Italian, 1895-1971

"Amiche / Amies / Le Consolatrici", 1946

oil on canvas
signed and dated lower right "Campigli 46"
23 1/2 x 29 1/2 inches

  • Provenance: Private Collection, New York; Private Collection, Connecticut.
  • Exhibited: Amsterdam, Netherlands, Stedelijk Museum, "Massimo Campigli", December 20, 1946 - February 2, 1947; Rotterdam, Netherlands, Museum Boymans, February 8 - March 2, 1947, no. 55.
  • Literature: Raffaele Carrieri, "Massimo Campigli 1946. Un messaggero dell'arte italiana all'estero", in: "Il Sabato del Lombardo", (Milan: November 30, 1946);
    Franco Russoli, "Campigli. Pittore", (Milan: Edizioni del Milione, 1965), (Monografie di Artisti Italiani Contemporanei, 9), plate 31;
    Raffaele De Grada, "Campigli", (Rome: Il Collezionista editore, 1969), p. 76, p. 308 (in the French part, p. 314);
    "Omaggio a Campigli", a cura di Giancarlo Serafini, Carlo Bestetti, (Rome: Edizioni d'Arte, Il Collezionista d'Arte Contemporanea, 1972), p. 82;
    Nicola Campigli, Eva Weiss, Marcus Weiss, "Campigli. catalogue raisonné", a cura di Archives Campigli Saint-Tropez, (Milan: Silvana Editoriale, 2013), vol. II, no. 44-019, p. 539;
    Eva Weiss, "Massimo Campigli, Kunst aus Obsession", (Munich: 2015 (dissertation University of Basel (CH) 2015, https://edoc.unibas.ch/79499/)), pp. 90-91 (fig. 149) and 132, 178 (fig. 42); vol. 2, p. 42, fig. 149e, p. 64, fig. 42.
  • Notes: A declaration of authenticity from Dr. Eva Weiss and Marcus Weiss of the Archiv Weiss and the Campigli Archives accompanies this lot.

    Framed dimensions: 31 x 37 x 2 1/2 inches

    Amiche was exhibited in 1946 in a large and important Campigli retrospective at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam and published in two of the main monographs about the artist during his lifetime (Russoli 1965 and De Grada 1969). In the catalogue raisonné (2013) it is published as catalog number 44-019, unfortunately wrongly dated 1944. The date should be corrected to the year 1946 thanks to the reappearance of the painting after almost eighty years, hidden in an American private collection.

    Stylistically and technically, the painting fits perfectly in the artist‘s work of the mid-forties with a very reduced scale of subtle earthy tones and thick layers of oil paint, visible paint strokes and even paint globs remaining on the surface.

    Thematically, the painting relates to a motif Campigli has depicted since the twenties. Here, though, the motif of two women is composed in a very particular way because the contours of the two women embracing each other merge into one single, compact form. Not only do their horizontally bowed heads, resting on each other, precisely fit together but also, vertically seen, the eyes of one figure create a compositional line with the necklace of the other figure and vice versa, a fact which further emphasizes and visualizes in perfection the complete union of the two women.

    The painting is closely related to a drawing and one of twelve lithographs Campigli created in 1944 to illustrate the Liriche di Saffo, his second artist's book, stamped by the Officina Bodoni, Verona and the Edizioni del Cavallino, Venice. The historical context may be an explanation for the antique-like clothing of the women, but is also found in other paintings of this time, especially in the Donne velate-series.

    Comparing the drawing, the lithograph and the painting with each other, the creative process becomes apparent in which Campigli was gradually perfecting the idea of unification of the two women. In the drawing there are two full-length figures with long dresses, whose ornamental ribbons at the bottom, resemble a meander band, catching the attention of the viewer, while in the lithograph Campigli cuts off the lower part of the women's figures concentrating on the upper part of their bodies and extending the width of the composition. Consequently, the focus is much more on the embrace and the intertwining of heads and hands. But in both works, the drawing and the lithograph, there is a third hand shown which belongs to the woman above. In the painting, Campigli eliminates the third hand with an astonishing effect – it reduces the composition to the essential and strengthens the impression of two figures becoming one.

    The pictorial idea of the painting meant so much to Campigli that in 1966 he incorporated it into the design for the mosaic panel for the tomb of his wife Giuditta Scalini (no. M66-001) to whom twenty two years earlier he had already dedicated the lithograph in Saffo.

    SOURCE: Adapted from the Declaration of Authenticity prepared by Dr. Eva and Marcus Weiss of the Archiv Weiss.

    Tags: oil painting, listed artist, Italian artist, oil painting, Modernist / Modernism, European, 20th century
  • Condition: in overall good to fair condition; lined canvas; craquelure throughout; some with corresponding inpaint; additional photos available upon request

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