About Enrico Donati

Enrico Donati photo
Enrico Donati

Enrico Donati studied economics in Pavia, Italy before turning his attention to avant-garde music and ultimately painting in Paris, in the early 1930s at the École de la rue de Berri. There, the young Donati discovered the Surrealists and knew his destiny. Also discovered the sacred artifacts of the Native Americans in a museum in Paris. Determined to learn more about them and their ways, he traveled to the American Southwest and Canadian Northwest, living and trading with the people and learning their myths, before returning to Paris.

In 1939, moved his young family to New York to escape the growing threat of war in Europe. Held his first exhibition at the New School of Social Research, where André Breton, leader of the Surrealist Movement, saw the work and immediately embraced it. Recognized as a new voice for Surrealism, the young artist found himself welcomed into the melange of expatriate and American artists at the center of the New York art scene. He helped Marcel Duchamp organize the Exposition Internationale du Surréalisme in 1947 at the Galerie Maeght in Paris. Created the sculptural "moonscape" paintings and later the "fossil" series, which became extraordinarly successful throughout the 1950s through the early 60s, at Betty Parsons Gallery during the height of the Abstract Expressionist movement. While his visual language continued to evolve throughout the rest of his career, he always thought of himself as a Surrealist. A solo exhibition was held at the San Francisco DeYoung Museum of Art in 2007. Passed away in 2008 at his home in Manhattan at the age of 99.