Piero Dorazio was born in Rome in 1927. He matured as a artist during World War II and the years following it. From the beginning, he was drawn to abstraction. Perhaps, like post-WWI European artists and post-WWII American artists, he felt that nothing made sense as it did before the war so a new form of representation was needed. After the war, he was part of the artist group Forma I (1946-47), which explored art’s role in society in the past and present, as well as its responsibility to humanity. Dorazio published “The Fantasy of Art in Modern Life” in 1955. Then, in the mid-1950s, he began exhibiting with Zero, a group of loosely connected international artists who showed their work together from c. 1957 to 1966.

Like many of his contemporaries in the 1960s, Dorazio was interested in the effect color had on the viewer. In a 1966 interview, he said:

...the surface of a canvas is a surface of two dimensions, and from that surface we make an optical phenomenon, we create an image that produces in the observer a sensation, an emotion, from all of which arises successively a problem, a reasoning, a thought, an idea, let us say in face a mode of thought and of the spirit; if we do that, then we are in the presence of art.*

Instead of focusing solely on the interaction of color, like Josef Albers and Victor Vasarely, Dorazio examined the possibilities that color held for communicating with a viewer.

*Piero Dorazio, 1966 from Piero Dorazio and Giulio Turcato, "Conversazione sull'arte oggi e su cose interessant in occasione della trentareesima Biennale di Venezia," Metro (Milan), no. 11 (June 1966), 45. Cited in Edward F. Fry, Piero Dorazio: A Retrospective, An Exhibition by Douglas G. Schultz, exh. cat. (Buffalo, NY: Albright-Knox Art Gallery, 1980), 11.

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