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Antonio Calderara

Abbiategrasso/Mailand 1903 - Vaciago 1978


The Italian painter, graphic artist and sketcher Antonio Calderara was born in Abbiategrasso near Milan on October 28, 1903. First he graduated from an engineering program at the Polytechnic Institute in Milan, and painted later.
In the year 1923, Antonio Caldera’s first solo exhibit took place. In 1924, the artist gave up his studies and devoted himself entirely to painting. In the year that followed, Antonio Calderara produced his first self-portrait.
Thereafter came a series of landscapes and small city views such as "Crepuscolo" (1927) and "Via Vallone" (1929). Antonio Calderara stayed in Milan until the year 1933, but then he moved to the Lago d’Orta, where he lived first in Pella and then later in Vacciago.
Beginning in 1934, the warm, opalizing light of Lake Orta became his favorite subject. For example, works such as "La finestra" (1935) and "La chiesa di S. Antonio di Vacciago" (1937) were produced. But also in portraits, landscapes and still lifes of the 1940’s, the people, objects and ambience are surrounded by a warm, dusty light.
Later, in 1957–58, Antonio Calderara reduced the composition of his pictures to a simple geometric pattern that places the pictorial elements into an abstract relationship with each other. He achieved an ever greater degree of abstraction.
Antonio Calderara’s models were Piet Mondrian (1872 – 1944) and Josef Albers (1888 – 1976). His work comes close to that of Albers in constructivist conception and in the saturation of the colored ground coat. Antonio Calderara wanted to wrench things out of chaos and give them sharpness and order.
In the years 1963–66, the series "Attrazione in tensione" and in 1969 "Orizonti" appeared. Here it was a question of a series of light, quadratic, square-shaped areas of color. The oil painting "Presenza ortogonale del nero" from 1970 and the watercolors between 1923 and 1975 are reminiscent of paintings by Kasimir Malewitsch (1878 – 1935). The color is liberated from the materiality of the objects and becomes a pure light phenomenon.
Antonio Calderara died in Vacciago at Lake Orta on June 27, 1978.


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