Published: May 27, 2003
LONDON – The Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art is staging “: Italian Divisionism 1885-1910,” at 39a Canonbury Square through September 7.
It is the first exhibition in the United Kingdom devoted to this major movement in Italian art and comprises some 44 works by the main protagonists of Divisionism. The works have been loaned by public and private collections in Italy and the exhibition is organized in conjunction with the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and supported by the Italian Cultural Institute, London.
Divisionism emerged in Italy at the end of the Nineteenth Century and its influence continued to be felt until around 1915. Strongly influenced by French Pointillism, developed a few years earlier by Georges Seurat and Paul Signac, Divisionist artists created an independent movement with a technique that was grounded in the division of tones into their component elements. Small dashes of pure color were placed next to one another on the canvas, rather than being mixed beforehand on the palette. Through this process, total unity was created in the eye of the viewer, avoiding the inevitable impurity of blended colors and resulting in works characterized by an intense luminosity.
The painter, theorist and dealer Vittore Grubicy de Dragon (1851-1920) played an important role within the movement not only by introducing Italian artists to its theoretical sources but also through the encouragement he gave them to pursue a revolutionary pictorial technique. The exhibition will include four of his paintings, “Hay Gathering,” 1889; “Nocturne at Scheveningen,” circa 1900; “The Gentleman’s Dawn” and “The Worker’s Dawn,” both dating from 1910.
Grubicy had a great influence on Giovanni Segantini (1858-1899) who was already experimenting with the Divisionist technique as early as 1886, the year in which Seurat presented “Un après midi à l’île de la Grand Jatte” at the last Impressionist exhibition.
The official debut of Divisionism is commonly identified with the First Triennale of the Accademia di Brera in Milan in 1891 in which Segantini took part together with Grubicy, Emilio Longoni, Angelo Morbelli and Giuseppe Pellizza da Volpedo, amongst others. In the present exhibition, Segantini will be represented by “At the Wool-winder,” charcoal on paper, 1891-93.
For information, estorickcol lection.com.
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