Enrico Reycend was born in Turin in 1855. The son of a French bookseller, he attended the Accademia Albertina in the Piedmontese capital but did not finish it. He then attended private painting courses with Enrico Ghisolfi, Antonio Fontanesi and Lorenzo Delleani, painters who were to be fundamental to his artistic research. In Milan, however, he met Filippo Carcano, the leader of Lombard naturalism, who directed him towards a more verist language.
An evocative landscape painting between romanticism and verism
His exhibition debut took place in Turin in 1873, presenting two works with a strong romantic and intimist Fontesian influence such as Un acquedotto sulla Dora and La cinta di Vanchigia. The following year he took part in the exhibition in Florence with In autunno and Dintorni di Rivoli. In 1876 in Turin he presented Fra monti e valli (Mountains and Valleys), and at the following exhibition he exhibited Meriggio. The artist took up the Piedmontese landscape tradition in a more lyrical but at the same time realist sense, focusing his attention on the emotional sphere of the foreshortening represented, but also on the precise atmospheric rendering.
Corot’s discovery of light painting
In 1878, he travelled to Paris to visit the Universal Exhibition, and in the French environment he was fascinated by Corot’s light painting and Impressionist colour research. In the first half of the 1880s, he directed his experimentation in fact towards naturalist views of impression; while in the second half, he turned more towards verism, however, creating a totally personal language by merging both researches. He experimented with nervous, fragmented and vibrant brushstrokes with vivid tones that break up the light with particular sensitivity.
In 1880 he participated in the Genoa Exhibition with Un mattino di ottobre and Dintorni di Torino; in 1882 he presented Le rive del Po and In ottobre in Turin.
In the mid-1880s, the painter stayed in Genoa and developed a particular sensitivity to the atmospheres of the Ligurian Riviera, particularly the nuances of its sky. The painter implemented a realist approach, but was always attentive to the representation of the feeling of nature.
In 1884, again at the Turin event, he exhibited works of realist experimentation such as Il boschetto (The Grove), Paesaggi N.9 studi dal vero (Landscapes N.9 Studies from Life), Ritorno dal pascolo (Return from the Pasture), Paesaggi n.16 studi dal vero (Landscapes N.16 Studies from Life) and Ultime foglie (Last Leaves).
In the same year in Genoa, he exhibited seven works including Nel porto di Genova – studio dal vero, Scalo di Porta nuova, Nel giardino reale.
The Last Years and Pictorial Isolation
He also took part in three editions of the Venice Biennale: in 1895 with Quiete montanina (Mountain stillness); in 1897 with Pace meridiana (Sundial peace) and in 1899 with Meriggio sulla spiaggia di Varazze (Afternoon on the beach at Varazze) and Sasso di ferro (Iron rock) (Lake Maggiore). In 1905, he received a great disappointment, he was not accepted at the new edition of the Biennale, realising that the critics’ appreciation was now directed towards up-to-date artistic research, and he closed himself more and more in pictorial isolation.
Nevertheless, he did not abandon the various exhibitions in the cities of Turin, Genoa, Florence and Milan. In 1906 he was present at the Florence Exhibition with Pace and Aprile; in 1908 we find him in Genoa with Mattino d’agosto in montagna, Riviera Ligure, Ultima luce sul monte and N. 10 studi dal vero; in 1914 he exhibited Armonie primaverili, Mattino sul mare and Ritorna il sole sul monte again in Genoa.
He also took part in exhibitions abroad such as in Munich, Barcelona, Vienna, London, San Francisco and Buenos Aires.
He continued to exhibit until 1924, despite having lost the support of part of the critics. He disappeared in 1928 in Turin. His figure was to be rediscovered in 1952 when Roberto Longhi, in the room dedicated to Piedmontese artists at the Venice Biennale, added his name to the Fontanesi-Avondo-Delleani triad, recognising the innovative scope of his painting.
Emanuela Di Vivona