Antonio Donghi was born in Rome on March 16, 1897 and died there on July 16, 1963. He attended the Royal Institute of Fine Arts in Rome. He graduated in 1916 and enlisted and sent to the front. Between 1919 and 1921 he went to Florence and Venice to study the art of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
His first exhibition took place in 1922, with participation in the Exhibition of the Società Amatori e Cultori. In 1923 he exhibited at the Roman Biennale. His first solo show in 1924, where he received positive reviews. Also in 1924 he took part in a collective exhibition at the Pesaro Gallery with De Chirico, Oppi, Tozzi and Casorati.
He is present at the traveling exhibition Exhibition of Modern Art organized by the Ministry of Education in 1926 and which touches the museums of New York, Boston, Washington, Chicago, San Francisco. In this year he declined the invitation to participate in the first Italian Novecento exhibition, while he was present at the second, held in 1929.
His solo show in New York at The New Gallery dates back to 1927. In these years his notoriety is consolidated and he participates in numerous exhibitions in Italian and foreign cities. Among the latter we remember Zurich, Pittsburgh, Madrid. In 1928 he was present at the Venice Biennale, in 1931 at the first Roman Quadrennial. In 1936 he obtained the chair of Figure drawn at the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome. In 1951 he was awarded the Michetti Prize. He dies at 66.
He is one of the greatest exponents of Magic Realism. From the beginning his painting has been marked by an icy fixity. In the 1920s he participated in the culture promoted by Plastic Values. Already in these years, critics clearly grasp some salient aspects of his work including the anti-rhetoric, the volumetric plastic quality and the executive accuracy.
Since the end of the decade, the artist has accentuated the sense of subtle irony that underlies his production. After the war he remains far from the quarrel that sees opposite abstractionism and figuration. His latest production, largely dedicated to landscapes, declines his style according to a naïve taste.
Among his first works we remember Via del Lavatore (1922), presented to Amateurs and Cultors. In 1923 he is Nude of a Woman where the mature style of the artist is already present. Presented at the Rome Biennale, it receives Cecchi’s perplexed criticisms. Also from 1923 is Laundresses. Carnival, one of the first masterpieces, dates back to 1924. Still from the 24th is The Fortune Teller.
In 1926, Donna at the window is ascribable. In 1927 he painted the Equestrian Circus and La Cocottina. It is a Convent from 1928. Women on the stairs dates back to 1929. In 1930 he composed Donna alla toeletta. In 1934 I am Self-portrait and Song. The juggler and Margaret (Gallery of Modern Art in Rome) date back to 1936. The swing was painted in 1941. Hunting for larks from 1942. Autostrada del Sole dates back to 1961, one of the best works of his latest production.