Dorazio began painting shortly after World War II. His first works were influenced by Cubism and show a knowledge of the work of artists in Rome who were at that time engaged in the figurative renewal of Italian art.
However, the influence of Futurist works and his acquaintance with the Russian avant-garde and De Stijl led Dorazio to adopt an abstract idiom.
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In 1947, with Giulio Turcato, Pietro Consagra, Carla Accardi, Ugo Attardi (b 1923), Antonio Sanfilippo (1923–80), Mino Guerrini (b 1927) and Achille Perilli (b 1927), he founded the FORMA group, declaring himself to be a ‘formalist’ and to have the aim of creating ‘objective abstract forms’ in which ‘the form is both the means and the end’.