Francesco Di Cocco, born in Rome on July 1, 1900, from Florentine parents who moved to the capital for a few years, trained there, after his military engagement in Albania in 1918, starting a pictorial activity attentive above all to the futurist dynamism of Balla (imagine among other things a Rondini in volo, 1919 (repr. 5). He attends in particular Leonardo Castellani, then sculptor in Rome. Between 1922 and '23 he is in Paris. In those years he also deals with ceramics. In Rome he attends the " Third room ”of Caffè Aragno.
Towards the mid-twenties his pictorial orientationhowever, it is decidedly reconstructive, oriented towards dialogue with the museum, as evident in a committed painting such as Le nurses, c. 1924. (repr. 6) (currently at the National Gallery of Modern Art, Rome), which he exhibited in the Third Roman Biennale, in 1925.
His pictorial research has now matured in an evolutionary antithesis to the plastic certainties of the "neoclassicism" of the Roman "twentieth century", on the trail marked by the particular alternative pictorial path of Virgilio Guidi, connecting in fact to the problem of "tone", in a possibility of image substantiated chromatically in luminous breathing. And so he works dialectically within the young reality of what will be called the "Roman School", close to him then precisely Capogrossi and Cavalli (but then both Scipione and Mafai are also sensitive to that lineage).
In 1938 Di Cocco embarks for New York, where in the spring he holds a solo show in The Comet Art Gallery. And between the end of the same year and the beginning of 1939 he created murals for some stands designed by architect Andrea Busiri Vici, and for the restaurant, by architect Gustavo Pulitzer, in the Italian Pavilion of the 1939 World Fair.
At the end of 1938 he received a letter from the Roman Quadriennale in which, in the mentality of the new fascist laws of racial discrimination, he was asked to specify his race. He will recall: “I never replied to these letters or to other telegrams sent to me by the Quadriennale. I was never registered with the P.N.F. and, despite not being Jewish, that racist idea disgusted me a lot and I never went back to Italy during fascism ".
Particularly in 1967-68 he produced numerous sketches through which, from his own personal observatory, he closely participated in the "primary" and "minimalist" interests of the new North American sculpture, from Robert Morris to Donald Judd and Robert Grosvenor.
In New York he has a particular relationship with Claudio Cintoli, who soon precedes him in his return to Italy, which took place just beyond the middle of 1969, in Rome. Where he further develops his own minimalist plastic research, especially in terms of enriching chromatic shades, ending up by connecting that experience to the story of a "new painting".
Significant results of his last, however intense, creative season, increasingly solitary, still to be rediscovered and adequately evaluated, conclude the extensive anthology that Enrico Crispolti edited in 1984 in the Church of San Paolo in Macerata, for the Pinacoteca and Civic Museums. , drawing attention to the long overall path of his work, between Futurism and the "Roman School" (an important segment already re-proposed first and then also in significant historical reviews, but above all analytically then reconstructed in an important retrospective exhibition held in 1991 in the Galleria Arco Farnese, in Rome, entirely dedicated to his work between the two wars) (repr. 3), and between Surrealism, Informal, and Plastic Minimalism of pure color (territories to be better explored). But in the meantime Di Cocco took his own life in Rome on May 24, 1989.
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