Raymond Moretti was a French painter born in Nice, 1931 to Italian parents who fled the Fascist Italy of Mussolini. His father was a Tuscan carpenter and anarchist and his mother an Umbrian cleaning lady.
In 1947 he painted ‘Moses breaking the Tablets of the Law’ which is now in the Museum of the University of Jerusalem.
Jazz was an important part of the artist’s life, and Moretti painted his first important work to the sound of Count Basie playing on a hand-wound phonograph. Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong and Thelonious Monk all posed for him. The 1960s’ saw the publication of Moretti Verve, a series of twelve LPs recorded by the greatest names of Jazz, the covers illustrated by the painter have now become collectors’ items.
He had been an illustrator of literary magazines for around twenty years. It was in the early 60s’ he first met Pablo Picasso who he became greatly influenced by but they also became great friends.
In 1962 Moretti collaborated with Jean Cocteau and together they painted many watercolours and oils on the theme of the Age of Aquarius. On 4 October 1967 La Courneuve held an exhibition of Moretti’s entire work to much acclaim.
The artist continued to exhibit throughout his life right up until his last exhibition in December 2004 at the Age du Verseau gallery in Paris where he showed 16 tableaus to illustrate Paul Valery’s poem.
On 2 June 2005 Moretti died of a pulmonary embolism in Paris.