Medardo Rosso

Ecce Puer

ca. 1906


Medardo Rosso was born in Turin, Italy, on June 21, 1858. In 1870 his family moved to Milan, where he attended the Accademia di Brera between 1875 and 1879. In 1882, after completing his military service, he returned to the Accademia and exhibited at the Esposizione di Belle Arti but he was expelled a year later due to his criticism of the school’s traditional teaching. In this early period he was strongly influenced by the Milanese avant-garde group of Gli Scapigliati and among these by Tranquillo Cremona, Daniele Ranzoni and especially Giuseppe Grandi.
In 1883 Rosso took part in the Esposizione Internazionale di Belle Arti in Rome and in 1885 he exhibited at the Salon des Champs Elysées in Paris. That same year he married Giuditta Pozzi. In 1886 he presented several works at the Salon des Indépendants, a year later he took part in the Esposizione Nazionale Artistica in Venice and in 1888 he exhibited in London. In 1889 he separated from his wife and he moved to Paris, where he lived for 26 years. In the French capital he joined the Post-Impressionist movement and he met the writer Emile Zola, the collector Henri Rouart and started a lasting friendship with the sculptor Auguste Rodin. In 1896 he exhibited with the Pre-Raphaelites at the Goupil Galleries in London and in 1900, while showing at the Universal Exhibition, he gained the support of Etha Fles, who assisted him in the promotion of his work.
In the following years, Rosso exhibited in Berlin and Leipzig (1902), at the Secession in Vienna (1903), at the Salon d’Automne in Paris (1904) and in London (1906). In these years he also obtained the favour of the critics Julius Meier-Graefe and Ardengo Soffici, whose support and encouragement—particularly of the latter—provided Rosso with a chance to enter the Internazionale di Belli Arti (1911) in Rome and the Venice Biennale (1914). After World War I, Rosso was championed by Margherita Sarfatti, who invited him to participate in the Prima mostra del Novecento italiano in Milan (1926). That same year his work, highly valued by the Futurists, was shown in New York. Rosso died on March 31, 1928 in Milan, Italy.

credits: Hangar Design Group