Felice Casorati

Biography

Felice Casorati was born in Novara on December 4, 1883. His family had given mathematicians and renowned scientists to Italy. During a period of rest in Praglia he began painting among the Euganean hills, which is where he made his first known works of a Paduan landscape in 1902. His works were exhibited in the Venice Biennale firt in 1907, then in 1909 and 1910. It was in 1010 that he was strongly affected by a room dedicated to Gustav Klimt. The symbolic and decorative style of the Viennese Secession decisively influenced Casorati’s later works. He lived in Naples from 1908 to 1911. He lived in Verona from 1911 to 1915, where he joined the group of Ca' Pesaro, with Rossi and Martini. At the end of the war he moved to Turin, immediately becoming a figure of the intellectual avant-garde of the city (he was a friend of Piero Gobetti, who wrote a monographic essay about him in 1923). When researching chromatic-linearity, his style noticeably recalled that of Puvis de Chavannes, the pre-Raphaelites, Hans von Marées, Jugendstil, and the idealization of Nordic Figurativism. Starting from 1919, while being in contact with the metaphysical painting, he confirmed his classical ideas of the image and gave life to an art of great static forms. While they had extreme simplicity and severity, they were framed in a strictly cubic space and were underlined by the absolute balance of the chromatic masses (Eggs on the chest of drawers, 1920, L'attesa, 1921, Torino, Coll. Casorati). Casorati’s Classicism is not born from an astorico regret for a lost past, rather his research is detached from the formulations of "Valori Plastici." Style, understood as a strict intellectual control of form, is fundamental to Classicism. Subsequently, Casorati began with a melancholy of his first works and then introduced a less sharp luminosity by giving it new emotional implications (Venus Blonde, 1934, Paris, Mus. Nat. D'Art Mod.). His interest in design and applied art is further explored by designing the Piccolo Teatro di Casa Gualino in Torino, the "commercial street" (with Sartoris) at the Biennale di Arti Decorative di Monza (1927), the atrium of the architecture exhibition at the Milan Triennale (1933), among other things. He passed away on March 1, 1963 in Turin.