The first exhibition in the U S devoted to the artist is a major international
collaboration with the Pinacoteca Giuseppe De Nittis the City of Barletta, Italy
and the Region of Puglia with the Fondazione Pino Pascali
WASHINGTON, D.C.— The Phillips Collection is pleased to present the ﬁrst exhibition in the U.S. devoted to the work of Giuseppe De Nittis (1846–1884), an Italian painter whose career ﬂourished in Impressionist Paris in the 1870s and 1880s. The exhibition is organized by The Phillips Collection with the patronage of the Italian Ministry of Culture in collaboration with the Pinacoteca Giuseppe De Nittis, the City of Barletta, Italy, and the Region of Puglia with the Fondazione Pino Pascali. It unites 73 works from leading institutions and private collections in the U.S., France, and Italy, 32 of which are loans from the Pinacoteca De Nittis. An Italian Impressionist in Paris: Giuseppe De Nittis is on view November 12, 2022–February 12, 2023.
“Giuseppe De Nittis was a major figure in the Impressionism period but wasn’t heralded in the United States in the same way we think of Degas and Manet,” says Vradenburg Director and CEO Dorothy Kosinski. “Our exhibition shines a spotlight on his influential role on Impressionist art, which continues to engage and delight audiences.”
De Nittis was a central ﬁgure in the aesthetic and institutional upheavals of 1870s Paris soon after he arrived in the French capital from Naples in 1867 at the age of 21. He quickly earned a name for himself, and in 1874 Edgar Degas invited him to participate in the ﬁrst Impressionist exhibition, becoming the only Italian artist to do so. De Nittis marked out an independent path for himself that drew upon 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 of De Nittis and, in the case of Degas, a close mentor. The exhibition also presents new research about De Nittis’s friendships with Degas and Manet, and his early collaborations in Naples in 1872 and 1875 with a young Gustave Caillebotte.
“Largely overlooked, Giuseppe De Nittis was a major figure in the history of modernism and 19th- century European art,” says Guest Curator Renato Miracco, independent curator and Curator of the Pinacoteca Giuseppe De Nittis. “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, created to rediscover the artist and the links between him and his French colleagues, explores his close friendships with Degas, Manet and Caillebotte and firmly cements De Nittis as a missing and important piece in understanding Impressionism.”
In the 1870s, De Nittis was a pioneering chronicler of Paris’s resilience and reconstruction in the aftermath of the Franco-Prussian War, focusing on the streets, boulevards, squares, and parks that were not only home to the city’s haute bourgeoisie but symbols of French national pride. His urban scenes of Paris depict innovative arrangements and plein air subjects painted with a detailed realism that depicts a sophisticated and economically booming city—a choice unique to De Nittis’s work. De Nittis also spent time in London beginning in 1873, which allowed him to explore even more his lifelong interest in atmosphere and the rhythms of urban life in equally innovative compositions distinctive to the British metropolis. Paintings from all periods of De Nittis’s career will be featured along with additional works by Degas, Manet, and Caillebotte.
“The De Nittis exhibit at the Phillips Collection is a particularly meaningful initiative of very high artistic, historic and cultural value”, says H.E. Mariangela Zappia, Ambassador of Italy to the United States, “as recognized also by the patronage granted by the Italian Ministry of Culture. The Phillips Collection—America’s first museum of modern art—has decided to put on the first presentation in this country devoted to this Italian impressionist painter in the year that marks one century since its institution/creation/opening to the public. I find that this initiative is a perfect testimony to the long-standing friendship between Italy and the United States and the unremitting work of both countries to strengthen our bond through art and culture.”
An Italian Impressionist in Paris: Giuseppe De Nittis is organized by The Phillips Collection with the patronage of the Italian Ministry of Culture in collaboration with the Pinacoteca Giuseppe De Nittis, the City of Barletta, Italy and the Region of Puglia with the Fondazione Pino Pascali; additional support is provided by the Embassy of Italy, Washington, D.C. and the Italian Cultural Institute, Washington, D.C.
Generously supported by the Ednah Root Foundation and Martha Johnston and Robert Coonrod
Made possible by The Phillips Collection’s Exhibitions Endowment Fund, which is generously supported by the Sherman Fairchild Foundation, Michelle and Glenn Engelmann, Robert and Debra Drumheller, and The Marion F. Goldin Charitable Fund
Exhibition Curator: Professor Renato Miracco, independent curator and Curator of the Pinacoteca Giuseppe De Nittis (Barletta, Italy), with Dr. Susan Behrends Frank, Curator, The Phillips Collection.
A 250-page catalogue published by The Phillips Collection with support from the Embassy of Italy in Washington, D.C. and the Italian Cultural Institute in Washington, D.C. accompanies the exhibition with essays by the exhibition curator Renato Miracco, independent curator Marina Ferretti Bocquillon, and Professor Robert Jensen (University of Kentucky). A chronology on the life of the artist is included in the publication. This is the first English language publication on the artist.
High-resolution press images are available upon request. Please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
IMAGE: Giuseppe De Nittis, Breakfast in the Garden, 1884, Oil on canvas, 81 x 117 cm, Pinacoteca Giuseppe De Nittis, Barletta, Italy.
ABOUT THE PHILLIPS COLLECTION
The Phillips Collection, America’s first museum of modern art, was founded in 1921. The museum houses one of the world’s most celebrated Impressionist and American modern art collections and continues to grow its collection with important contemporary voices. Its distinctive building combines extensive new galleries with the former home of its founder, Duncan Phillips. The Phillips’s impact spreads nationally and internationally through its diverse and experimental special exhibitions and events, including its award- winning education programs for educators, students, and adults; renowned Phillips Music series; and dynamic art and wellness and Phillips after 5 events. The museum contributes to global dialogues with events like Conversations with Artists and Artists of Conscience. The Phillips Collection values its community partnership with THEARC—the museum’s satellite campus in Southeast DC. The Phillips Collection is a private, non-government museum, supported primarily by donations.
ABOUT PINACOTECA GIUSEPPE DE NITTIS
In 1913, Léontine Gruvelle De Nittis, the artist’s widow, bequeathed nearly two hundred of De Nittis’s paintings and drawings, as well as more than one hundred fifty books and archival documents to the City of Barletta, the artist’s hometown on the Adriatic Sea in southeastern Italy in the Region of Puglia. Her bequest was unprecedented in the Italian and European context of the time. When the De Nittis collection arrived in Barletta in 1914, it was housed in temporary locations until 2006. It finally found a suitable and permanent home in 2007 in the prestigious Palazzo della Marra, an elegant and now restored Baroque palace. This significant collection is comprised of those works that were most personal to De Nittis and that he did not wish to sell. A new installation of the artist’s work at the Pinacoteca in 2019 by Curator Renato Miracco has given increased emphasis to this Italian artist’s international role within the panorama of European nineteenth-century art.
ABOUT THE FONDAZIONE PINO PASCALI
The Fondazione Pino Pascali is dedicated to the legacy of its namesake who was an important postwar artist. Pascali (1935-1968) was born in Bari, the capital of the Region of Puglia. He is associated with Postminimalism and was a pioneer in the 1960s of the Italian Arte Povera movement. In 1998, thirty years after his accidental death at the age of thirty-two, the artist’s family established the Museo Pino Pascali with works and memorabilia of the artist. The museum was transformed in 2010 into the Fondazione Pino Pascali, which is shared by the Region of Puglia and the Municipality of Polignano a Mare, a town located on the Adriatic Sea between Bari and Brindisi, two of the main cities of Puglia. The current location of the Fondazione Museo Pino Pascali is a restored former municipal slaughterhouse overlooking the sea. The Fondazione not only exhibits the work of its namesake, but also shows the works of other important Apulian artists and those who win the Pino Pascali Prize.
ABOUT THE REGION OF PUGLIA
The territory of Puglia is a long, narrow peninsula that is the heel of Italy’s boot. This Southern Italian region is bordered by the Ionian and Adriatic Seas and possesses one of the most important and historically stratified cultural heritages that are broadly European, rather than Italian. Many prehistoric archaeological sites exist in the region, some dating back 250,000 years. Originally inhabited by an Illyric population, the region was always a strategic area for Mediterranean peoples and since early times was colonized by the Greeks and then the Romans in the 4th century. It is a land where ancient peoples and a succession of conquerors have left their traces in innumerable monuments throughout the territory. Today one finds not only castles and towns like Lecce with its baroque splendor, but also rich culinary traditions and important museums like the Pinacoteca Giuseppe De Nittis and the contemporary Fondazione Pino Pascali. To preserve all of this is the responsibility of the Cultural Office of the Puglia Region.
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