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.