AEREI CAPRONI IN VOLO, ca. 1933–34
b. 1908, Villarosa, Italy
d. 1978, Messina, Italy
Little is known about Giulio D’Anna’s early years; he grew up between Palermo and Partinico, then attended university in Messina. He never finished his studies, however, deciding to devote himself to painting after coming into contact with Sicilian futurists: Vittorio Corona, Pippo Rizzo, Antonio Varvaro, and Renato Guttuso. The first known painting of D’Anna is his 1928 Visual ebbrezza, in which two airplanes—squared and geometric in style—fly past a window frame. This marked the beginning of his commitment to Aeropittura, to which he would dedicate most of his career.
In 1931, D’Anna had his first exhibition at the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele III, and the show was visited by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, who encouraged D’Anna to take part in the national Futurist exhibitions. D’Anna was the first painter from Messina to exhibit at the Venice Biennale in 1934 and at the Quadrennial of Rome the following year, and garnered the first prize among the young artists at the Exhibition of Colonial Art in Paris. In 1959, Il Fondaco gallery gave D’Anna a retrospective of his career to date, and in 1965 he won the Palette d’Oro prize.