Antonio Calderara

Italian, 1903–1978

The self-taught painter Antonio Calderara led a secluded life in Northern Italy, finding inspiration in the lighting of nearby landscapes (Lake Orta, especially) as well as the hard-edged paintings of Josef Albers and Piet Mondrian. Calderara is best known for his abstract paintings of the late 1950s and 1960s, which combine geometric abstraction—a prevalent trend at the time—with an atmospheric finish, achieving a misty quality through subtle, almost invisible variations in color. Calderara spent the first thirty years of his career as a figurative painter, adopting a variety of styles from Impressionism to Pittura Metafisica. Describing his abrupt transition to abstraction, he wrote, “In 1958...I drew my last curved line.”