Born in Venice in 1919 into a family of artisans-workers, he began to work as a self-taught person in the thirties. In 1942 he joined the anti-nineteenth-century movement Corrente. Anti-fascist, he participated in the Resistance between 1944 and 1945 and in 1946, in Milan, he was among the signatories of the manifesto “Oltre Guernica”. In the same year he was among the founders of the New Italian Secession and later Fronte Nuovo delle Arti.
He begins to exhibit in solo and group exhibitions since the forties, soon gaining international fame; the exhibition dedicated to him was held in 1951 at the Catherine Viviano Gallery in New York.
Starting from that of 1948, he participated in various editions of the Venice Biennale, an event where in 1952 a personal room was dedicated to him, in 1960 he received the Grand Prize for painting and in 1997 the Golden Lion for his career.
In 1954, at the II Biennial of Sao Paulo, he won the prize that would allow him to spend three months in Brazil, and in 1956 he received the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation Award for Italy.
In 1955 he was invited to Kassel for “documenta 1”, he participated in “II. documenta ", in 1964 for" documenta III "he presented the Absurdes Berliner Tagebuch ’64 and returned again to Kassel in 1982 for" documenta 7 ".