Ernesto Allason was born in Turin in 1822. He did not immediately turn to painting: he followed classical studies and then graduated in law in 1843. Later, dissatisfied with his career as a lawyer, he began to devote himself exclusively to painting, enrolling at the Accademia Albertina, where he took figure painting courses. At the same time, he studied landscape painting in the workshop of Carlo Piacenza, who introduced him to an intimate and serene conception of the view, far removed from the grandiose and scenographic tones of traditional landscape painting.
Landscape: an intimate naturalism
Ernesto Allason’s favourite subjects were the surroundings of Turin, the Piedmontese countryside, mountains and valleys. He regularly took part in the Promotrice Exhibition of Turin and Genoa from 1848 to 1863, immediately receiving the approval of the critics, who particularly appreciated the painter’s search for emotional and lyrical light effects, which certainly came from the romantic influence of Alexandre Calame from Geneva, but also from the new instances of intimate naturalism introduced by Fontanesi.
Critical and public success at the Promotrici exhibitions in Turin
At his debut at the Promotrice in Turin in 1848, Ernesto Allason exhibited Memory of Sempione, View from Varallo and View from Crevola. The views that made him one of the most appreciated Piedmontese landscape painters of the first half of the 19th century date back to the 1950s, before the rise of a more accentuated verism with the Rivara School. Many of his works were bought by the Società Promotrice or the Ministry of Education, including The Orco valley, now in the Galleria Civica d’Arte Moderna in Turin. Some of the landscapes presented at the 1851 Promotrice in Turin are an example of this success with critics and the public: The Evening, A Thunderstorm, A Snowfall, The Morning and View taken on the Hill of Turin.
Other significant works include Forest in the Challant valleys of 1856, Gressoney valley of 1858, Plains after the rain of 1860, House of herds, bought by the Duchess of Genoa for her collection, and Iced Levanna (Canavese) now in the Palazzo Reale in Turin and presented by the painter at the 1864 Promotrice. Over the years, Ernesto Allason not only devoted himself to painting, but also to teaching, having among his pupils the future Queen Margherita, his cousin Silvio, Ernesto Bertea and Count Marcello Panissera di Veglio.