Massimo Campigli biography




Massimo Campigli, at the registry office Max Hilenfeld, was a Italian painter among the most important and representative of the Italian twentieth century. He was born in Berlin in 1895 from a single mother who was just eighteen who, immediately after his birth, decided to move to Florence with his family.

The young Campigli grows up believing that his mother is his grandmother when in reality it is his aunt Paolina. At the age of fifteen he discovered the truth by pure chance, remaining greatly shaken. From that moment, in fact, he will see the female figure with different eyes.

During his classical studies, Massimo Campigli showed a strong interest in both literature and art. In 1914, at the age of nineteen, he began working at the Corriere della Sera and at the same time frequents the Milanese futurist environment by coming into contact with Umberto Boccioni It is Carlo Carrà.

When the First World War broke out, having applied to become an Italian citizen, Massimo Campigli was enlisted and sent to the front. In 1916 he was taken prisoner and spent some time in a security facility in Vienna, from where he managed to escape in 1917.

After returning to Italy, he returned to work for Corriere della Sera playing the role of correspondent in Paris. In the ville lumière, his passion for painting exploded, which led him for many years to work as a painter by day and a journalist by night. His excellent skills as an artist are immediately noticed. Some of his paintings are, in fact, sold to Leon Rosenberg, who was considered one of the most important art dealers in those years. As early as 1921, Campigli exhibited his first works at the Autumn Fair.

At the end of the 1920s, Massimo Campigli resigned from his post as a journalist at Corriere della Sera to devote himself completely to painting, creating the group that would take the name of "The seven of Paris", also known as "Italians from Paris". In addition to Campigli, the group consisted of De Chirico, Tozzi, Severini, De Pisis, Paresce It is Savino. The group will be active until 1932.

Also at the end of the 1920s, the painter went to Rome for a trip and visited, on that occasion, the Villa Giulia Museum remaining particularly impressed by the art of the Etruscans. This event fascinated him so much that it led him to change his way of painting, bringing his technique closer to that of the fresco, with a limited use of colors and a greater geometrization of the figures and objects.

An element always at the center of Massimo Campigli's works is the female figure which is surrounded by various subjects such as children, bathers and factories. These creatures were stylized, half idols and half toys, enclosed within their geometries, trapped in showcases made of paint.
His artistic change leads him to reject his old pictorial works, deciding to repaint the old canvases. The following decade, the 1930s, saw him as the protagonist of several personal exhibitions throughout Europe and in the major cities of the rest of the world.

During these years, he met and married the sculptor Giuditta Scalini and it was the period in which he painted various portraits for well-known American collectors. Massimo Campigli's growing attention to thefresco leads him to accept the task of frescoing a wall of the Palace of Justice in Milan on the occasion of the Universal Exposition.

During the Second World War, Massimo Campigli moved to Venice with his family to avoid the bombings. It is here that the first child Nicola was born. After the war, the artist returned to Milan and began to devote himself to lithography by illustrating The poems Of Paul Verlain.

In these years he exhibited all over the world. Some of the most noteworthy exhibitions, between the 1940s and 1950s, are those in Venice, Amsterdam, Rome, Paris, London, Manchester, Boston and New York.
His latest personal exhibition is organized  in Royal Palace in Milan. A few years later, in May 1971, Massimo Campigli died in Saint-Tropez.

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