Aurelio De Felice

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Aurelio De Felice (b. Torre Orsina, Terni, Italy on October 29, 1915; d. Torre Orsina, Terni, Italy on June 14, 1996) was an Italian sculptor. He is considered one of the most important examples of the "anti 900" movement. His masterpieces are exhibited all around the world.


De Felice was born in Torre Orsina, a small town on the hills around Terni. Of humble origins, he began his studies in contrast with his family at the "Roman School" in the 1930s. He earned a degree at the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome, becoming a professor there. De Felice alternated lessons and artistic activity with many personal exhibitions. The most important in that period was the one in the Gallery of Rome, introduced by Renato Guttuso.

At the end of the Second World War, De Felice started to travel across Europe. In those years he exhibited in Switzerland, Germany and France, where he created, in Paris, on behalf of the "Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs", the “School of Italian Art”. There he met Pablo Picasso, Fernand Léger, Jean Cocteau, Kees van Dongen, Ossip Zadkine, Mark Tobey and Constantin Brâncuși. He did not allow himself to be involved in the big debate between realism and formalism in the 1950s, continuing on his own road.

In 1961 De Felice created the Institute of Arts in Terni. In those years he continued to exhibit all over Europe (Italy, Germany, Switzerland, France). In 1967 he was in charge of the Italian Institute of Culture in Hamburg and the Center of Italian Studies in Zurich.

In 1977 he was invited to Tokyo's Museum of Modern Art for a conference on Orneore Metelli, a "painter-shoemaker" from Terni, and father of the Naif Italian movement, whose art had become famous thanks to De Felice's work.

His last exhibition took place in 1982; after that, disease forced the sculptor to limit his activity. He spent the last years of his life in the quiet of his house on the hills of Torre Orsina, where he died on June 14, 1996.