Tunis, 1909 – Rome, 2004
Born in Tunis to Italian parents in 1909, he entered the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Tunis in 1928, where he was taught by Armand Vergeaud, a pupil of Gustave Moreau and disciple of Matisse, Dufy and Rouault. After his initial artistic training in Tunis and several years spent in Florence, Paris, Milan and Tunis, he settled definitively in Rome in 1945.
A friend of Gino Severini, Giulio Turcato, Pietro Consagra, Piero Dorazio and Achille Perilli, he worked in the studio provided by Renato Guttuso. In 1946, he participated in the Neo-cubist group’s exhibition at the Galleria del Secolo in Rome, with Guttuso and Turcato among others. The ideas of the Neo-Cubists later led to the Fronte Nuovo delle Arti, of which Corpora was an active supporter; the group was invited by Lionello Venturi to the 1948 Venice Biennale. Numerous awards and important museum acquisitions were made in these years.
In 1952, the Gruppo degli Otto (Afro, Renato Birolli, Antonio Corpora, Mattia Moreni, Ennio Morlotti, Giuseppe Santomaso, Giulio Turcato and Emilio Vedova) was founded as a continuation of the non-figurative oriented artists of the Fronte Nuovo delle Art. The group – presented by the critic Venturi at the Venice Biennale of the same year – made the experience of the Cubists, Expressionists and Abstractionists its own.
In the 1950s and 1960s, Corpora’s exhibition activity became intense, while his Cubist language opened up towards European ‘informel’, gradually abandoning the construction of geometric forms. The colour tones became darker, the objects tended to break down to a total identification of form and colour.
The 1970s and 1980s testified an increasing freedom of expression and the use of techniques such as dripping or watercolour. In 1987, the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna in Rome dedicated a retrospective exhibition to him, followed the following year by the Gallerie dell’Accademia in Venice. In 2003, on the nomination of the Accademia Nazionale di San Luca, the then President of the Republic Ciampi awarded him the National Prize ‘President of the Republic’. He died in 2004 in Rome.