Valerio Adami was born in 1935 in Bologna, Italy. He received a rigorous training as a draughtsman in Achille Funi's studio at the Accademia di Brera, Milan, where he studied from 1951 to 1954. This provided the basis for his mature work. Before developing his characteristic contour line and flat surfaces, he experimented briefly with an expressionistic style that combined violent and humorous imagery inspired by the explosive forms in space favoured by Roberto Matta and by strip cartoonists. Typical of this phase is one of his earliest large canvases L'ora del sandwich.
Adami settled in Paris in 1957 but divided his time between France and Italy. In paintings such as Stanze a cannocchiale he began to develop a highly decorative idiom of stylized images outlined in black on a surface of interlocking areas of intense, unmodulated colour. His usual starting point was a photograph or several associated images, which he reworked, fragmented and presented in a schematic form. Occasionally his work borders on Surrealism.
Adami is a world renowned exponent of Pop art and one of the few continental artists to receive critical acclaim in this genre. Retrospectives of his work have been held in Paris, Valencia, Tel Aviv and Buenos Aires.