Monday, July 15, 2013

De Nittis: Proto-Impressionist

I'm not sure that dying young is a good career move, but nevertheless it has afflicted a number of noted artists including Vincent van Gogh and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. A currently not-so-famous painter who never celebrated a 40th birthday was Giuseppe De Nittis (1846-1884). Unlike suicidal van Gogh and dissipated Lautrec, De Nittis died of a stroke. The Wikipedia entry on De Nittis is here and a more extensive biography is here.

The second link above suggests that De Nittis never really formed a distinctive style by the time of his death, and that assessment seems about right. He came of age at exactly the right time to become an Impressionist and spent much of his brief adulthood in Paris during the years when Eduard Manet was active and the other Impressionists were holding their exhibits. So some of De Nittis' paintings were quite traditional (if not Academic), some are strongly influenced by Impressionism and others are in synch with the Macchiaioli, a group of Italian proto-Impressionists.

Regardless of how he might be pigeon-holed, De Nittis was clearly a talented artist. Take a look:


Return from the Ball - 1870

La Place des Pyramides - 1875

Woman in a Canoe - 1876

Westminster Bridge, London - c.1877-78

Signora con cane (Returning from the Bois de Boulogne) - 1878

Snow Effect - 1880

La place du Carrousel et les ruines du palais des Tuileries - 1882

Le salon de la princess Mathilde Bonaparte - 1883


Hels said...

Giuseppe De Nittis 1846-1884 reminds me very much of James Tissot 1836–1902, even though one was French and one was Italian. I wonder if the younger man came across Tissot during his stays in Paris or London.

Donald Pittenger said...

Hells -- One difference is that De Nittis seems to have a softer touch with his brushwork whereas Tissot was more hard-edge. I like Tissot, but like Nittis even more.