The Art Curial Galerie, Paris, presents a selection of his objects and fashion designs. From 1993 to 1996 he directs “Arte-Metro-Roma,” the creation of mosaics by a number of international artists in the metro stations across Rome.

1994 A retrospective of his work is presented at the Athens Civic Museum. His work is included in the Solomon R. Guggenheim exhibition The Italian Metamorphosis.

1995 He participates in the exhibition Les figures de la liberté at Centre Pompidou, Paris.

1996 He takes part in the exhibition Face à l’histoire at Centre Pompidou, Paris. The Calcografia Nazionale di Roma presents a retrospective exhibition of his works.

1997 He receives the Michelangelo Prize from Accademia dei Virtuosi del Pantheon.

1998 The city of Belluno presents a retrospective of 50 years of works on paper at Palazzo Crepadona and the City of Milan hosts a survey show of his paintings from 1960 to 1970 at PAC — Padiglione d’Arte Contemporanea.

1999 He realizes a glass window for Palazzo della Cultura in Acilia.

2000 Achim Moeller Fine Art, New York devotes an exhibition to his paintings from the 1950s. Carima and Comune di Macerata award him with the Scipione prize for painting. The Dresdner Bank in Heidelberg inaugurates a bank venue with an exhibition of Dorazio’s work.

2001 The exhibition Dorazio Jazz opens at Museion, Bolzano. He realizes a glass window for City Hall in Rome.

2002 He exhibits at Galleria Ulisse, Rome, at Galleria Cappelletti, Milan, and at Galleria Aras, Ravensburg.

2003 A large retrospective of his work opens at IVAM - Institut Valencia D’Art Modern, Valencia.

2004 He presents recent works at Achim Moeller Gallery, New York, and at Galerie Valentien, Stuttgart.

2005 Piero Dorazio dies in Perugia on May 17.

(Chronology from the Archivio Piero Dorazio)

Piero Dorazio (1927–2005): Selected Works - Viewing Room - Moeller Fine Art

Archivio Piero Dorazio

Achim Moeller is a member of the Honorary Committee of the Archivio Piero Dorazio.

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