Jean - Luc Baroni Ltd

Filippo De Pesis


Filippo De Pesis

Ferrara 1896-1956 Milan

A Parisian Street Scene





Oil on canvas. Signed and dated: DE PISIS 1926.
61 x 46 cm (24 x 18 in.)

Provenance: Collection Manenté, Paris.

Literature: Giuliano Briganti, De Pisis, Catalogo generale, vol.1, opere 1908-1938, Milan 1991, p.97, under 1926, no.21.

This painting has a certificate from Mme. Bonnat de Mandriargue, the artist’s niece, confirming the authenticity of the work.

Native of Ferrara, De Pisis (meaning ‘from Pisa’ where he family originated), was christened Luigi Filippo Tibertelli. He came from highly cultured and sophisticated family. He was educated at home and pursued his interests in literature and science with dedication but from the age of 12, he considered himself to be an artist. Fascinated by botany and by butterflies he collected specimens and painted still lives. He drew in sketchbooks and kept diaries feverishly and as his writing developed he began to compose metaphysical poetry. De Pisis found a likeminded artistic compatriot in De Chirico who he met in 1916 and together with Carlo Carra, they formed a group which became known as the Scuola Metafisica. After interludes in Ferrara, Venice and Rome, he moved to Paris and found lodgings and a small studio. During this critical time in De Pisis’s life, his time was spent painting street scenes, such as the present one, still lives, and studies after the old masters, particularly Manet, Daumier and Delacroix. During De Chirico was a frequent companion and the pair gravitated towards the circles of intellectuals, artists and writers formed around James Joyce, Tristan Tzara, Jean Cocteau, Georges Braque, Picasso and Matisse. In the 1930s he made several trips to England and worked with Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant.

Guido Ballo in his monograph on the artist of 1968 describes how De Pisis, having made formative roots in Ferrara and Rome was able to benefit greatly from the more open atmosphere of Paris1. His street scenes became studies of light and of atmosphere; he greatly admired the works of Sisley and Pissaro. Ballo suggests that he also studied Cezanne but that at the heart of his artistic language lay the 18th century Venetians, and primarily Francesco Guardi. 1926 was a most productive and successful year for De Pisis and the Parisian views of this moment are particularly prized. It was the year that he had his first Paris exhibition, presented by De Chirico who stated in the catalogue: “De Pisis is not a naïf. He knows what he wants and what he is doing. Irony and astonishment combine in him to produce an extremely subtle lyricism”. Studies of the most famous monuments, the Eiffel Tour, the Invalides, Place de la Concorde and the Quai Voltaire, give way to a series of more intimate views of the city showing narrow streets, vanishing corners, small squares, courtyards and gardens as De Pisis found himself more drawn more deeply into the city’s life. He frequented the area around San Sulpice, dining with friends in the little restaurants and haunting the frescoes of Delacroix inside the church.

1. See Guido Ballo, De Pisis, Turin 1968, pp.181 and 191.

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