Where and when
SEVEN ARTISTS CONQUERING PARIS
Presentation of the book by Rachele Ferrario, in the presence of the author.
Introduced by: Sergio Risaliti, Artistic Director of the Museo Novecento
Seven Italians burst into Paris in the early twentieth century, the cultural capital of Europe: Giorgio de Chirico, his brother Alberto Savinio, Gino Severini, Mario Tozzi, Massimo Campigli, Renato Paresce and Filippo de Pisis. I’m Les Italiens de Paris; and soon they steal the show from the French who scornfully call them “metechi”. They found or contribute to found genres – metaphysics, futurism -, they innovated the avant-gardes, they met and clashed with Picasso, Matisse, Braque, Soutine, Utrillo and his mother Suzanne Valadon. And in the cafes they drink absinthe with a Jew from Livorno, Amedeo Modigliani.
Les Italiens arrive in Paris each on their own; but in 1928 they gathered around Tozzi for the group’s first major collective exhibition, arousing the admiration of colleagues and the annoyed criticism of detractors. For some time now, the French “academy” has been suspicious of all these foreign artists who are stealing the show from the French.
Les Italiens they are different from each other but share the identity of the classic and the same idea of a Mediterranean and metaphysical painting. After the avant-gardes, the artist must go back to being a master but also a man of thought, a modern intellectual as in the times of the Renaissance. Les Italiens are aware of this: by changing technique, they change style. This is why they are innovators.
Alongside them, René Paresce, in Paris since 1912, plays a role of intermediary with the culture of the Ecole de Paris, the great school that unites stateless painters in Paris. A mixture of traditions and lifestyles, René is the son of a socialist lawyer and editor of magazines from a large Sicilian family who moved to Florence, and of a Russian artist mother and noblewoman, he will marry a Bolshevik militant exile and friend of Trotsky. Paresce is stateless, but in Paris he will spend most of his life as a physicist, journalist and painter alongside Les Italiens, with whom he shares an extraordinary experience. His works and those of Tozzi, de Pisis, Campigli are also in the collection of the Museo Novecento, once belonged to Alberto della Ragione, an intelligent and visionary collector who between the two wars had a central role in supporting and protecting artists and in preserving the tradition of Italian painting.
She teaches Phenomenology of the Arts at the Academy of Fine Arts in Milan. Collaborator of “Corriere della Sera”, she has curated and organized exhibitions since 1998. She directs the René Paresce archive, for which she has compiled the general catalog and biography The writer who painted the atom. Life of René Paresce from Palermo to Paris. Among her latest books: Queen of paintings. Life and passions of Palma Bucarelli (2010), The ladies of art. Four Italian artists who changed the world (2012), Margherita Sarfatti. The queen of art in fascist Italy (2015) Oscar Mondadori edition (2018).