Born in Ortona in the Abruzzo region of Italy, Michele Cascella (1892-1989) was a painter, ceramist and lithographer. He first studied and trained under his father, Basilio, and had his first show at the age of 15. Cascella worked in several media including oil, pencil, pen and ink, inks with color, watercolor and textiles, with a primary focus on landscapes and portraiture.
He served in World War I, asking to be sent to the front so that he could move more freely and draw. Afterward, Cascella settled in Milan, dedicating himself to engravings and ceramics, and eventually rediscovering oil and watercolor painting. His seascapes, urban views and female portraits earned him an invitation to the Venice Biennial Exhibitions in 1942. Cascella visited New York for the first time in 1959 and soon began visiting the West Coast. He spent much of his time throughout the 1960s and 1970s living in Palo Alto, California, and in Tuscany, Italy. His collectors at the time included two U.S. Presidents, a California Supreme Court Justice, and then-governor Ronald Reagan.
Cascella's works have been exhibited in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Galleries of Modern Art in Brussels, Rome, Milan and Turin, and the Broletto Museum in Novara, among others. He died in Milan at the age of 96.