Davide Orler was born in Mezzano di Primiero near Trento on February 16th 1931. A self-taught artist, his interest in painting began as a boy together with his friend Riccardo Schweizer, six years his senior, who introduced him to the «difficult world of modern art», as the artist himself writes in the memoir-interview he compiled with Martino Rizzi.
In 1946, when he was only I5 years old, he left his native village for Venice, the city of his dreams. His stay there actually lasted only one week, but even this was enough to strengthen his intention to move there as soon as possible to devote himself to painting. At the age of 18, «to avoid the Alpine regiment, but also because I loved the sea», he enlisted in the navy, where he remainedior a year of training and all eight years of the enlistment period, until 1957. He served on minesmeepers and other craft patrolling Italian coastal waters, especially the Ionian Sea and the Straits of Messina. These years produced the first important landscapes of Mezzano, other landscape views influenced by the light and colors of the Mediterranean and intense works recording everyday characters and events (Stromboli, Vecchia siciliana), as well as accidents and tragedies which made a strong impression on the young artist (Terremoto a Salina, I1 recupero degli alluvionati a Salerno).
Perhaps as a result of this painful attention for the sorrows of mankind, the artist through a period of deep spirituval awakening, which drew him closer to religion and propelled him toward sacred art, an expressive theme which he developed in the years that followed. He focussed particularly on the figures in Ecce Homo and Cristo morto, before arriving at the consoling "visions" of the Old and New Testaments he has painted over the last ten years.
When his military service was over, in the autumn of 1957, Orler settled in Venice, where in March of the same year, he had held his first personal exhibition at the San Vidal gallery. His works immediately roused a certain amount of interest in the lively artistic environment of contemporary Venice, characterised by the rich Biennale, the presence of collectors and art patrons, such as Peggy Guggenheim, and the constant activity of galleries and associations like the Bevilacqua La Masa Foundation, where Orler's second exhibition was held in November. The artist exhibited 240 ceramic pieces, which he later repudiated, throwing them into the sea in an act of total rejection. However, the exhibition won him a four-year scholarship of a studio in Palazzo Carminati, where many of the most promising Venetian artists worked.
This may be defined as his “Picasso” period, as testified by the Collages of 1956, among many other works. In the summer of 1958, as a result of profound reflection, Orler changed his artistic language, attempting to contact his cultural roots to produce figurative art which balances a detailed, analytic description of the landscape and its inhabitants with a dream-like dimension in which reality takes on the colors of folktales.
In the autumn of 1958, Orler was invited to exhibit his new works at the Musée Picasso in Antibes by the curators. It was his opportunity to reveal his art to an international public and meet some of the greatest protagonists of the artistic and cultural life of the time, including Picasso himself; Germaine Richier, Jean Cocteau and Jacques Prévert.
For the twenty-seven-year-old painter, it was an extremely significant formative experience which confirmed his faith in himself and in his means of expression, enabling him to continue to paint with great enthusiasm and exhibit the fruits of his labour in a series of personal exhibitions in Venice, Novara, Vercelli, Brescia, at the Biennale d'Arte Sacra dell'Antoniano in Bologna, at the Biennale in Milan and the Quadriennale in Rome. Once the scholarship finished, Orler left his studio in Palazzo Carminati and, together with his brother, opened a shop supplying frames and canvases in Campo Santa Maria Mater Domini in 1962. The shop was soon a place for Venetian artists to meet and exchange works, and the Orler brothers became a point of reference for many painterfriends, whose works they began to collect and trade.
In 1963 Orler shared the Bevilacqua La Masa Foundation's First Prize for painting with Vincenzo Eulisse and on that occasion the Ca' Pesaro Gallery of Modern Art bought Funerale a Mezzano, a large picture he painted in the same year.
On a number of occasions, he returned to visit the South of Italy and particularly his beloved Sicily, going back to Palermo, Sciacca and Stromboli in 1964 and 1970. In 1965, an enthralling passion for Russian icon painting was kindled in Orler, which also led him to become a collector of the genre.
With this broadening of interest and change of direction, Orler continued to paint mainly for himself in his new studio in Favaro Veneto, with little regard for exhibitions and awards, and without aspiring to the national artistic limelight. Nevertheless, he kept producing as much as before, experimenting with various techniques, including: a renewal of collage from 1968-1972, with inserts of details from Byzantine and late medieval paintings in oil and acrylic pictures; assemblages with waste material in the early I970s (the Inquinamenti cycle); fresco decoration in churches in Transvaal in South Africa, (1972) and Tanzania, (1978); and finally iron sculitures at the end of the 1970s.
In the 1990's Orler found new creative zest with the cycle La Bibbia, a hundred or so paintings on themes from the Old and New Testaments, and the recent series of Miracoli.

Davide Orler Le stagioni Estate 1955 Tecnica Mista su tavola cm109,5X161

Davide Orler La casa di zia Giuliana e tabià dei Vetoreti 1963 Olio su tela cm70X100

Davide Orler Caino e Abele 1963 olio su tela cm170X200

Davide Orler Paesaggio sul mare 1971 Olio su stoffa cm50X70

Davide Orler Nello studio di Palazzo Carminati 1960
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