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Gaetano Previati


Children with Fruit Baskets

1916

Maternity

n.d.
 


Gaetano Previati was born in Ferrara, Italy, on August 31, 1852. After studying drawing and painting at the Civico Ateneo, Ferrara, between 1873 and 1876 he served his military service in Livorno. In the autumn of 1876 he spent a few months in Florence as an apprentice for Amos Cassioli and in 1877 he enrolled at the Accademia di Brera, where he took lessons with Giuseppe Bertini. Two years later he was awarded the prize of the Fondazione Canonica.
Previati settled permanently in Milan in 1881 and got involved in the intellectual circles of the Scapigliati. He showed his work in Turin (1884) and Milan (1886, 1887, 1889), and in 1889 he established a lasting personal and professional relationship with the art dealer Alberto Grubicy, with whom he would sign a contract in 1899. In 1891 he entered the Milan Triennale and his success in this exhibition availed him an invitation to the Salon de la Rose + Croix in 1892. Apart from easel painting, the artist also illustrated several books such as Edgar Allan Poe’s Tales (1888–90) and Manzoni’s I promessi sposi (1891–96).
During this period Previati developed an increasing interest in Divisionism, becoming one of its most prominent theoreticians and one of its leading proponents in Italy. His work, however, was also influenced by Symbolism, particularly in its brushstrokes and its themes, mostly religious and literary. He published several books on art theory and artistic techniques, among which Memorie sulla tecnica dei dipinti (1896), Tecnica della pittura (1905), Principi scientifici del divisionismo (1906) and Della pittura, tecnica e arte (1913). In 1911 his dealer Grubicy founded the Società per l’Arte di Gaetano Previati, which organised several exhibitions of his work in Italy and abroad.
He was invited to exhibit at the Venice Biennale from 1895 until 1914. In the meantime he showed his work at the Mostra di arte sacra di Lodi (1901), the Esposizione di Milano (1906), the Salon des Peintres Divisionnistes Italiens, Paris (1907) and the Permanente, Milan (1910). In 1915 his work was on display in Genoa and in 1916 and 1919 he exhibited in Milan.
In 1917, after a severe illness derived from the decease of his wife and one of his children in 1915, Previati gave up painting and retired to the Ligurian town of Lavagna, Italy, where he died on June 21, 1920.

credits: Hangar Design Group