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Filippo De Pisis (Ferrara 1896 - Milan 1956)

Filippo de Pisis was born in Ferrara in 1896. His father was Count Luigi Tibertelli. From his very first literary efforts, he adopted the pseudonym that he would keep forever, inspired by his illustrious forbear, Filippo da Pisa. Steeped in maternal love and family privilege, his childhood and youth were spent studying an eclectic array of subjects. He was versed in botany, entomology, literary history, poetry and miniatures – all at just twenty years of age, when he enrolled in the Humanities Faculty of Bologna and met the De Chirico brothers, with whom he forged a strong and lasting bond. After graduating he went to Rome, where he frequented the Roman intelligentsia and where his artistic vocation ripened.
Forever in anxious pursuit of broader horizons, in 1925 he moved to Paris where he was initially attracted to De Chirico’s metaphysical painting, but soon afterwards became entirely independent, developing an autonomous and mature language of painting, which he intended as a short circuit always close to existence, a kind of theft of the joys of life.
He began to exhibit more and more frequently: in Paris, Italy, London and elsewhere. He never entirely broke off contact with Italy and returned there every summer. He remained in Paris until 1939, when as he saw it the war robbed the city of its worldly attraction. He returned to his “sweet homeland”, first Milan and then Venice, where he became the owner of a large house and his own personal gondola and where he lived for years amid new joys and adventures. “Flowers and affections”, he claimed to want; but the unexpected recrudescence of that nervous disorder from which he had long suffered forced him, after a short-lived return to Paris in 1948, to endure increasingly frequent stays in clinics and sanatoriums. From that time until 1953, when he completed his last works, his artistic production became less plentiful; but what paintings he did complete were of the highest quality, bitter testimony to a life by then pervaded by pain.
De Pisis died in Milan in 1956.


Fabrizio D'Amico