Filippo de Pisis

Viewing Room

April in Paris is proud to present a presentation with works by Filippo de Pisis (*11 May 1896 Ferrara, IT | † 2 April 1956, Milan, IT). The painter and poet is considered one of the major interpreters of the Italian Art from the first half of the twentieth century.

Interno con vitellino squartato | 1929 | oil on canvas | 99 x 67 cm

Surviving two World Wars without depicting them as the subject of his paintings, de Pisis focuses on still lifes often combined with seascapes and stage-like deserted places, interior scenes of the everyday as well as paintings depicting urban landscapes of his time.


Filippo de Pisis | installation view | April in Paris | 2022

After the encounter with Futurism and Metaphysical Art, de Pisis travels to Paris where he studied the work of Eugène Delacroix and Manet, predecessors of Impressionism. Although being an acquaintance of the avant-garde, de Pisis did not belong to any particular artistic movement but borrowed elements from Futurism, the Valori Plastici, and metaphysical theories and incorporated them in his personal style. In his work, he tackled all the traditional genres of painting, achieving extraordinary compositions of light, atmospheres, and color tonalities.


Filippo de Pisis | Natura morta | 1934 | installation view| April in Paris

Natura Morta | 1934 | oil on canvas | 45 x 54 cm

Still life represents the genre par excellence in de Pisis’ work. Through the meditated mise-en-scene of fruit bodies and objects, a narrative full of suggestion is orchestrated, capable of creating fascination and drama.

Natura morta con melanzane e sgombri | 1926 | oil on canvas | 46.4 x 61.3 cm
Filippo de Pisis | Natura morta con melanzane e sgombri | 1926 | installation view | April in Paris

In this context, the theme of marine still life emerges in the dialectic between the infinitely small -a shell, some vegetables abandoned on the sand, a lobster, and the infinitely large -the sea in the background and the rarefied sky marked by a few clouds. These are works in which de Pisis reconciles his metaphysical reflections with the attachment to the reality of feelings that distinguishes him throughout his entire life.

Aragostine in riva al mare | 1950-51 | oil on canvas laid down on board | 49.5 x 70 cm

“At certain times, in certain lights, elegance and grace seem to take pleasure in coming down from the Olympus to embody themselves in the most humble aspects and creatures, of this spring city. Everything gets its own charm. ”

Filippo de Pisis


Filippo de Pisis | installation view| April in Paris | 2022

Viaggio ad oriente | 1934 | oil on linen | 38 x 55 cm

In addition to still lifes, recurring themes in de Pisis’ poetics are male nudes and images of hermaphrodites. Homosexual at a time when it was considered a taboo, de Pisis focuses all his reflections around the theme of life and its inexorable fleetingness, managing to make the intensity of the moment and the perception of its imminent dissolution palpable.

Giuseppe Marchiori wrote: “The Ephebes, the nudes with pierced hearts, the Apolli of the suburbs are worth as much as a vase of carnations or a twisted shell.”

Nudo disteso | pencil on paper | 35.6 x 37.3 cm

Filippo de Pisis | Ritratto di Bruno | 1943 | installation view | April in Paris

Painter and poet, de Pisis masters colors as much as words in order to communicate his art and philosophy, often draped in a kind of dark melancholy. His color palette in particular is quite unmistakable, passing from delicate pastel nuances, to ominous darker tones, which at times are broken up, almost wounded, by vivid dashes, defined by intellectual Eugenio Montale as “fly paw painting”.

Filippo de Pisis | Natura morta | 1947 | installation view | April in Paris
Natura Morta con ostriche | 1948 | oil on canvas | 30.3 x 45.3 cm
Filippo de Pisis | Casa colonica a Brugherio | 1951 | installation view | April in Paris
Casa colonico a Brugherio | 1951 | oil on canvas | 45.9 x 55.8 cm