Francesco del Drago was born in Rome in 1920, and from a very early age demonstrated an enormous interest in painting and the use of colour. Abandoning his law studies to devote himself to painting, he attended the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome from 1946 to 1950, whilst at the same time working with leading Italian artists such as Gino Severini and Giorgio Morandi.
Francesco del Drago moved to Paris in 1951, and there entered the various circles of artists working at the time in the city such as Edouard Pignon, Leon Gischia, Jean Dewasne, Fernand Leger and Pablo Picasso – ‘inheriting’ Picasso’s old studio in Montparnasse. In 1954, he exhibited at the Venice Biennale, and also followed Picasso to Vallauris in the South of France to collaborate with fellow artist Edouard Pignon. In 1955 he bought the studio of Maurice Estève at 66 Rue Lepic in Montmartre, and thereafter worked both in his Paris studio, and his Italian studio in Filacciano, twenty-five miles north of Rome.
By 1960, Francesco del Drago started to make intensive study of colour theory, writing over 30,000 pages on the topic, and over the years lecturing worldwide on his findings, including in Russia, China and the USA, as well as in Europe. “His results are the most advanced in contemporary art” (G. Macciarella), and would go on to influence the disciplines of graphics, advertising and cinema.
He exhibited at many Italian and European prestigious group exhibitions, having his first solo show at the Galleria del Secolo in Rome in 1955. In 2017 a major retrospective, ‘Palare con il colore’, was held at the Museo Carlo Bilotti located in the Orangery of the Villa Borgese in Rome. The exhibition was devoted to showing his later monumental abstract paintings demonstrating his theory on colour to great acclaim by Press and critics alike.
“He firmly believed that art should be a joyful experience, that it should convey happiness”. Elena del Drago.
Francesco del Drago died in 2011.