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Antonio Scialoja was born in Rome on December 16, 1914. In the late 1930s he joined the artistic and literary circles of the Galleria La Cometa. Having given up his law studies in 1937, he devoted himself entirely to painting and produced his first Expressionist paintings, in which his use of thick textural brushstrokes was clearly influenced by French painting, in particular Soutine. In 1939 he exhibited at the third Quadriennale of Rome and in 1941 had a private show at the Società Amici dell’Arte in Turin. The following year he took part in a group show at the Galleria Lo Zodiaco in Rome, along with Emilio Vedova, Giulio Turcato, and Leoncillo Leonardi. He was actively involved in the Resistance, and he worked for the theater, designing his first stage sets in 1943.
At the end of the war, along with the artists Stradone, Ciarrocchi, and Sadun, he founded the group “I quattro fuori strada”. During the late 1940s he went to Paris, where he became increasingly immersed in European artistic culture; this environment strongly affected his investigation into tone and Neo-Cubism. In the 1950s Scialoja gradually broke free from Expressionism, turning to Analytical Cubism and then to abstraction. His contacts with the group Origine, who were against the decorative aspects of abstract art, together with his trip to the U.S. in 1956, where he met the protagonists of American Abstract Expressionism, pushed the artist to thoroughly explore color, texture, and gestural painting.
His first Impronte date back to 1957; in these works traces of deposited color are printed from one surface onto the other, and onto diverse materials ranging from paper to canvas. Meanwhile Scialoja toock part in important national and international shows; in 1960 he moved first to New York and then from 1961 to 1963 to Paris. Back in Italy he exhibited in the 1964 Venice Biennale. His artistic production ceased for a prolonged period during the 1970s, and he only resumed painting in 1983. Scialoja was also a poet, writer, and set designer. He taught at the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome and served as its director for many years. He died in Rome on March 1, 1998.