Divisionism/Neo-Impressionism: Arcadia and Anarchy
January 27–April 15, 2007
This focused exhibition of approximately forty paintings comprises works by the masters of Italian Divisionism, such as Giovanni Segantini, Angelo Morbelli, and Giuseppe Pellizza da Volpedo, together with significant Neo-Impressionists paintings by, among others, Georges Seurat, Paul Signac, and Camille Pissarro. Italian Divisionism, like Neo-Impressionism (or Pointillism), is a late nineteenth-century painting style premised on color theory and optics, in which dots or dashes of often complementary colors are juxtaposed to effect shimmering, luminous works (the term Divisionism is derived from the technique's division of color via individualized brushstrokes). Artists from both these movements also frequently shared leftists political views and depicted similar subject matter, from societyís problems to idyllic landscapes. Yet, while working within like formal and ideological frameworks, the Italians diverged from their European counterparts in their preference for large-scale compositions, modeled form, the representation of three-dimensional space, and the connotation of movement. Unlike the Neo-Impressionists, they eschewed images of bourgeois life or urban spectacle. Instead, they painted transcendent Symbolist scenes, often with religious underpinnings, which were largely absent from the work of their contemporaries. Underlining the paradoxical nature of Italian art in this period, these pursuits both reflected the Divisionistsí anchoring in Italyís artistic legacy and pointed the way for the next generation, the Futurists. Organized thematically—"Light," "Landscape," "Rural Life," "Social Problems," and "Symbolism"—Divisionism/Neo-Impressionism explores the optically vibrant paintings executed by the Italian Divisionists and, for the first time, considers their relationship to Neo-Impressionism. This exhibition is curated by Vivien Greene and will premier in Berlin before traveling to New York in April of 2007.
Camille Pissarro, Apple Picking at Éragny-sur-Epte (La Cueillette des pommes, Éragny-sur-Epte), 1888. Oil on canvas, 61 x 74 cm. Dallas Museum of Art, Munger Fund
Angelo Morbelli, For Eighty Cents! (Per ottanta centesimi!), 1895. Oil on canvas, 69 x 124.5 cm. Museo Francesco Borgogna, Vercelli. Photo: G. Gallarate