Giuseppe Ar was born in Lucera in 1898 into a family of modest means. Although he had to work from an early age, he devoted himself to his passion, drawing. His early works are still lifes in watercolour. His characteristic feature can be perceived even in these early, unripe works: a very delicate light that nostalgically bathes the environments that Giuseppe Ar portrays in their immutable, everyday silence. In fact, he prefers quiet, luminous domestic interiors, with few elements and few figures that encapsulate an intimate feeling of tranquillity and, at the same time, of unfathomable melancholy.
Intimate domestic interiors pervaded by a dusty, lyrical light
After moving to Rome, he began to frequent Antonio Mancini’s studio and took part in his first exhibition, the 1920 Roman Biennial, where he presented Jam, Coffee Service and Bottle, Glass and Candle, small, delicate still lifes that retain a kind of lyricism of silence and light.
Gradually, landscapes and everyday moments also became part of his repertoire, always accompanied by the dusty caress of that light which penetrates through the windows and softens the contours, making them blurred. While in Rome he continued to pursue his pictorial research, working in a gallery, a role that also allowed him to study different techniques, such as sanguine on paper.
Lucera: silence and light
After three years in Rome, Giuseppe Ar returned to his small town in Puglia, eager to rediscover the almost metaphysical calm that can be read in his paintings. Absorbed or concentrated figures in their works populate interiors pervaded by a rarefied calm, in which light seems to be the only element of energy.
Domestic peace is the sign that distinguishes the painter’s production, in the unchanging daily work and repeated rhythms of a serene and provincial dimension, in which everyone has their own role, which seems to be maintained in an eternal return. The lyricism of his compositions is often conveyed by his adoption of a highly personal Divisionism, made up of long shiny filaments that define objects and figures, as can be seen in the works By the Window, Work in Solitude and The Kitchen Window.
At the 1954 Venice Biennial he exhibited a number of works that represent his latest pictorial developments, marked by an increasingly rarefied and clear brushstroke: First Snow, Reviewing the Piano Lesson, First Melancholy, The Sleeping Drawing Room, Cats in the Sun. In 1955, he exhibited in Paris, but died shortly afterwards, still very young.