Feragutti Visconti Adolfo, Remember Mummy
FCIP 0082.jpg

1,896 - 1,904; oil on canvas
cm. 154 x 116
Signed bottom left towards the centre: "A. Feragutti Visconti"
Inventory: FCIP 0082
Provenance: 1993, Milan, Finarte
Exibition: 1904, Lugano, Teatro Apollo (senza catalogo), s. n.; 1999, Genova, n. 35; 2009, Pavia, n. 34

In 1887 Luigi Bianchi exhibited Goodbye to the Emigrants at the Esposizione Nazionale in Venice, which Feragutti must certainly have seen since he was showing three works a few rooms further on in the same exhibition.

The dramatically topical subject had already been addressed by French and English artists in the mid-19th century – for example by Honoré Daumier in Les émigrants a sculpture whose various versions executed between 1848 and 1851 were very well known, and by Ford Madox Ford in Last Look at England, 1853 – whereas in Italy it only appeared around 1880, which coincided significantly with a rapid increase in emigration from some Italian regions and the Canton Ticino at the time. The artists express the discomfort, the hope and the waiting linked with leaving one’s home country in works that have a powerful emotional impact. Two of the earliest are Daddy Returns by Egisto Ferroni, 1883, and Emigrants exhibited at Brera in 1885 by Amerino Cagnoni. The ports, jetties and wharves from which thousands of emigrants departed were described with a documentary or illustrative purpose, at different times and with different results, by Angiolo Tommasi, Raffaello Gamogi and Arnaldo Ferraguti in works that share the same expressive title The Emigrants. The theme of delay and waiting had already been dealt with in sculpture by Domenico Ghidoni from Brescia who had shown the life-size plaster work Emigrants at the 1st Brera Triennale in 1891, where he won the Tantardini Prize. Moreover, to add another example, Mother of Emigrants by the Milanese artist Alessandro Vanotti was awarded the prize at the Fondazione Canonica Brera painting competition in 1892.
Feragutti first addressed this important iconographical theme in social verist painting in A Departure, 1891, shown at the Esposizione Artistica Svizzera in Lugano. Subsequently he reprised the same subject several times until he had executed the work considered definitive, which was exhibited at the Esposizione Internazionale d’Arte della Città di Venezia and is now lost. The canvas in the Collection can be identified as a further version of this subject, shown at the solo exhibition mounted at the Teatro Apollo in Lugano in 1904.
It is difficult not to read an autobiographical component into the tormented, painful, lengthy gestation of the work, which is described in the letters the artist sent to a friend. In fact, the young emigrant leaving his native land and his mother’s love was Feragutti himself, and he remained unsettled, torn between two countries all his life.
The mother’s heartrending goodbye to her lost little emigrant, on a jetty stripped of any attractive anecdotal element, takes place at Gandria, on Lake Lugano. Men, women and children from this village and the surrounding area would leave from here on the first step of their journey to Italy and also across the Atlantic.

Sources:Archivio Storico Intesa Sanpaolo, Patrimonio Cariplo, Opere d'arte. Atti d'acquisto ex Cariplo. Fald. 3/3, pratica no. 879 R/968


Cose d'arte, in “Il Corriere del Ticino”, a. XIII, n. 243 , Lugano, 25 ottobre 1904, p. 2;
Dipinti del XIX secolo, Asta 852, Finarte, Milano, 1993, n. 70, pp. 58-59;
Tesori d'arte delle banche lombarde, Associazione Bancaria Italiana, Milano, 1995, p. 252, ill. n. 476;
Lucia Pini, Adolfo Feragutti Visconti, Ricordati della mamma, in Giovanna Ginex - Sergio Rebora, a cura di, Scoperta del Mare. Pittori lombardi in Liguria tra '800 e '900, catalogo della mostra, Genova, Palazzo Ducale, 9 luglio-24 ottobre 1999, Mazzotta, Milano, 1999, n. 35, p. 222, ill.;
Sergio Rebora, Adolfo Feragutti Visconti, Ricordati della mamma, in Sergio Rebora, a cura di, Le collezioni d’arte. L’Ottocento, Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio delle Provincie Lombarde, Milano, 1999, n. 78, pp. 155-157, ill.;
Giovanni Anzani, Tra paesaggio e realtà urbana. Uno sguardo sulla pittura di fine Ottocento e primo Novecento a Milano e nel Canton Ticino, in Giovanni Anzani - Elisabetta Chiodini, a cura di, La pittura del vero tra Lombardia e Canton Ticino (1865-1910), catalogo della mostra, Rancate, Pinacoteca Cantonale Giovanni Zust, 21 settembre - 8 dicembre 2008, Silvano Editoriale, Cinisello Balsamo, 2008, p. 22.;
Elena Lissoni, Feragutti Visconti Adolfo, Ricordati della mamma, in http:/artgate-cariplo.it, 2009, (versione 2009);
Susanna Zatti - Lorenza Tonani , a cura di, Il bacio tra Romanticismo e Novecento, catalogo della mostra, Pavia, Scuderie del Castello Visconteo, 14 febbraio-2 giugno 2009, Silvana editoriale, Cinisello Balsamo, 2009, ill. n. 34, p. 98;
Laura Casone, Ricordati della mamma, in Giovanna Ginex, Adolfo Feragutti Visconti. 1850-1924, Corner Banca, Skira, Milano, 2011, (in corso di stampa);
Annamaria Andreoli, Cosimo Damiano Fonseca, Elena Fontanella, a cura di , Mater. Percorsi simbolici sulla maternità, catalogo della mostra, Parma, Palazzo del Governatore, dall' 8 marzo - 28 giugno 2015, L'Erma di Bretschneider, Roma, 2015, riprodotto a p.335

Giovanna Ginex
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