Conti Aldo, Santa Margherita Ligure
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1,933; oil on canvas
cm. 60 x 70
Signed and dated bottom left: "Aldo Conti XI"
Inventory: AI00031AFC
Provenance: Milan, Società per le Belle Arti ed Esposizione Permanente (1935)
Exibition: 1934, Milano, Palazzo della Permanente, Esposizione sociale, n. 180

Purchased in 1935 from the Società per le Belle Arti ed Esposizione Permanente in Milan during the celebrations held for the fiftieth anniversary of this artistic institution, the work depicts a view of the Ligurian coastal resort.


In the 1920s and 1930s, Aldo Conti’s approach was similar to that of the Novecento Italiano group. Indeed, unlike his earlier works, the compositional structure of the canvas is more solid and severe, like the architecture of the buildings, and even the outlines are accentuated by a dark line. These elements indicate how important Paul Cézanne’s influence was for Conti, and likewise for Arturo Tosi and Cesare Monti.


If we compare this work with Sunset on the Sea, a seascape executed in 1934 by Umberto Lilloni, we note the differences between the artists who gravitated around the Novecento Italiano and those whom the critics called Chiaristi. This painting by Conti, who attempts to follow the guidelines given by the art critic Margherita Sarfatti, is based on a balanced geometric model. The line of the horizon is low, the sea is calm and these elements contribute towards creating a feeling of reassuring normality. By contrast, Lilloni’s landscape is bathed in a dream-like atmosphere that is far-removed from reality and is rather the fruit of that disquieting atmosphere that spread through Italy on the threshold of World War II.

Sources:Archivio Cariplo, Acquisti opere d’arte, 6 July 1935 (document not found) Exhibitions: 1934, Milan, no. 180 Archivio Cariplo, Acquisti opere d’arte, 6 July 1935 (document not found) Exhibitions: 1934, Milan, no. 180


Cinquantenario della Permanente: Esposizione sociale, catalogo della mostra, Milano, Società per le Belle Arti ed Esposizione Permanente, febbraio – marzo 1934, Tipi del Cav. Enrico Gualdoni, Milano, n. 180, p. 39;
Leo Lecci, Aldo Conti, Santa Margherita Ligure , in Sergio Rebora, a cura di, Le collezioni d'arte. Il Novecento, Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio delle Provincie Lombarde , Milano, 2000, n. 85, p. 113, ill.

Antonella Crippa
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