Fragiacomo Pietro, Green Harmonies
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AH01551AFC.jpg
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1,920; oil on cradled panel
cm. 78,5 x 117,5
Signed bottom right: “Piero Fragiacomo”. On the stretcher, bottom right and centre left, printed label with the number “237”; on the back of the panel, top left, printed paper label of the XII Esposizione Internazionale d’Arte di Venezia with inscription written in pen: “Armonie verdi/ [Proprietà] dell’autore”
Inventory: AH01551AFC
Provenance: Pio Crespi Collection (in 1920); Finarte, Auction 669, Milan, 6 December 1988
Exibition: 1920, Venezia, sala 29, n. 13; 1996, Trieste, Galleria Lloyd Adriatico, Pietro Fragiacomo, il poeta della laguna, (catalogo non pubblicato); 2017, Cremona, n. 34; 2018, Verbania, n. 17

This painting was first displayed in 1920 at the 12th Esposizione Internazionale d’Arte della Città di Venezia, together with Giudecca Canal that was also published in the monthly Emporium with the review of the exhibition. On the occasion of the exhibition the work was purchased by Pio Crespi. The grandson of Benigno Crespi (Busto Arsizio, 1848 – Turin, 1910), one of the leading entrepreneurs in the Italian cotton industry, Pio moved to Texas to expand the family business, where he marketed Italian textile products. Active also in the field of publishing, in 1922 he financed the publication of  "Corriere d’America", launched by Luigi Barzini as an Italian-American sister newspaper to the Milanese daily "Corriere della Sera" in which Benigno Crespi and, following his death, his sons Mario, Aldo and Vittorio, were the majority shareholders. However, just a year later Pio Crespi withdrew from the project, possibly due to the scant readership of the American daily, which closed in 1940.

At the 1920 exhibition Crespi bought ten other works besides Green Harmonies, including Spring by Antonio Mancini, Avenue with Oleanders by Plinio Nomellini, Domestic Peace  by Vincenzo Irolli and The Path by Arturo Tosi. His art collection, or at least part of it, was transferred, probably two decades later, to his luxury home at Preston Hollow, Dallas, which was built in 1939 and still exists today.

This painting belongs to Fragiacomo’s late production, when he began to move away from landscape painting from life and interpret nature in a Symbolist key. The cultural ferment at the beginning of the 20th century and the spread of ideas from the other side of the Alps, particularly those linked to the Vienna Session, characterised the Venetian art world that welcomed to the Biennale international protagonists such as Gustav Klimt against whom Italian painters were able to measure themselves. At the 1910 Esposizione Internazionale d’Arte di Venezia – where an entire room was devoted to Klimt – Fragiacomo displayed a subject very similar to the one in the Cariplo Collection: The Harmonies of Silence (whereabouts unknown) depicting one of the numerous canals flowing through the Venetian Lagoon, near the Po delta, as it curves towards the left and is delimited  on the horizon by rows of poplars. In Green Harmonies, instead, the trees thin out towards the centre, affording a glimpse of some fishermen’s cottages. In both works the title refers to the musical aspect of nature, in keeping with Symbolist poetics. The various colour harmonies ranging from yellow to brown, combined with the different tones of green, together with the vibrant handling of the foliage and the long, smooth touches on the reflections in the water, show an individual interpretation of the style of painting developed beyond the Alps. This exploration of the themes of Symbolism might seem rather late in the second decade of the 20th century, but it had informed Fragiacomo’s work from previous years, as can be seen  in the painting The Poplars (1912, Piacenza, Galleria d’Arte Moderna Ricci Oddi).

Sources:Archivio Storico Intesa Sanpaolo, Patrimonio archivistico Cariplo, Opere d’arte. Atti d’acquisto ex Cariplo. Fald. 2/3, pratica n. 879 R/776

Bibliography

Dodicesima Esposizione Internazionale d'Arte della città di Venezia 1920. Elenco completo delle opere vendute, Officine Grafiche Carlo Ferrari, Venezia, s.d. [1920], s. p.;
XII Esposizione Internazionale d’Arte della città di Venezia 1920. Catalogo, Casa Editrice d’Arte Bestetti e Tumminelli, Roma-Milano-Venezia, s.d. [1920], n. 13, p. 83 ;
Francesco Sapori, La XII Mostra d'Arte a Venezia, in "Emporium. Rivista mensile illustrata di arte e di coltura", vol. LII, n. 307-308, Istituto Italiano d’Arti Grafiche, Bergamo, luglio-agosto 1920, p. 25;
Dipinti del XIX secolo, Asta 669, Finarte, Milano, 1988, n. 63, p. 67, ill.;
Paolo Campopiano, Pietro Fragiacomo. Poeta lagunare, Edizione dei Soncino, Soncino, s. d. [1996], p. 22, tav. n. 77, p. 126;
Sergio Rebora, Pietro Fragiacomo, Armonie verdi, in Sergio Rebora, a cura di, Le collezioni d’arte. L’Ottocento, Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio delle Provincie Lombarde, Milano, 1999, n. 90, p. 171, ill.;
Mario Marubbi e Lucia Molino, a cura di , Lo sguardo sul mondo. Vedute, capricci, paesaggi dalla Collezione Fondazione Cariplo e dalla Pinacoteca Ala Ponzone di Cremona, catalogo della mostra, Cremona, Museo Civico Ala Ponzone, 24 marzo - 25 giugno 2017, Silvana editoriale, Cinisello Balsamo , 2017, n. 34, pp. 94-95;
Elena Pontiggia e Lucia Molino, a cura di, Armonie verdi. Paesaggi dalla Scapigliatura al "Novecento", catalogo della mostra, Verbania, Museo del Paesaggio, 25 marzo - 30 settembre 2018, Silvana editoriale, Cinisello Balsamo, 2018, n. 17, pp.54-55

Laura Casone
 
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