Alberto Falchetti, born in Caluso in 1878, devoted himself to art from an early age, encouraged by his father Giuseppe, an established Piedmontese landscape painter of Romantic inspiration. The environment in which he grew up, in the heart of the Canavese area, the birthplace of the Rivara School, led the young Falchetti to develop a realism that can be seen in his first production of still lifes and small landscapes from the last decade of the 19th century.
Divisionism, in the footsteps of Segantini
Following his correspondence with Segantini, he moved towards a Divisionism style based on the breadth of the views and the choice of luminous colour ranges, constructed with a divided, fibrous colour, woven onto the canvas with extraordinary freshness and technical skill. Following his almost hermit-like experience in Val d’Ayas, where he painted for about four years, Falchetti reached a second stylistic and personal turning point in 1905. After meeting the painter John Singer Sargent in Cervinia, he decided to accompany him on a long journey to North Africa and the Middle East, from Egypt to Palestine and Turkey. At this point, his painting was enriched with new suggestions and his palette took on a new luminosity, as can be seen in his 1906 impression of The Jordan and the Dead Sea from the mountains of Judah.
Throughout the 1910s, he confirmed himself as a tireless experimenter and traveller, now also active between France, England and Holland, and appreciated in the European market. The experience of travelling ideally persists in Falchetti’s poetics even when he returns to his mountains, through the manifestation of a fascinating and intense luminosity, dense with symbolic perceptions, contained, for example, in the divisionist landscape Egloga mattinale, exhibited at the Venice Biennale in 1914. Towards the 1920s, he slowly abandoned his Divisionist style in favour of a looser, broader brushstroke, also in view of a new interest in the human figure, studied in the context of a quiet pastoral idyll. Starting with the painting Le donne dell’Alpi (Women of the Alps), exhibited at the Venice Biennial in 1920, Alberto Falchetti’s mature phase was thus inaugurated, which continued until the exhibitions of the Turin Union in the early 1940s.
High Peace – Sunset
A painting presented by Alberto Falchetti at his debut at the 1903 Venice Biennial, In alta pace – tramonto (In High Peace – Sunset), fits perfectly into the artist’s very early Divisionist phase. In fact, after participating throughout the 1990s in the Promotrici di Torino with subjects that were still rather tied to the language of the nineteenth century, especially still lifes of game and fruit, towards the end of the century he allowed himself to be fully carried away by the Divisionist suggestions of his ideal master, Giovanni Segantini.
Shortly before his death in 1899, Segantini, through a series of fertile exchanges of correspondence, had guided the 21-year-old Falchetti towards the Divisionist language and, above all, encouraged him to take inspiration from the landscapes of Piedmont and the Valle d’Aosta: Like Segantini, who had retreated into the mountains, first to Savognin and then to Maloja in the Engadine, Falchetti chose to isolate himself among the imposing peaks of the Monte Rosa massif, in the Val d’Ayas, a place that contained his germinal Divisionist experimentation. At the turn of the new century, having left still lifes behind him, he focused his pictorial research on the Valle d’Aosta landscape: amidst the majestic mountain chains and the fresh breadth of the valleys, nature is filled with intimate symbolic values and the mystical and ideal dimension is united with a naturalism entrusted entirely to the divided stroke of colour and the recurrent search for luministic effects.
The light of the alpine landscape and the grassy mantle, in its many shades of juxtaposed and complementary colours, animates the valley with a spirituality that also invests the solitary human presences in the foreground, immersed in the vastness of the valley and in a serene, twilight silence. In alta pace – al tramonto (In high peace – at sunset) is the manifesto of a personal and intimate Divisionism, in which the dense weaving of colour filaments is enriched by a chromatic mixture that is at times material, as can be seen particularly in the rendering of the snow-covered peaks illuminated by the rarefied, golden light of sunset. This Divisionism, strongly inspired by Segantini, in which the vespertine lyricism of a symbolic nature takes on an almost sacred dimension, continued to be part of Alberto Falchetti’s research for at least a decade and rightly places him among the major representatives of Piedmont’s Divisionist tradition.