GINO ROSSI IN VENICE

March 18th, 2018
Venice, Ca’ Pesaro, International Gallery of Modern Art
February 23rd - May 20th, 2018
Opening hours 10 am – 6 pm, closed on Mondays    

The exhibit provides a selection of Gino Rossi’s masterpieces, on the occasion of the anniversary of his death.
All the paintings are selected among the collections of the Ca’Pesaro Museum and the Fondazione Cariverona, covering a time  span of 19 years from 1907 through 1926 when Rossi developed his own style and achieved his artistic maturity.
Born in Venice in 1884, he left high school when he realized that it didn’t fulfill his interest in colors and painting.
At the turn of the century, Paris was the hothouse from which the major artistic avant garde stemmed, the perfect city in Europe for a young artist who needed new incentives and ideas.
One of his best friends was the sculptor Arturo Martini, who was his travelling companion in his trip to Paris and Brittany in 1907 and 1912. The post Impressionist age aroused an array of different trends, supported by the precious Cezanne’s teachings and the Fauves, who had made their artistic debut in the Ville lumière two years earlier.
The realistic subjects, the anti naturalistic use of colors, and the simplification of forms greatly impressed Rossi, who was particularly attracted by the exociticm of Paul Gauguin paintings and his peculiar use of colors.
At the same time, Cézanne style and the African art were crucial sources of inspiration for Picasso, who was developing Cubism, as a new art form never experimented before. 
On his return to Venice, Gino was an enthusiastic, updated and open-minded painter, ready to join the most innovative trends in the local scene.
In Venice the Museum of modern art was managed by a brilliant art critic, Nino Barbantini, who was promoting some young unknown artists in contrast with the classicist mood of the first edition of La Biennale.
His early exhibits date from 1908, mainly focused on Felice Casorati, Umberto Boccioni, Arturo Martini and Gino Rossi.
Unfortunately Rossi's style did not meet the taste of local collectors, due to his ungraceful portraits, his archaic expressiveness and his timeless depiction of the Lagoon.
In this sense, Rossi’s stay in Brittany, so significant to Gauguin’s work, suggested him a comparison with Burano, which became his new isolated shelter in the Lagoon.
On the island Rossi developed a distinctive sensitivity towards the humble and harsh work of the fishermen, the simplicity of their life, and their fondness for local traditions.
The artist's palette became much brighter, with intense colors, regardless of any relationship with nature, on behalf of his own emotional states, and his melancholic moods which started to affect him more frequently.
Despite the hardship and the discomfort, Rossi gave evidence of his talent and his deep understanding of the French experience, well exemplified in “Marshes in Burano” dating from 1913, for the use of broad areas of color in contrast with each other, and the vivid description of the high wind moving the branches of the trees.
In the unfinished “Burano” the palette of colors respond exclusively to his dreamy vision of a bunch of building suspended between water and land. The portrait “Bruto” painted in 1913, shows instead his interest in the poor and the humble fishermen who lived there.
In the exhibit, most of Rossi’s canvases are compared with the works of his contemporaries, in order to detect both conflicts and similarities, particularly with his friend Arturo Martini.
In 1915 Italy joined the WW1 and the artist served in the army, but one year later was captured and imprisoned in Germany. The cruelty and the horrors of the war didn’t help Gino to recover from his depression, which got worse as he went back home.
Nevertheless, he exhibited in Verona, Torino and Treviso, looking desperately for a new and better life. His paintings got darker, as we can see in “Composition” painted in 1923. Three year later he was hospitalized in an asylum where he died in 1947.
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