1896 - 1956
Initially Filippo de Pisis studied literature and science to an advanced level. From 1916 he knew the ‘metaphysical’ painters De Chirico, Savinio and Carra in Bologna and Ferrara. However, it was not until 1920 that he took an active interest in painting, when he came into contact with the realist painters of the Novecento movement. Among other works, it was at that time that he published his Pittura Moderna. He lived in Paris until 1939, where he became extremely well known among the literary and artistic set. A very well-read man, De Pisis produced some excellent, very graceful illustrations for a selection of Verlaine’s poems. He was highly regarded in his native Italy, where he set the fashion, although his work includes nothing remarkably original or bold.Many attempts are still being made to find a place for De Pisis within his own historical epoch. His brief metaphysical period has been highlighted, perhaps owing to the accessories he displays, taken straight out of the grainstores of his family’s Ferrara palace. The majority of his work from 1925 onwards, of his Parisian years and his admiration for Manet and the post-impressionist Monet, his portraits, still-lifes, and then later on, his Venetian scenes, earned him roughly the same place in contemporary Italian art as that held by Christian Bérard in Paris between 1930 and 1950. In particular after his return to Italy and his dedication to the painting of Venice, a city he knew intimately, one could describe him as an expressionist, some of his views being reminiscent of the work of Kokoschka.His paintings have been shown at various public exhibitions including De Chirico and Italian Painting of the Interwar Period (De Chirico et la peinture italienne de l’entre-deux guerres) at Lodève Museum in 2003. Numerous exhibitions have been organised since his death in 1956: in 1967, a retrospective exhibition at Palazzo Strozzi in Florence within the context of a wider retrospective of Italian art from 1915 to 1935; in 2002, Filippo de Pisis. The Human Figure. Portraits from 1920 to 1949, at the Mallé Museum in Dronero (Italy).