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Mario Cavaglieri

( Rovigo 1887 - Peyloubère 1969 )


    Mario Cavaglieri

    He trained in Padua, meeting Casorati, and from 1910 began sending his paintings to exhibitions at Ca’ Pesaro and from 1912 to the Venice Biennials. In 1912 came the decisive meeting with Giulietta Catellini, who soon became his muse. From 1925 he moved to France, near Auch, where he devoted himself to the pleasure of fine painting, executing portraits, outdoor scenes and still lifes.

    His language is brought up to date with international post-impressionism through a peculiar mellow and chromatically vivid painting.

    Card: In the centre of the composition, in the foreground on a table, a bouquet of gladioli and other flowers is arranged in a richly decorated vase. In the background, the dense vegetation of the Peyloubère park. Specially created for a panel in a friend’s house (Vareilles 2006, vol. II, p. 294), the painting, dated 1963, is part of the painter’s mature production and takes up a subject that was dear to the artist and repeatedly explored in the arc of his oeuvre.

    In contrast to many of his paintings with flower vases, in which the almost neutral background closes off the composition, here the natural backdrop with the trees and bushes of the park gives the painting great openness and depth, in a mixture of still life and landscape. The artist, who is interested in the relationship between indoors and outdoors, tends to superimpose and even partly merge the flowers in the foreground and the vegetation in the background.

    The large-format canvas is characterised by a burst of colour, a warm dominant with earths, reds, oranges and yellows coming forward, and a cooler dominant with greens and blues in the upper part. The material brushstrokes, the mellow, generous painting are, together with a taste for decorativism, a recognisable and original feature of Cavaglieri’s painting.

    Painting that in his formative years had been brought up to date through contact with the works of international artists such as Ensor, Munch, Klimt, Toulouse Lautrec and Renoir, who were present at the most important Italian exhibitions of the period, and later enriched by the discovery in Paris of the violent chromatism of the Fauves and the sensitivity of Bonnard and Vouillard. In the large-format canvases of the so-called ‘brilliant years’ (1913 – 1920) Cavaglieri portrays female figures in sumptuous interiors, full of precious objects, rendered with a pictorial material that is always rich, at times tormented, heir not only to Veneto colour but also to the expressionism of Kokoscha and Nolde.

    Expressionism that, filtered through a decorative taste of Viennese ascendancy, will be an undercurrent of his painting, a richly evocative style that will always earn him the favour of the public and the critics. With the exception of the war years, when the painter, persecuted by racial laws, was forced into hiding, from 1925 until the last years of his life Cavaglieri lived in the beloved Peyloubère countryside, alternating long stays in Paris.

    His works reflect his desire for a freer painting, far removed from conditioning and worldly life. A painting in which the suggestions of post-impressionism are evident, but also the influence of his friend De Pisis. His favourite subjects are landscapes, foreshortenings, still lifes and vases of flowers. A prolific and tireless artist, in him life and art always coincide.


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