* 1903 Abbiategrasso/Mailand
† 1978 Vaciago
After his first one-man exhibition in 1923 Antonio Calderara broke off his studies in engineering in 1925, which he had begun two years earlier at the Milan Polytechnicon. As an autodidact Calderara was a painter who experimented a great deal between the 1930s and late 1950s, attempting various different styles in a relatively short period of time. His oeuvre includes still life related to Morandi's quiet meditative style as well as landscapes and figurative scenes in an Impressionist style and portraits in the manner of the "Neue Sachlichkeit". Searching for his own artistic expression, the misty landscape of Lake Orta - where he lived for several decades - became his favourite subject. Gradually, in reaching a higher degree of abstraction in his Lake Orta landscapes, Calderara finally abandoned landscapes and architecture and discovered a completely abstract world in which reality is apparent only as a memory. According to the artist himself, he painted his first purely abstract work in 1959. From this period onwards he developed an abstract style in pastel colours, which is reminiscent of works by Albers. Based on the principle of the Golden Section, numbers and proportions were of great importance to Calderara. The artist called his geometric approach the "spazio mentale", "mental space". He differs from other Constructivists and "art concrète" artists in that he had no strictly radical concepts or colour schemes - despite all his systematics - but was partly guided by intuition. Calderara described his artistic intention with the words: "I want to paint nothingness, the void, which is the whole, silence, light, order, harmony. The infinite." Antonio Calderara lived in Milan and Vaciago until his death in 1978.