Italian sculptor, born in Rovereto, South Tyrol. He was a lifelong friend of Lucio Fontana and, like him, practised abstraction in the 1930s, making links with the international Abstraction-Création group. His work at the time was far from the bombast of official Fascist art. The sculptures were in thinly cut sheet metal and wire. For Melotti art addressed ‘the intellect, not the senses’. He made sculpture based on systems of geometric proportion analogous to musical composition. When first shown in 1935 such work was poorly received and for a time Melotti's practice was confined to commissions for figurative sculpture. In the post-war period he at last achieved success and acclaim for work such as his Small Theatres, terracotta boxes, sometimes with figures, rather distanced from the austere impersonal approach he had advocated earlier in his career. From the 1960s onwards he made figures in wire mesh and cloth.
From A Dictionary of Modern and Contemporary Art in Oxford Reference.