The Italian painter Afro Basaldella, known simply as Afro, is best known for his calligraphic, abstract work from the 1950s. As a wave of painting called Art Informel (“formless” art, named for loose shapes and compositions lacking a central focal point) swept Europe and regional circles of modern artists proliferated, Afro joined the short-lived painters circle Gruppo degli otto (“group of eight”). Over the course of this decade, he exhibited in New York, struck up a friendship with Willem de Kooning, and drew influence from the bold style and energetic brushwork of other Abstract Expressionists. Afro’s late works are characterized by flattened geometric forms, a stark contrast to his earlier gestural paintings. Early in his career he was affiliated with the “Scuola Romano” (“school of Rome”), a group of Italian Expressionist artists active in Rome before World War II.