Toti Scialoja was born in 1914 and died in 1998.
    He was one of the protagonists of that long period of abstraction in Italy which, from the beginning of the 1950s, and differently from the New York school, continued to remain faithful to classical tradition. This is confirmed by Scialoja's close relationship with Afro, Birolli, Melotti, and Vedova as well as by his exchange of ideas with his American friends de Kooning and Motherwell.
    Among his early exhibitions particular mention should be made of the invitation, by Alfred J. Barr Jr. and James Thrall Soby, to take part in XX Century Italian Art, held in the New York Museum of Modern Art in 1949, and his presence in the 1950, 1952, and 1954 Venice Biennales. Having left behind his expressionist roots, typical of his expressive language from 1949 to 1954, in 1955 he created his first abstract paintings. His friendship with Afro, Burri and other internationally famous artists such as Calder, underlined the quality of a network of relationships which now placed him at the heart of the art avant-garde, and not only in Italy. In 1956 he passed some months in New York where he held a solo show in the Catherine Viviano Gallery. He then began to paint with a rag soaked in very liquid paint which he used to leave “impronte” or “imprints” on the canvas and to draw thin lines of colour. He showed these works for the first time in the Galleria La Salita in Rome in 1958.
    From 1960 to 1963 he lived in New York and then in Paris; it was here that he followed the lessons by Merleau-Ponty at the Sorbonne, which were fundamental for an understanding of the theoretical value of his “Impronte”, and where he exhibited in the Salon de Mai in 1962. On his return to Italy he was invited to hold a solo show in the 1964 Venice Biennale and, in the spring of 1966, he held a large-scale retrospective show in the Marlborough Gallery in Rome. At the end of the 1960s Scialoja began to insert patches of fabric into paintings which were later to make a great use of collage.
    In the 1970s he began to create compositions of sharp rectangular shapes and made geometrical abstraction, typical of the period, his own. In the early 1980s he abandoned the use of collage and started out on a new venture with large-scale canvases based on violent gestural marks. At the same time he was involved with literature and poetry as well as with his incessant activity as a stage designer.