Piero Dorazio was born Piero D’Orazio on June 29, 1927, in Rome, where he undertook formal studies in architecture at the University of Rome from 1945 to 1951. About the same time he joined the Arte Sociale group, which published single issues of Ariele and La Fabbrica. In 1947 he co-founded the group Forma 1, which produced the Manifesto del Formalismo-Forma 1. Also in 1947, Dorazio was awarded a scholarship to the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, where he spent a year and met Jean Arp, Georges Braque, Sonia Delaunay, Le Corbusier, Gino Severini, Antoine Pevsner, Georges Vantongerloo, and other prominent artists. In 1950 he helped organize the cooperative gallery of the Age d’Or group in Rome and Florence and in 1952 promoted the international foundation Origine in Rome, which published the periodical Arti Visive.
In 1953 he traveled to the United States, where he met Clement Greenberg, Frederick Kiesler, Franz Kline, Robert Motherwell, Mark Rothko, and gave his first solo exhibitions at the Wittenborn One-Wall Gallery and the Rose Fried Gallery in New York. After returning to Rome in 1954, Dorazio periodically visited Paris, London and Berlin, where he became a friend of Will Grohmann and the dealer Rudolf Springer. His book La fantasia dell’arte nella vita moderna appeared in 1955. He traveled to Switzerland, Spain, and Antibes in 1957, the year of his first solo show in Rome, at the Galleria La Tartaruga. From 1960 to 1969 he taught at the Graduate School of Fine Arts at the University of Pennsylvania and subsequently held many academic positions in the United States. He visited Greece, Africa and the Middle East in 1970 and in 1974 settled in Todi, Italy.
Among the several exhibitions of his work organized in Italy and in foreign countries are those at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris in 1979, at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo in 1979, and at the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea in Rome in 1983. He participated in major international shows, such as the Venice Biennale, where the artist exhibited in 1960, 1966, and 1988. During the following years he had private and public commissions such the creation of mosaics in the subway stations of Rome. Dorazio died in Perugia on May 17, 2005.