Edoardo Gordigiani was born in Florence in 1866 and was the son of the painter Michele Gordigiani. He undoubtedly received his first artistic imprint from his father, but in 1883 he enrolled in the figure painting course at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence. Having completed his classic apprenticeship with masters such as Cassioli, Rivalta and Fattori, he added to this initial canonical training a series of trips to Paris in the 1880s, which brought him closer to Impressionist painting.
He made his debut at the Universal Exhibition in Paris in 1889 with a Portrait, while the following year he exhibited five works in Florence: Pink Portrait, English Portrait, Light Portrait, Snowfall and Sun and Study of Harmony in Dark Blue.
Between the United States and Tuscany
Characterised by a loose, broad and full-bodied brushstroke, he laid the foundations for his figurative and landscape experimentation, exhibiting during the 1990s works such as Portrait of Ugo Adami, Shelley’s Houses and Garden, Portrait – the Tea, paintings commissioned by aristocratic Florentine families that guaranteed him immediate success, especially abroad.
In the mid-1990s, he moved to the United States, where he devoted himself mainly to portraits. It was here that he executed his most famous canvases, such as Portrait of Cardinal Gibbons Archbishop of Baltimore, Portrait of Hemaò al Molk and the beautiful Portrait of Eleonora Duse in The Lady of the Camellias. He sent all these paintings to the Florentine exhibitions of the 1990s and early 20th century, while also participating in New York and Paris exhibitions.
The landscape: a vibrant and luminous brushstroke
On his return from America, he stayed first in Rome, then in Pisa and Castiglioncello and then again in Florence in 1915. In the meantime, he took part in the most important Italian exhibitions. In 1911 he sent Ritratto di un violinista (Portrait of a Violinist) to the International Exhibition in Rome. In 1913 he participated in the first exhibition of the Roman Secession with L’Arno a Pisa and in 1914 in the second with Tempio della Concordia a Girgenti, Natura morta and Effetto grigio.
To this period belong a series of landscapes dedicated to Taormina, unfortunately today of unknown location. Alongside portraits, he made landscape and still life his favourite genres throughout the 20th century. At the Florentine Spring Exhibition in 1922 he exhibited Il bagno nel ruscello (Bath in the Brook) and Chiesetta in montagna (Little Church in the Mountains), and at the Regional Art Exhibitions in Tuscany in the 1930s he presented works such as Il giovane violinista Donati (The Young Violinist Donati), Paese (Country), A Poplano (At Poplano), Ritratto della Signorina Bertini (Portrait of Miss Bertini), Bomba col cerchio (Bomb with a Circle) and Finestra aperta (Open Window).
His success in Italy came later than that achieved immediately in the Florentine area and then in America. But it was definitively decreed when he was given a personal room at the Quadriennale in Rome in 1939 in which he presented more than thirty paintings.
These included Boccadasse dal mare, Signora dal cappello nero, Sognando ad occhi aperti, Ciliegie e bottiglia nera, Libecciata, Ritratto dai fiocchi neri, Ombre sulla rena and Figura all’aperto. He continued to participate in exhibitions in Florence until the 1950s. He died in his hometown in 1961.