Antonio Fontanesi and his inheritance. From Pellizza da Volpedo to Burri.

10/03/2019 - 14/07/2019

Antonio Fontanesi and his inheritance. From Pellizza da Volpedo to Burri.

Reggio Emilia celebrates Antonio Fontanesi 200 years after his birth.
It devotes to the artist of Reggio, suspended between romantic and modern, and to his artistic heirs, a great retrospective exhibition at "Musei Civici".

“Happy is the artist who is born after being dead” Antonio Fontanesi confides to one of his pupils.
The exhibition “Antonio Fontanesi and his inheritance. From Pellizza da Volpedo to Burri”, that Reggio Emilia proposes from 6th April to 14th July at “Palazzo dei musei”, 200 years after the birth of the artist, is the history of an artistic “resurrection”.

Virginia Bertone, Elisabetta Farioli and Claudio Spadoni, curators of the exhibition, aim indeed at guiding the public to the discovery of this protagonist of the Italian and European 19th century painting and at documenting Antonio Fontanesi’s luck after his death. The influence that his painting had in the artists who recognise themselves in his particular approach to the nature and to the landscape, but also the suggestive “pass down” of the romantic experience that the critics found in the ‘50s art.
He was an unparalleled interpreter of the innovative landscape of his time, a restless man and a pioneering experimenter in the art. He was one of the most closely participants in the European romantic movement, his artistic inheritance goes on to the 20th century, cradle of modernity, and is legible up to the end of the short century.
The exhibition is promoted by Musei Civici of Reggio Emilia, with “Fondazione Musei-Galleria d’arte moderna” and the Modern art gallery Ricci Oddi of Piacenza; it is realised in partnership with Emilia-Romagna- “Istituto per I beni artistici culturali e naturali, Fondazione Manodori, Destinazione Turistica Emilia, Unioncamere Emilia-Romagna, Camera di Commercio di Reggio Emilia, Apt Servizi, Art Bonus di Car Server, Credem, Iren”.
Inside the exhibition, Antonio Fontanesi’s paintings from important museums and Italian collections, will be compared to the works of the artist that the critics linked to his production, identifying some possible inspirational motives in a chronological period which goes from the ‘80s of the 19th century to the ‘60s of the 20th century.
The relationship with the symbolist and pointillist culture through the works of Vittore Grubicy, Leonardo Bistolfi, Giuseppe Pellizza da Volpedo, Angelo Morbelli will be documented, but also his resumption in the ‘20s carried out by Carlo Carrà, Felice Casorati, Arturo Tosi.
The last section will be dedicated to the interesting critic interpretation of the ‘50s by Roberto Longhi and then by Francesco Arcangeli. This one in fact, in finding a continuity between the modern conception of art and the huge 19th century tradiction, includes Fontanesi in the evolution of a naturalism which after the war reaches Ennio Morlotti, Mattia Moreni, Pompilio Mandelli down to the tactile researches of Alberto Burri.

the incipit of the exhibition is dedicated “to the darkest hour” of Antonio Fontanesi’s life, the unsuccessful exhibition in Turin in 1880 of the big painting “Le Nubi”, pictorial testament where there is all his commitment. The last years of his life (he died in Turin in 1882) are disappointed by incomprehension and difficulties.
1)”L’ALBA DI FONTANESI: 1901, BIENNALE DI VENEZIA” is the title of the first section; his great rediscovery by the critics and the public in occasion of the exhibition dedicated to him at “Biennale Veneziana” in 1901, at the same time of the publication by his pupil Marco Calderini, precious instrument of knowledge of his art evolution and of the complex events in his life.
In the great central wing on the top floor of Palazzo dei musei, this section gives back the entire journey of his painting, through masterpieces of his art already exposed in Venice and now recovered from important museums and Italian collections.
After the trip to Paris in 1855, he definitely abandoned “Vedutismo” and the painting of the years in Switzerland, and he begins his personal research of the truth and “the sentiment of the nature”. if in “La quiete” are still explicit the references to Corot, in the ‘60s his research is more complex towards light/shadow, in symbolic key too as in “Altacomba” and in the adoption of a freer pictorial language which transforms his landscapes in a dramatic dimension (“Bufera imminente”).
The second section (with works by Giuseppe Pellizza da Volpedo, Vittore Grubicy de Dragon, Angelo Morbelli) shows how the first to notice his renovated actuality were the artists in the ‘90s. Vittore Grubicy confirms his interest also through his activity as a critics, Giuseppe Pellizza da Volpedo sketches “Novembre” in his copy of the catalogue of the “Promotrice Torinese” in 1892, Angelo Morbelli affirms that the “division of the colour” was practised for science by Fontanesi.
They identify him as the forerunner of the “Divisionist” technique, with the conception of the landscape as a feeling.
Carlo Carrà finds in his art the concepts of “number”, “order”, “measure”, the same formula which Felice Casorati will adopt as heraldic motto for his art. In the works exposed in this section, the descent of Fontanesi is not direct, but it is possible to track a common climate of affection, interests and affinity.
Carrà dedicates to the artist some writings, Casorati founds in Turin the “Società di belle arti Antonio Fontanesi”, Arturo Tosi is a collector of the artist and follower in the emotional approach to the painting of the landscape.
“an exhibition of Fontanesi near Corot would be the only one that will last” Roberto Longhi writes to the Secretary of the “Biennale di Venezia” in preparation of the edition of 1928 where his works will be near Enrico Reycend, Lorenzo Delleani, Vittorio Avondo, from Piemonte.
Near them there will be also the works of the principal artists of the last “arcangeliano” naturalism (Pompilio Mandelli, Ennio Morlotti, Mattia Moreni, Sergio Romiti).
“Sacco” by Alberto Burri 1953 ends the exhibition (property of the modern art gallery of Turin).
DETAILS: in the 4 principal sections, there are two illuminated display which allow to follow the biography of Fontanesi and the complex geography of his movements, the steps of his re-evaluation after his death.
There is also the presentation of the chain of paintings for “Caffè degli Svizzeri”, realised by the artist between 1845 and 1847, before leaving Reggio Emilia (now property of the Fondazione Manodori) and “A Parella”, one of Fontanesi masterpieces (Collection Giusppe Ricci Oddi).

The exhibition will be at Palazzo dei Musei, Via Spallanzani 1 Reggio Emilia and it will be open from Tuesday to Friday from 10 am to 1pm, Saturday, Sunday and festives from 10am to 7pm with special openings in the Easter period.