ORAZI' : Paintings from Travels to Mexico


The artist stayed in Mexico in 1955 and 1956 to 1957. His travels, especially the route from Mexty to Acapulco, inspired a series of paintings that show the fascination that these places have exerted on his imagination.

These works were exhibited in December 1957 in Paris, on his return to France, at the Galerie Vendôme.

They convthe majesty of Mexican nature, with its vast uninhabited spaces, hills and valleys, rivers, and especially the biological force of trees, which rise isolated or in dense formations.

In the series of paintings dedicated to Mexico these major subjects accompany the images of fascinating characters, as well as small hamlets and their villagers, peasants at work, riders and their horses.

This set of images offer today’s onlooker striking atmospheres, a whole world of natural and human environments that by now have almost disappeared, which makes them even more culturally and sociologically precious.

All these paintings about thirty-five are still available today, as they have been preserved by the family of the artist in his Parisian workshop.


From this large group of paintings, about forty are still available today as they have been preserved by the artist’s family in his Parisian studio.


For a more in-depth look at the life and artistic work of this Painter, see his Biography by clicking here.

For the press and literature concerning the Pictorial Period on Mexico, see the section Chronology and then Cycle du Mexique on this web site.



A photograph taken during the vernissage of the exhibition at the Galerie Vendôme, with the artist and the Ambassador of Mexico in France
Mr Torres Bodet.
  The exhibition of paintings from trips to Mexico, Paris, November 1957, at the Galerie Vendôme: the invitation to the exhibition.
The Ambassador of Mexico in France Mr Torres Bodet was present at the opening Vernissage.

Paintings from Travels to Mexico

This is the Mexican landscape visible in the photograph taken during the vernissage of the Parisian exhibition, in 1957, with the artist and the Ambassador of Mexico in France
Mr Torres Bodet.
Paysage Mexicain. 72 x 100 centimeters.

Jeune Femme Mexicaine. 80 x 60 centimeters.

Le châle. Portrait de Femme Mexicaine.
80 x 60 centimeters.

Maison Solitaire. 54 x 81 centimeters.

Petite église bleue dans les arbres. 60 x 82 centimeters

Paysage Mexicain aux couleurs fortes. 60 x 80 centimeters.

Mexicain à cheval à l'orée d'une forêt. 92 x 72 centimeters.

Mexicain à cheval à l'orée d'une forêt. 92 x 72 centimeters.

Marché au Mexique. Acapulco. 73 x 115 centimeters.

Paysage Mexicain avec Rivière. 64 x 92 centimeters.

Maison jaune à l'ombre de grands arbres. 60 x 80 centimeters.

Paysage Ocre. 81 x 66 centimeters.

Paysage Mexicain avec Chevaux. 65 x 100 centimeters.

Bois sombre et cabane rouge. 70 x 60 centimeters.

Paysage boisé avec un petit cheval. 59 x 91 centimeters.

Chevalier Mexicain au repos. 72 x 60 centimeters.

La Main. 81 x 65 centimeters.

Paysan Mexicain. 80 x 65 centimeters.

Paysan à la serpe. 92 x 74 centimeters.

Paysan Mexicain. Portrait aux couleurs fortes. 72 x 60 centimetres.

Paysage arboré, arbre noir. 130 x 160 centimetres.

Feu de camp dans la forêt. 140 x 100 centimetres.

Paysage aride et cortine de montagnes. 72 x 92 centimetres.

Nature fascinante. 60 x 82 centimetres.

La mer. 100 x 90 centimetres.

Un Paysage Silencieux. 80 x 60 centimetres.

Rivière et montagnes. 92 x 65 centimetres.

Paysage Majestueux. 92 x 65 centimetres.

Jeune Paisan et son Chapeau. 90 x 70 centimeters.

Cavaliers. 53 x 72 centimeters.

Adolescent Mexicain. 72 x 54 centimetres.

Paysan, profil. 60 x 50 centimetres.

Jeune transporteur d'eau. 65 x 46 centimetres.

Transporteur d'eau. 61 x 38 centimetres.

Une paysanne au travail. 60 x 38 centimetres.

Paysanne dans sa maison. 60 x 38 centimetres.

Paysan sur fond rouge. 80 x 65 centimetres.

Paysan avec un petit cochon dans ses bras. 90 x 70 centimetres.

Arbres. Entrée Interdite. 73 x 50 centimeters.



ORAZI' (1906-1979) is noted for his exceptional creative talent, his vast and solid culture, for his authentic humanistic formation enrooted in the refined atmosphere of the European culture at the beginning of the 20th century, as well as for his knowledgeable technique in the fields of Art History and Painting.

   Cultivated in the fields of Classical Studies and Literature,  ancient aesthetics, history,  history of philosophy and music (in his youth he is also pianist and composer), he applies himself to the study of painting starting from secondary school: this cultural heritage will be the basis for all his future experiences.  Art and painting will be his vocation, his passion, his unique  profession for life, just as the French art critic, Hélène Parmelin, will underline it in her Homage to Orazi, written for his 1980 post-mortem exposition in the “Gallery 222”, in Paris: «How shall we speak about this unforgettable lord-friend? How can we express the vitality of his intelligence…painter –“the very very painter”- (peintrissime in the French version). The only passion that  tortured him, carried him away is…the painting. Just one adventure made demands on him,  the  painting. Painting was his way of life, his master and his torturer. His questioning and his breathing.».


The name he will adopt along his career will be, simply, ORAZI'. A name deriving straight from the Roman Antiquity; a name represented in the artistic field since the 17th century by a series of personalities originating from central Italy to the hearth of France.


He was in Venice towards the end of the twenties, in this international and fascinating environment marked by such artists as Filippo De Pisis and Leonardo Dudreville: he is well integrated in this milieu  where Dudreville draws a splendid portrait of him in 1927. One is certain that he attended the Biennale in 1934.

   He is always moving, eager as he is to discover new artistic experiences, however he is settled in Paris since 1932.

At the same time he works in Milan. Works from this first pictorial period, kept in Milanese public collections, show that he is becoming popular: for example, the portrait in memory of Mrs. Teresa Vanoni Viglezio’s charitable activities was commissioned to him in 1936 by the artistic foundation of the “Ospedale Maggiore”, and the portrait of Totò Grugnola, in 1937 by the “Trivulzio” foundation, engaged in supporting young artists, that credited him with the considerable sum of 2.400 Lire of that time. In 1935 he participates in Rome at the second manifestation of the “Quadriennale d’Arte Nazionale”: his contribution is documented by the painting Sieste or Jeune femme qui repose avec son chat, dating from 1934, bought in 1935 and currently exhibited at the “Modern Art Gallery” of Udine.


  In Paris he installed his Atelier in the quarter Montparnasse. He will keep this last address, as it is documented at least since1938, until the end of his life.

He participates in this intense intellectual life which saw this quarter as the meeting and starting point of  new artistic ideas from the twenties.  In 1938, he exhibits at the Deuxième Salon des Jeunes Artistes, that was held in the Gallery “de Paris”, Faubourg Saint-Honoré.  Soon after the Liberation, after the years of anti-fascist struggling, he is among the artists of the new-born annual exhibition  Salon de Mai, organised at the Gallery “Maurs” at first and after that at the Gallery “Arts” in the Faubourg Saint-honoré . He will steadily exhibit in the Faubourg until his death at the salons of the “Palais de Tokyo”, becoming one of its historical members.

The works of this period - from 1935 to 1948 approximately -, still lives, landscapes, portraits, compositions, clearly make the distinctive elements of his painting come out. Painting characterised not only by its ties with the Historic Avant-gardes, but also with the great names of the French Post-Impressionist Art.

   In his portraits and landscapes, the line swiftly distils the forms, the colour takes a prominent place in the physical representation: they already prepare for the informal period.  It can be noticed, for example, in the Mediterranean landscape, from 1950, defined by the tonalities of pink, which resembles a painting published in 1953 by the most important French artistic and cultural review of that time, Les Lettres Françaises.


Starting from the end of the forties, his artistic career sees an autonomous and certainly very original development, attested by his Painting of Movement (approximately 1948-1956) whose dynamic and plastic effects arouse a noteworthy interest in the press at the time. ORAZI is noticed for his painting Corrida presented in Paris at the 1949 “Salon de Mai”: the Parisian review Les Lettres Françaises, through the art critic Jean-Pierre (Pietri), publishes the article «ORAZI’s Works Express Life». Two paintings of Movement are reproduced, and his next exhibition at the Salon d’Automne is announced. Some passages of this article are significant: «through a construction based on spirals…thanks to a rational, dynamic or static, repartition  of the colours, and  according to the circumstances, ORAZI forces the glance to follow on the painting a path to eternity that is the path to the creation and  development of movement... the movement means passion for him… the painting moves.».He stands out once more in 1950 at the Salon de Mai with the painting Rome Open City, which recalls the confrontation between the population of Rome and the Nazis during the liberation days, and arouses the idea of the 1945 film of the same title directed by Roberto Rossellini. The review Les Lettres Françaises reproduces this painting in a large scale and links ORAZI’s name to Pignon’s who will become, as a matter of fact, one of his lifelong best friends. The plastic intensity of this work of art, once again, recalls the attention of the critic Jean-Pierre, who describes ORAZI as «the unique fresco painter capable of approaching the great historical painting. His work offers us new elements: the movement and the sense of the human group.». And effectively, it is thanks to the interventions of the artistic critic of  the time that this pictorial period will be named Painting of  Movement. The strength of the colour, expression of life as well as of human gesture, the representation of movement in its evolution characterise the Painting of Movement, as in the tempera The Footballeurs. The Painting of Movement will be enriched with characters of the circus –clowns, circus riders, ballet dancers-, a group of paintings (often tempera) exhibited at his  personal exhibition at the “ Bernheim Gallery” in Paris in 1954

   In the framework of this pictorial experience, fascinating historic battles and military representations will also be covered, among which some of them were exhibited at the 1955 “Salon de Mai” in Paris, and in Milan at the “L’Annunciata” Gallery in 1959.


ORAZI' never abandoned the passion for landscape, physical evidence of the power of a changeable nature on earth.  During those years, other searches will drive him to far away regions where the landscape is still untouched, where man still follows an ancestral tradition and ancient rhythms: Sardinia and Mexico.  These stays, where he practises photography, his other skill, last from 1953 to 1957 and end up in two series of paintings filled with extraordinary atmospheres.  A series of paintings from theCycle on  Sardinia  has been recently bought by the Commune of Gavoi in Barbagia.  The paintings of the Cycle on Mexico were exhibited in 1957 at the  “Vendôme Gallery” in Paris.

   Once more the passion for landscape brings ORAZI' back to Paris. A changing city, Paris, which, in the name of modernity, at times violent, sees some of his historical features disappearing. The paintings of the Parisian Cycle, striking and melancholy in their essentiality, develop from there: views of Montparnasse where big blocks of houses and small streets as well as shattered residences of artists are pictured, but above all, the banks of the Seine with its new quarters topped by building sites, dense with cranes whose vertical lines clash with the lines of the anchored houseboats, symbols of the past. Some of these paintings exhibited in 1959 at the Gallery “L’Annunciata” in Milan, already announce ORAZI’s break  away from the classic figurative experience.

   In fact, from the end of the fifties, ORAZI’s painting turns resolutely towards the Informal dimension; a dimension in which his sensibility for the colour finds a fascinating expression. In this pictorial context stands,  in 1961, his personal exhibition at the “Gallery 7” in Paris that was praised by the critics.

However,  since the end of the fifties, another search, once again enrooted in his need to work on plasticity, dominates the creativity of this Artist, an experience that will bring outstanding results: the Painting of Matter, or Painting in Relief.

The works of this phase were exhibited at several “Salon de Mai” in Paris and even in Tokyo, as well as in many other exhibitions, among which we must emphasize the 1966 personal presentation at the Gallery “du Passeur” in Paris.  Nature –its elements, its forms, its phenomena- is always at the base of this search.  The form comes out of the frame of the painting and the colour contributes to its definition; the material and the relief are supporting the colour.  The critic of the time is very positive, as expressed in an article written by Raoul-Jean Moulin: «…the painter tests the stone, the plant, the air, the light….Natural matters, harsh and restless, streams of eruptive  lava, petrified meteorites…moments of the formations of the universe.»; or as in Georges Boudaille’s: «The material  rises sometimes like the earth’s crust sometimes like flowers petals, forms proliferate to the point of leaving the painting to invade space…there are lands, but also volcanic lava, tree barks, rocks, mountains.». It is a period of great intellectual intensity (approximately 1958-1968) that fully reveals ORAZI’s amazing imagination as well as his mastery of techniques and his passion for colour.

   Often the series of the Paintings in Relief, in This Artist, attests a strong tendency for the circular definition of  forms which allows one to get a glimpse of what would be his final manner of painting, the Circular Line (1969-1977): it is synonymous with the last years of his life, the years of weakness when the Painting of Matter maybe requires too much effort. Now there is no reference to the powerful and even convulsive sight of  natural manifestations anymore, but only to the other dimension of our universe, its harmony, the birth and the rhythms of its planets, the vastness of its firmaments, represented by rich and tender colours,  violent and supple at the same time.

   It is on this pictorial period that the 1980 exhibition focused and for which the critic Hélène Parmelin proposed her Homage to ORAZI, cited above: in her writing she presents the personality of this solitary Artist who choose to stay away from the ephemeral jet set, «never envious, never embittered, in his proud natural citadel of painting.». These traits are described in ORAZI’s last writing, a short metaphysical tale, beyond  time and  circumstances, published in 1974 by the Parisian editor Christian Bourgeois:  the cover displays the image of the main character of the book which belongs to a group of paintings from the Circular Line where striking “Landscape-Heads” appear.

   The landscape is a dimension that continues to be essential for the Artist and always reappears in his paintings from his youth to his final experimentation, till his death: now in the few paintings left from this last period, the earth is perceived in the essence of its forms and colours, through its generosity and its tenderness.

Francesco Negri Arnoldi, Art Historian in Rome