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Angelo Morbelli (1853 - 1919)



April 23, 2004
New York, NY, US

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signed and dated Morbelli.1908 (lower left)

oil on canvas

ITALIAN, 1853-1919



27 by 19 3/4 in.

68.6 by 50.2cm


Rome, Società di Amatori e Cultori di Belle Arti, 1908, Sala N, no.304


Archivi del Divisionismo, Rome 1968, vol. II, no. VI.125


A 1904 conté and pastel study for this painting is published in Archivi del Divisionismo, Rome 1968, vol.II, plate 291, fig. 1449.

Angelo Morbelli embraced Divisionism in the late 1880s under the influence of critic, theoretician and fellow artist Vittore Grubicy. Morbelli's interest in optical theory and his reading of optical treatises by Ogden Wood, Hermann von Helmholz, and Michel-Eugène Chevreul, among others, greatly influenced his depiction of light and atmosphere and led him to experiment with pictorial technique. Divisionism marked an entirely new approach to the purpose and meaning of art. The combination of a scientific approach to painting in conjunction with espansività sociale or social illumination comprised the essence of the movement. Morbelli's painterly application favored 'divided,' contrasting strokes of brilliant color applied directly onto the canvas with a special paintbrush with three fine hard points. This laborious method produced works of remarkable precision and detail, suffused with light and atmosphere.

Morbelli's scientific approach to art and his interest in the human condition and contemporary social issues, resulted in technically brilliant and gripping psychological works inspired by the working-class, social outcasts and the elderly. Works dated after 1883 often depict the old people of Pio Luogo Trivulzio, Milan (Sandra Berresford, "Italy," in Post Impressionism, Cross-Currents in European and American Painting: 1880-1906).

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19th Century European Art

April 23, 2004, 12:00 AM EST

New York, NY, US

For Sale from Sotheby's