Valerio Adami (Italian, b.1935) is a painter associated with the Pop Art movement and best known for depicting historical, mythological, and Surrealist scenes using stylized outlines and flat planes of color. Born in Bologna, he studied drawing at the Accademia di Brera before moving to Paris in 1955. Adami’s early work focuses on the ruins of buildings devastated by war, and his style was inspired by Expressionism and French Cloissonism, which enclosed flat planes of color in black outlines. In the 1970s, Adami began to include in his work imagery from politics, literature, music, and mythology. Several paintings depict a stylized representation of Sigmund Freud, such as his Sigmund Freud in Viaggio Verso Londra (1973), which is composed of rectangular planes of color. Although many of his paintings allude to European culture, Adami also produced paintings of seedy public locations, such as his Hotel Chelsea Bathroom (1968). Several well-known writers and philosophers have written about his work, including Jacques Derrida, Italo Calvino, and Octavio Paz. Adami’s work is held in several museum collections, including the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, the Museo d’Arte Moderna in Rome, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. He lives and works in London and Paris.


Valerio Adami was born on the 17th March in Italy. His first drawings in Milan were of ruins; the bombing raids and skies lit up by incendiary flares had left an enduring impression in his early years.
Makes his first trip to Paris where he meets Matta and Wilfredo Lam who become life-long friends.
Attends the Leo XIII Jesuit College in Milan. Begins painting at the studio of Felice Carena in Venice. Meets Ezra Pound and Oscar Kokoschka. Academy of Brera in Milan for 5 years.
Makes his first trip to London, where he meets Francis Bacon and William Scott.
Participates at the Italian Artists Exhibition at the Jewish Museum of New York.
Roland Penrose invites him to exhibit at the ICA in London. Marries Camilla. Meets regularly with Jim Dine and Richard Hamilton.
Invited to show his work at the Documenta III in Kassel.
Spends his winter in New York, taking up residence at the Chelsea Hotel. Hosted by Cuba, spends 3 months in Havana.
The Venice Biennale dedicates a room to his work. The catalogue includes a text by his friend Carlos Fuentes, Líneas para Adami. Features in Dada Surrealism and their Heritage at the MOMA in New York.
Stays in Caracas for a major one-man show at the Museo de Bellas Artes. Befriends Octavio Paz in Mexico City.
Retrospective at the Musée d’Art Moderne in Paris. Represented by Galerie Maeght in Paris.
Produces a full-length film Vacanze nel deserto, whose cast includes Camilla, Erró and Dino Buzzati. In Paris, befriends philosopher Jacques Derrida. Designs poster for Glas, which is to become an icon of deconstructionism. Derrida dedicates to his work the essay + R (pas dessus le marché).
First trip to India followed by a long journey through Scandinavia.
Spends a lengthy time in Mexico following an exhibition at the Museo de Arte Moderno in Mexico City. The Israel Museum hosts a retrospective. Spends the summer in Jerusalem. 1980 Takes up residence in the Principality of Monaco. Travels to Greece. Italo Calvino writes Quattro fiabe d’Esopo per Valerio Adami.
Major retrospective at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris. Stops dating his paintings.
The French State commissions a portrait of the composer Pierre Boulez. Also produces a large-scale fresco for the façade of the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris.
Major retrospective at the IVAM Centre Julio Gonzáles in Valencia. Octavio Paz writes La línea narrativa, dedicated to his work.
Makes four large wall paintings for the Park Hyatt Hotel in Tokyo designed by the architect Kenzo Tange. Has a one-man show at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art in Israel.
Retrospectives in Florence and in Bochum.
Inauguration of an exhibition at the Museo de Bellas Artes in Buenos Aires. An Italian edition of his notebooks is published. Sets up the Fondazione Europea del Disegno, in Meina, on Lake Maggiore.
Prepares the Opera stage for Der Fliegende Holländer by Richard Wagner. His book Dessiner. La gomme et le crayon, is published by Editions Galilée.
Makes two large wall paintings for the new Mandarin Hotel at Columbus Circus in New York.
Gives a series of lectures in France and Europe on Cézanne, in the painter’s studio in Aix-en-Provence; on Ferdinand Léger at Musée Chagall in Nice; on drawing at the University of Valencia.
Retrospective at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Lisbon.
French philosopher Michel Onfray writes Le chiffre de la peinture. L’œuvre de Valerio Adami.
Invited as ‘master of drawing’ to give a course on the metaphysics of the body during the Schwäbischer Kunstsommer in Irsee (Germany).
Public Collections
Musée National d’art Moderne/Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (France)
Collection de l’État Français
Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (France)
Musée d’Art Moderne de Grenoble (France)
Musée Cantini d’Art Moderne de Marseille (France)
Fondation Maeght, Saint Paul de Vence (France)
Musée de Strasbourg (France)
Musée d’Art Moderne, Saint-Etienne (France)
Musée Picasso, Antibes (France)
Museum of Modern Art, Minneapolis (U.S.A.)
Museum of Modern Art, Pittsburgh (U.S.A.)
Mc.Crory Corporation, New York (U.S.A.)
Museo de Arte Moderno, Caracas (Venezuela)
IVAM – Institut Valencià d’Art Modern, Valencia (Spain)
Fondacción Miro, Barcelona (Spain)
Musée des Beaux Arts, Brussels (Belgium)
Musée d’Art Moderne, Liège (Belgium)
Museum van Heedendaagse Kunst, Gand (Belgium)
Rotterdam Museum, Rotterdam (Holland)
Staatliche Graphische Sammlung, München (Germany)
Städtische Kunsthalle Mannheim, Mannheim (Germany)
Museo d’Arte Moderna, Rome (Italy)
Museo d’Arte Moderna Palazzo Reale, Milan (Italy)
Galleria d’Arte Moderna, Bergamo (Italy)
Museo d’Arte moderna, Lissone (Italy)
Amos Anderson Art Museum, Helsinki (Finland)
Maija and Urpo Lahtinen Foundation, Villa Urpo, Tampere (Finland)
Museum of Art, Tel Aviv (Israel)
Frissiras Museum, Athens (Greece)
Museo de Bellas Artes de Asturias, Oviedo (Spain)
Musée d’Art contemporaine, Montecarlo (Monaco)


Valerio Adami: Postlude, The Mayor Gallery, London, UK
Valerio Adami, Jusqu’ici, Galerie Daniel Templon, Paris, France
Adami d’après Adami, The Museum of Contemporary, Lisbon, Portugal
Galerie Marlbourough Madrid, Spain
Musée Nogueira da Silva, Braga, Portugal
Valerio Adami, Frissiras Museum, Athens, Greece
Valerio Adami : preludes et apres-ludes, Galerie Daniel Templon, Paris, France
Collective exhibition at Galerie Serge Laurent, Paris, France
Valerio Adami, Marlborough Gallery, New York, USA
Solo exhibitions at:
Galerie Forsblom in Helsinki, Finland
Galerie Marlborough in Monaco: Translation of his books at the Editions Galilée in Paris under the title 'Dessiner Exposition personnelle de dessins'
Galerie Marlborough in New York, USA
Galerie Serge Laurent in Paris, France
Retrospective at the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Buenos Aires, Argentina
Retrospective in Tel Aviv, Israel
Institute of Design, Foundation Adami : texts by Daniel Arasse, Luciano Berio, Jacques Derrida, Jacques Dupin, Carlos Funentes, etc. (éditions Skira, Milan)
Jacques Dupin, Carlos Funentes, etc. (éditions Skira, Milan)
Retrospective at Sienne, in the salles du Palazoo Publico and the Magazzini del Sale
Exhibition at Galerie Lelong in Paris, France
Retrospective at the Centre Julio-Gonzalez de Valence in Spain; preface by Octavo Paz
Paints Valmy, a monumental painting ordered for the bicentennial celebration of the French Revolution; as well as a large fresco dedicated to french music, from Debussy to Messiaen, for the Théâtre du Châelet in Paris, France
Paints two monumental pieces for the Gare d'Austerlitz in Paris, France
Retrospective at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, France; text by Dore Ashton, G.F. Lyotard and Alfred Pacquement
Valerio Adami, Fuji Television, Tokyo, Japan
Designs a poster for Glas de Jacques Derrida
Solo exhibition at L'ARC, Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, and at the Galerie Adrien-Maeght, where he will exhibit regularly. The catalogue is prefaced by Jacques Dupin.
Documenta III, Kassel, Germany
First solo exhibition in Milan, Italy


Valerio Adami : preludes et apres lude, Edouard Glissant, Editions Galerie Daniel Templon, Paris
Valerio Adami : Stanze Museo Villa de Cedri, Bellinzona
Adami : les couleurs et les mors, Editions du Cherche-Midi, Paris