(American, 1909–2008), most often associated with the Surrealist movement of the 1940s, was born in Milan, Italy. He studied economics at the Universita degli Studi in Pavia before moving to New York City in 1934, where he studied at the New School for Social Research and the Art Students’ League. In 1947, Donati helped to organize and contribute to the Exposition Internationale du Surréalisme in Paris. Following the decline of Surrealism in the late 1940s, Donati stayed current, and adapted to changing trends by using new materials and textures in his work. He grew interested in Abstract Expressionism in the 1950s, which involved painting in a manner that appeared random and accidental, while, in reality, was thoroughly planned.
A retrospective of Donati’s work was held in Brussels in 1961, and he was asked to exhibit at the Betty Parsons Gallery with other important Abstract Expressionist painters Mark Rothko
, Jackson Pollock
, and Barnett Newman
. This period of his career is the most exceptional and imaginative one.
Donati continued to work in the United States for the rest of his life, including teaching and lecturing at many prestigious institutions, such as Yale University, and painting in his New York studio.