Teodoro Duclere was born in Naples in 1815 to a French family. He was one of the first and most important pupils of Antoon Sminck van Pitloo, to whom he also had a personal connection as he married his daughter Sofia. He became part of the Posillipo School, so much so that his views were often exchanged with those of the master or his friend Giacinto Gigante.
One of his earliest paintings, The Boat, of 1838, was initially attributed to Gigante, but in later years, Duclere’s characteristic marker was identified, distinguishing him from the other two. The artist is very attentive to the detailed and meticulous rendering of reality, often constructed through a rigorous geometric layout.
Typically, Duclere prefers landscape views, seascapes, views of architecture and interiors that exploit the small format, treated with both oil and watercolour. His real debut dates back to the Bourbon Exhibition of 1837, where he presented View of Naples from the Scudillo, while Old Chapel at Chiatamone dates back to 1839.
The Posillipo School
His closeness to Gigante can be seen in his more mature phase: the two shared the same pictorial intentions as well as a long and profound friendship. In his late phase, his oils and watercolours are denoted by a remarkable freedom and breadth of brushstroke, very close in liquidity to Gigante’s and further away from Pitloo’s. In any case, the rigidity of the classical view remains in Duclere as one of his most characteristic elements.
Very important are the paintings presented during the 1950s at the Bourbon Exhibitions: View of Sorrento, Landscape with haouse, The Siren’s Bath, Tasso’s House in Sorrento. In 1857, he was asked to illustrate with drawings, together with Palizzi and Mattej, the volume Usi e costumi di Napoli e contorni by Francesco de Bourcard. After the Unification of Italy, he participated in the Neapolitan Promotrici until shortly before his death and, in the meantime, he became an adjunct professor at Smargiassi’s School of Landscape at the Academy.
At the 1862 Promotrice he presented Amalfi, at the 1863 Promotrice he presented Theatre Taormina and The valley of Amalfi, and at the 1864 Promotrice he presented two watercolours: Monumento sepolcrale di Jacopo Sannazzaro in S. Maria del Porto a Mergellina and Entry of Sagrestia di San Lorenzo. During these years, the painter built up a solid relationship with Count Pompeo Correale, who became one of his most loyal and devoted collectors. This aspect is also emphasised by the numerous views that Duclere executed on the Correale family’s estates, especially near Sorrento. One of these is The valley of the mills of Sorrento, a particularly loose and luminous view of one of the most evocative places in the Sorrento area. Also active in his maturity, he died in Naples in 1869. In the same year, as a sign of total appreciation and recognition for his late friend, Count Pompeo Correale purchased a vast series of Duclere’s works, which later became part of the Correale Museum in Sorrento.