Curated by: Maria Luisa Pacelli, Barbara Guidi, Hélène Pinet
De Nittis, like Boldini, was a prominent figure on the late-nineteenth-century Parisian scene throughout his career, first as avant-garde exponent of the realist school in southern Italy, and later as a full-fledged part of the Parisian innovators with whom he shared interests in photography and Japanese art, fields that profoundly influenced his work.
As a landscape painter, he was as much a virtuoso at translating the dazzling light of his native land as he was of Île-de-France’s misty skies or the London fog. Yet he was also skilled at depicting a rapidly changing world and society, focusing his pictorial lens on cities in transformation, on street life, leisure, and the beau monde. After moving to the French capital in 1868, De Nittis came into contact with the major collectors and dealers, at the same time developing fundamental and productive relationships with his French colleagues, including Degas, Caillebotte, Manet, and Monet. With an approach that was at once sophisticated and enormously visually appealing, his art helped to renew dominant painterly aesthetics, able to answer the call of modernity without sacrificing a personal style with roots in his youth and fostered by his close relationship with his wife Léontine, his “manager” and favourite model.