It is with great pleasure and heartfelt emotion that we open this exhibition, Les Italiens à Paris – de Boldini à Severini (1870 – 1930).

The idea was born some years ago when the Bottegantica gallery gained a reputation as the definitive reference point in Italy for nineteenth century painting. At the same time, the Maurizio Nobile gallery opened a branch in Paris. Plans, however, were halted for some time with previously-organised projects, as well as numerous international exhibitions and many events in both galleries. It is only now that this idea so close to our hearts has been realized.

The opportunity became clear this year: alongside the Salon du Dessin and the international popularity of the French capital, it seemed to us the most opportune moment to hold this wonderful exhibition.

The challenge was a big one. Transporting – and in many cases, bringing back – Italian nineteenth century painters to Paris meant focusing attention on a profound and talented group of artists whose legacy is woven – even blurred – with the great history of European painting.

At the period, everyone was going to Paris, and everyone was drawn by the innovation offered by the Ville Lumière. Such vibrant innovation and avant-garde creativity welded with the Italian tradition and was supported by other Italians: it reached marvelous and emotional heights and this exhibition aims, even in part, to recognize that.

For obvious reasons we were forced to make certain decisions under time constraints, and paying careful attention to both artists and works. We couldn’t miss Boldini out – known as the portraitist of women who knew how to create a fantastical female universe, unforgettable even today – as well as Corcos, with a work from a private collection that until today has only been known of by the public via painted photographs and engravings. Nor could we not include Mancini, attentive narrator of a more hidden and densely evocative reality, as well as Zandomeneghi, refined interpreter of the movements of the soul, and finally, the glorious Gino Severini, considered “the most French of the Italians.”

We sincerely thank Stefano Bosi from Bottegantica for drafting the catalogue; work he has pursued with passion and intelligence, offering collectors and admirers a critical dialogue replete both with forensic detail and intellectual curiosity on both the works and the artists.

The coordination of the exhibition and the gallery space was the work of the staff of our host, the Maurizio Nobile gallery.

Maurizio Nobile
Galleria Maurizio Nobile

Enzo Savoia