De Nittis: Italian Verism and Impressionism

Washington D.C will host the first exhibition in the United States dedicated to the work of Giuseppe De Nittis (1846-1884), a forgotten Italian painter from Puglia whose career flourished in the Impressionist-era Paris between 1870 and 1880.

“His untimely death at only 38 years old has left him unrecognized as one of the impressionist masters of his time. His friends will accompany him in this once in a lifetime exhibition of these works.” Renato Miracco, curator of the exhibition

Nov. 12 to Feb. 12, 2023. “An Italian Impressionist in Paris: Giuseppe De Nittis” in Washington, D.C. at the Phillips Collection

This exhibition is organized by the Phillips Collection under the patronage of the Italian Ministry of Culture and in collaboration with the Pinacoteca De Nittis (De Nittis Art Gallery) in Barletta, the Region of Puglia and the Pino Pascali Foundation. It will bring together 73 works from prestigious institutions and private collections in the United States, France and Italy, 32 of which belong to the De Nittis Art Gallery.

“This will be one of the biggest art events this fall in the US and a once in a lifetime chance.” Dorothy Kosinski

Giuseppe De Nittis was a major figure of Impressionism, although he is not as well known in the United States as Degas and Manet,” explains Dorothy Kosinski, Vradenburg director and CEO of the Phillips Collection. “Our exhibition shines a spotlight on the influential role De Nittis played in Impressionist art, which continues to engage and delight audiences.”

Having arrived in Paris from Naples in 1867, at only 21 years of age, De Nittis was among the leading figures in the aesthetic and institutional upheavals of 1870s Paris. He quickly gained a reputation as a great artist, and in 1874 Edgar Degas invited him – the only Italian artist – to participate in the first Impressionist exhibition in history. From here De Nittis charted an autonomous course that drew on the aesthetic sensibilities of the Salon as well as the modern compositional strategies of more progressive artists such as Edgar Degas and Edouard Manet, both of whom were friends and, in Degas’ case, a close mentor. The exhibition also focuses on the latter, presenting new insights on his friendships with the pair, as well as his early collaborations in Naples in 1872 and 1875 with a young Gustave Caillebotte.

“Too long neglected, Giuseppe De Nittis was a major figure in the history of modernism and 19th-century European art,” says Renato Miracco, independent curator and curator of the Giuseppe De Nittis Picture Gallery.  “He was a model for a generation of European painters and an innovator who drew inspiration from the artistic landscape of his time. This exhibition, designed to rediscover the artist and the links between him and his French colleagues, explores close friendships with Degas, Manet and Caillebotte and firmly solidifies De Nittis’ role as a missing and fundamental piece in understanding Impressionism.”

In the 1870s, in the aftermath of the Franco-Prussian War, De Nittis was a pioneering chronicler of the resilience and reconstruction of Paris by focusing on streets, avenues, squares and parks that were not only home to the city’s upper middle class, but also symbols of national pride of French culture. His urban scenes of Paris are composed of innovative compositions and plein-air subjects painted with detailed realism depicting a sophisticated and economically booming city.

Beginning in 1873 De Nittis also spent time in London, which allowed him to explore even more of his interest in the atmosphere and rhythms of urban life in equally innovative compositions typical of the British metropolis.

All periods of De Nittis’ career will be represented in this exhibition, which Italian Ambassador Mariangela Zappia called “particularly significant and of the highest artistic, historical and cultural value,” all the more so because it falls in the year in which the museum celebrates a century since its opening, “America’s first museum of modern art.” For Ambassador Zappia, the exhibition is also “a perfect testament to the long-standing friendship between Italy and the United States and the relentless work of both countries to strengthen our bond through art and culture.”

This important exhibition benefits from the support of the Italian Embassy and the Italian Cultural Institute in Washington DC and is accompanied by a catalog, all the more valuable because it is the first English-language publication on the artist. Apart from the overdue and prestigious recognition of such a master, this exhibition also highlights the beauty and culture of Puglia, a must-visit destination for visitors who love nature, beaches, history, great food and art.

Opere De Nittis

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.