Sculpture, wax on plaster, made by Medardo Rosso in 1917 on the model of the first of the same series dating back to 1883-1884. The work is part of the large number of variants of the Portinaia made with the same technique. Our version comes from the collection of Gustavo Sforni, a refined collector and amateur painter who in 1917 bought three works directly from the author, including ours, The sale of Portinaia is attested by two letters from Sforni addressed to Rosso, one written in December of 1917 and the other in February 1918.
Of Daumierian memory in its human truth, the almost grotesque profile of the woman with her chin buried in her chest, the Concierge however manages to elude the anecdotality with a more daring treatment of the surface, which breaks and recomposes itself in the facets of a pictorial modeling. of a disheveled matrix capable of making it a living and palpitating material, elusive to the gaze of the user who now appears physiognomy now shapeless mass. The layer of wax, resting on the hollow plaster shell, acts as a ductile membrane that seems to melt in contact with the atmosphere, imprisoning the sensation of an ephemeral moment of existence still in continuous evolution. Rosso's is a naive vision, which deliberately ignores any aesthetic canon or a priori knowledge to shape a fleeting impression without filters. Better than bronze, wax, in the peculiar use that Rosso makes of it from the beginning, allows that interpenetration between figure and environment that places the artist among the precursors of contemporary language on the threshold of Futurism, fatally reported by Umberto Boccioni as "only great modern sculptor ". A turning point, La Portinaia starts the gradual overcoming of naturalism towards that abstraction that characterizes the later developments of Rosso's research, from Madame x (1896) to Ecce Puer (1906), where every narrative is rejected in favor of a daring synthesis which reduces physicality to an evocative poetic hint.
In October 1906 Gino Severini arrived in Paris. He has no support, has little command of the language and has no money, but his stay in the city is sustained by such enthusiasm as to alleviate the urgent worries of daily subsistence. Severini quickly enters into a relationship with the lively Parisian artistic and cultural environment. Introduced by Amedeo Modigliani he begins to frequent the Lapine Agile, weaving links with the numerous artists and poets who gravitated around the famous cabaret.
The self-portrait in pastel, affectionately dedicated on the front to his friend Baldo "one of a few brothers in the struggle and aspirations", is accompanied by an autograph dating to 1908 which is supposed
on purpose later, at the same time as the donation to Baldo. Severini depicts himself thin, with a cigarette hanging from the corner of his mouth and an indolent gaze, at a time in his life when “things were pretty bad, and so was…. health left something to be desired ". An economic, physical and psychological condition, which accompanies the first glimpses of the Parisian stay. Severini's appearance in ours appears very different from those of the previous three self-portraits where he represents himself with an elegant, absorbed, brilliant, sly, confident and imperturbable tone. In ours, the physiognomy is sketched with a nervous and synthetic gesture, which detects the lights with icy yellows and pure whites, identifies the semitones with warm oranges and impalpable pinks, defines the shadows with acid greens and dark blues. The blue of the melancholy eyes echoes in the hint of a jacket, bouncing off the vibrant coal hair of prussia and cobalt. Crossed by sparse traces of ocher, the neutral background breathes the same sad mood of the face, immersing it in an atmosphere with a symbolist flavor.
Signer in 1910 of the Manifesto of Futurist Painters and of the Technical Manifesto of Futurist Painting, Luigi Russolo was present in 1912 at the first Parisian Futurist collective at the Bernheim-Jeune Gallery. In 1915 he enlisted as a volunteer in the war. In December 1917 he was seriously injured in the head, undergoing a long hospitalization. The resumption of artistic activity after the tragic experience at the front is guided by a firm intention to revise the analytical process, decomposing and dynamic, emblematic of the futurist phase, in favor of a "broad, broad and synthetic plastic vision". The rehearsals of the Twenties, therefore, are characterized by the short, broken, impetuous brushstroke and by the bright and violent contrasts typical of Futurist canvases and by an unprecedented volumetric component on which that emotional and introspective tension is grafted more than ever evident in the self-portraits. The whole work then reverberates the lively feeling of a musician devoted to experimentation, as well as the interest, always cultivated, for the occult sciences and oriental philosophies.
Self -portrait , datable between 1920 and 1925, denotes Russolo's predisposition to instant graphic rendering, without second thoughts, which determined his success as an engraver. The intersection of signs is exalted in a network of angry lashes of coal, superimposed on the more fluid pictorial texture of sanguine and pastel to mark the shadow areas and baste the undisciplined hair. The vehement treatment of the surfaces identifies a harsh monochrome, emphasized by the disharmonious interference of the black and red pencil textures that describe a hallucinated physiognomy. With an impetuous, rough and essential workmanship, the sharp and suffering face floats on the sheet as if suspended in a void of the soul. The ferociously inquiring gaze, altered, though proud and attentive, scrutinizes itself with merciless sincerity, lingering on the sunken eye sockets and expression lines, sketching the rest.
On the back of the work two charcoal sketches: a hint of a face and a more complete nude study, substantiated by a soft and sinuous pictorial drawing that delicately caresses the model's curves.
Vallon à Volpedo is part of Giuseppe Pellizza's conspicuous landscape production of the early twentieth century. The painting is set on the red foliage of the chestnut tree moved by the wind, which organizes the space by cradling the gaze between the soft slopes and the central plateau to direct it in depth, where it is lost beyond the short horizon. A small figure of a peasant woman, bending over the path that descends irregularly to the right among the vegetation, is barely discernible in the purple shade, merged into the landscape of which she is an inseparable part as well as the leaves and branches, rocks and shrubs, in peaceful harmony with the cyclical and inevitable flow of the seasons. Pellizza uses a warm palette to recreate the seductive hues of an advanced October, lit however by the cold blue of the sky streaked with white clouds in a daring game of dissonances. The shattered brushstroke punctuates the earth with green and orange transparencies, modulating the backlight effects to simulate the vibration of the foliage, while at the top it suggests the movements of the crisp air with lilac and turquoise notches that chase and overlap in a mosaic of pulsating light . Pellizza achieves in the painting the coveted synthesis between the solid structure of the whole, meditated to the truth with the constant exercise of the drawing, and the absolute mobility of the lights, which does not undo the volumes but confirms them, achieved with a divisionism capable of overcoming any rigidity and evoke a lyrical, dreamy and enchanted world, beyond appearances.
Umberto Boccioni meets Gino Severini and begins with him to attend Giacomo Balla's studio, who transmits his unconditional love for nature to the students by introducing them to the practice en plein air, essential to better grasp the infinite chromatic and luminous variations offered by the landscape in every season. In Campagna Padovana, a work in which Balla's lesson is already boldly reworked in a personal key, the chromatic fabric is structured in impasto areas enlivened by overlapping sparse and coarse notches of pure and anti-naturalistic hues, which give the whole an expressionist flavor . Organized on the diagonals of the vertiginous perspective escapes that break on a fifth of bare rows and a single cottage, silhouetted against the icy rainy sky, Campagna Padovana returns a dynamic and articulated panorama, albeit totally uninhabited, in which the gaze has no respite, continually urged to wander among iced cobalt stems and branches to get lost in the vastness of the ocher field teeming with blue and azure. The divided brushstroke, repeated, fast and lively, is multiform and changeable, as Pellizza preached, regularized in minute dashes in the only, distant construction, where the play of complementaries becomes more daring.
Long lost, known through a period photograph found in its author's archive, the painting is included in 1995 in the general catalog raisonné of Vittore Grubicy edited by Sergio Rebora, a publication that makes it possible to make a fruitful comparison with the two versions already inventoried. in the Archives of Divisionism.
Ours, known as A Fiumelatte from the railway underpass, dated 1887 - 1910, differs from the twins due to the presence of the tunnel entrance, which builds an asymmetrical frame of dense shadow beyond which the limpid landscape is revealed, freeing the eye on the peaceful expanse of the lake to the opposite shore where the distant boats stand out white. The integration, of sure impact, is the result of an intervention following the first draft, which has enlarged the surface with three fabric inserts on the upper, lower and right sides, to include the structure of the arch and a larger portion of the lawn. down.
The practice of review and rectification is a peculiarity of Grubicy.
“Staring at a canvas or a drawing I drew years ago in the given place, after brief moments I can find myself in the same place and at the same moment in which I was first impressed; so that I do nothing but continue to copy what I had seen and traced years ago in that place ”, it is therefore not a question of overdoing it; but precisely to intensify; and the individual contributions are spontaneously inserted into the organism of the picture, because they are not additions but developments
In Fiumelatte from the Ferrovia underpass the rigorous simplicity of the composition, balanced by means of the happy agreement of the high horizon with the regular curve of the arch and the serpentine line of the slender green stem, is mitigated by the typical Grub Ician divisionism, which weaves a dense chromatic texture of minute brushstrokes able to shape an ethereal luminosity with rosy reflections. The form disintegrates into a dust-like vibration, and the view takes on the abstract consistency of a dream, of a memory that has survived oblivion. A village between Lierna and Varenna whose name derives from the stream that crosses it - as impetuous as a white waterfall - Fiumelatte is a place much loved by Grubicy.
The canvas belonged to Pompeo Rivalta, doctor of Grubicy, who is dedicated to the dedication on the front. As evidenced by the correspondence between the two from 1911 to 1920, the year of the painter's death, Grubicy is linked to Rivalta by a relationship of esteem and friendship, often crowned by the gift of works of art, his own and others, which progressively enrich the personal collection.
Exhibited at the first solo show of Sexto Canegallo set up in April 1920 in the foyer of the Argentina Theater in Rome, the painting belongs to the series entitled "Environmental Psychology", and is described in the catalog as a "Panorama of an industrial landscape with a bridge and watercourse, and interior of a steel workshop completed by the effects of electric arc lamps. Summary of lively and fast vibrations ”.
Vibrante tells the fervent activity of a factory through a suggestive play of interior and exterior with a surreal flavor, emphasized by the presence of small events that unfold in the lower band of the canvas starting from the couple of workers emerging on the far right between fiery flashes and shadows vigorous, intent near a cauldron from which a luminous and flickering material of alchemical memory emerges: below, dark silhouettes stop in front of the throbbing crucibles, scattered everywhere, while a row of four figures pull a heavy load, creating a diversion of diagonals, and others are gathered in a compact group, restoring stability. The horizontal layout is emphasized by the hatching of the brushstroke that regularly alternates the primary colors overlapping with men and things, with the scenario of severe buildings illuminated in ocher and the high fence that glimpses in the distance. A sequence of bright point-like elements, irradiated like suns, mark the rhythm of the composition, simulating the enchantment of an artificial starry night.
Canegallo's avant-garde conception is part of a path that from Neo-Impressionism leads to Futurism passing through Symbolism, the totalizing geometrization incorporates the reasons of light, form and color, the line does not break up the mass in motion, but acts as a superficial interference capable of identifying an incorporeal, mental space.
In the work, supported by the vitality of a Divisionism still quivering with warmth and energy, Canegallo's taste for narration is perceptible.
The painting is one of the most important among those known to date by Pietro Mangarini - a very active painter in the Roman scene. Dated 1906, The blue vase depicts a bourgeois interior in which a graceful female figure sits, leaning against a table set for breakfast. The two teacups and the hint of an empty chair make one think of a diner who has recently moved away, leaving the woman to her thoughts, or perhaps her readings. Caught in three quarters, with her beautiful head bent and her arm raised to cover her torso, the young woman has the lightness of an apparition in the soft backlight of the veranda flooded by a diaphanous light. The rich compartment on the right responds to the incorporeal girl, isolated on the left in front of the monochrome background, flickering of white matter capable of highlighting the soft purple hairstyle and small red lips, where the decorative abundance extends from the motif to sinuous floral geometries of the tablecloth to the stylized leaves of the slender tree beyond the open window, weaving a sophisticated exchange between natural and artificial peculiar to the liberty language. The palette is played on cold shades that decline every nuance of turquoise, mauve and cobalt down to white, and all are condensed in the chromatic rise of the vase, soaring from the exact center of the composition to welcome flowers with swollen corollas sprinkled with yellow , the only warm note, in a contrast of intense luminous effect.
In contact with the fervent environment of artists and intellectuals who at the beginning of the century animated Genoa and the whole of Liguria, opening it to recent national and foreign innovations, Cornelio Geranzani approached Divisionism around 1907 immediately reaching original results. In the years immediately following Geranzani conducts his divisionism in the direction of geometric abstraction, characterizing it with a coarse pointillism that progressively becomes pure decorative code, in a pictorial ensemble now reduced to a two-dimensional mosaic. The lumino, ascribable to 1910, is one of the major results of this first production still linked to Divisionism, which the artist has neglected since 1916 for a return to volumes close to the twentieth century. The painting attempts an imitation of the propagation phenomena of electric light in an urban context. The pivot of the composition is the circumference of the lit lantern, from which the weft of the signs departs with a centrifugal trend to invade the surface of the canvas simulating the expansion of the light beams. The structural rigor, aided by the choice of an intrinsically regular view and the chromatic synthesis, able to enhance the potential of the combination of primary colors, make Il lampione one of the cornerstones of the Genoese's painting, which arrives at a vision that is both rational and impactful expressionistically.
The painting can be dated to around 1916. Structured along essential lines, the composition is cleverly designed to create a narrow spatiality that confines the solitary female figure in a sort of prison, real and metaphorical. The woman acts as a link between inside and outside. Silhouetted against the light the profile of the young woman, framed by the austere collected hairstyle, communicates the poignant melancholy of a daily housewife consumed in the prolonged waiting for a return that perhaps will not happen. The theme of a desired return of the men committed to the front is here freed from sentimentality and rhetorical excesses, supported instead by an objectifying simplification based on a rigorous design. The geometric schematization, exasperated by the robust latticework of the windows, is however mitigated by the chromatic system, which makes the most of the potential of a free and intuitive pointillism. With The Long Wait Guerello recovers the introspective tension that qualifies him as a talented portrait painter.
Medieval motif dates back to an intermediate period of the artist's activity, a mature phase in which, assimilated and elaborated in a personal key the Ranzonian and Cremonian model, he omits the truth in favor of literary contents full of lyricism, with a visionary atmosphere. and nostalgic, characterized by an unscrupulous use of color and sign not far from the contemporary experiments of Gaetano Previati, with whom until 1885 he shared the Milanese atelier in Corso Venezia proceeding in significant commonality of intent. Set on the inclined structure of the shaft on the left, under whose branches a seated girl entertains a group of happy young people accompanying the lively story with sweeping gestures of the delicate arms, the painting plays on complementary contrasts capable of radiating the entire surface with light. To the violet note, which dominates the tree and the dresses of the listening girls, is contrasted by the vibrant yellow, dotted with white, of the sun-drenched field, while from the green of the thin filament grass, which rests in the half-light, stands out the red for the clothes and hats of the pages. Solutions not far from those used in No. 317 of the Galleria d'Arte Moderna in Milan, on display at the first Triennale di Brera in 1891 and harshly criticized for the crudeness of the subject addressed without any pietism - two orphans in front of a tomb - and for the approximation of the painting that it still seems to be in an embryonic state. If the brushstroke of the lawn of N.317, thin and broken, is comparable to that used in I novellieri, in the latter the formal and chromatic synthesis is however much more extreme, to return not a real image but the inconsistency of an apparition of the mind, emphasized by the languid poses and slow movements of the figures, graceful and vague as illusions emerging from a remote and idyllic past.
The pastel is one of the final cartoons for the Crucifixion made in 1897 by Emilio Longoni in the Piatti chapel of the Velate Vecchio cemetery in Varese. Striking in the imposing Longonian fresco are the splendid figures of Mary of Nazareth, Mary of Cleopas and Mary Magdalene, represented at the foot of the cross according to the story of the Gospel of John. The three women are performed with the naturalistic tension that distinguishes the painter's contemporary orientation - at that time still devoted to social issues before the turning point of the landscape at the end of the century. If Mary mother of Jesus and Mary of Cleopas, compostly kneeling and closed in the austere dark cloaks that conceal the body, are characterized by the painful mimicry of the faces, Mary Magdalene, abandoned on the ground in the sober light dress, with the long undone golden hair , hides his face almost entirely, letting the dramatic pose speak of his torment.
Among the numerous preparatory studies for the Crucifixion stand out the three pastels for the individual Marys exhibited at the Terza Triennale di Brera in 1897, which met with great critical and public success. Longoni himself mentions the works in the concise biographical notes, underlining the personal value of his research also in the religious field and claiming an interpretative autonomy not subject to iconographic constraints of any kind: “I have a crucifixion commissioned for a mortuary chapel. They like "le Marie". However, it seems that I was unable to instill a mystical ideality in them, since the Priests do not like them. Their pain is too human. (Liturgical Art lessons given to me by a Priest, which I find right, but they do not correspond to my sentiment) ".
Among the highest achievements of the artist's production in the graphic field, the pastel for Mary Magdalene at the foot of the cross differs from the transposition to fresco for the widespread use of a Divisionist filament, of previatesca matrix, which informs the ethereal background of grass and sky.
Other works on display