11 Nov-27 Feb 2005. An exhaustive overview of the impressionists work.
Giuseppe De Nittis is one of the few Italian impressionists that means he had a Parisian taste and loved living there, unlike the Italian Macchiaioli, impressionists of sorts, who painted more soberly in Tuscany. He is not as well known as he deserves, because after his early death at the age of 38, his widow took most of his work to his home-town, Barletta in Puglia, to found a museum. Southern Italy being off the beaten track his work has been reached by few.
This full-scale retrospective is a dazzling revelation. Here is a quick-witted lyrical painter with an easy hand, with humour and feeling. His wasp-waisted ladies at the races or in salons, and his landscapes, are aglitter with fresh brushmarks, full of little surprises. Charmingly awkward or happily fluent, they are stitched from the play and flutter of light.
There are views of Naples, London, Switzerland and Paris, Paris and Paris. A tiny Paris streetscene pinpoints the bustle of the city as sharply as a snapshot. A great canvas of his wife and son having breakfast in the green sunny freshness of their garden is a late work, and tragically points to even better things by this evocative impressionist, which might have been painted had he lived. His re-evaluation here is a great pleasure. Edith Schloss