Painting and Poetry. Ungaretti and the Art of Seeing
«I love so many cities, but the only one I would like to live in is Paris».
Giuseppe Ungaretti, Letter to Jean Paulhan, 1959
Tornabuoni Art Paris is pleased to present Painting and Poetry. Ungaretti and the Art of Seeing, an exhibition that celebrates the convergence of literature and visual arts through the figure of the Italian poet Giuseppe Ungaretti (Alexandria, Egypt 1888 – Milan 1970).
Ungaretti met Picasso, de Chirico, Severini in Paris on the eve of the First World War. Many years later, in Rome, he met Italian artists such as Dorazio, Capogrossi and Burri, among others. The intensity of these encounters, from Paris to Rome, made him more than a privileged witness of an unprecedented artistic period. Nurturing a deep fascination for painting, Ungaretti developed his own literary style in the continuity of languages, making possible a true encounter between the arts.
Establishing a link between poetry and painting, the exhibition is a continuation of the gallery’s exploration of the dialogue between artistic disciplines: it is a follow-up to Utopia, an interdisciplinary exhibition linking Italian art and design, which took place in 2019.
Painting and poetry. Ungaretti and the Art of Seeing is made possible by literary critic Alexandra Zingone, a leading expert on Ungaretti’s poetry, and her deep knowledge of the artists he met. This project marks the second stage of his collaboration with the gallery, following the success of the exhibition Piero Dorazio, Luminous Textures in 2021.
The project features writings, correspondence and poetry by Giuseppe Ungaretti alongside important works by prominent Italian and European artists from the 1910s to the 1960s, including Giacomo Balla, Ardengo Soffici, Corrado Cagli, Carlo Carrà, Gino Severini, Amedeo Modigliani, Giorgio de Chirico, Pablo Picasso, Enrico Prampolini, Ottone Rosai, Jean Fautrier, Giuseppe Capogrossi, Franco Gentilini, Alberto Burri and Piero Dorazio.
Figurative works such as Giovane seduta (1905) by Amedeo Modigliani and Piazza d’Italia con piedistallo vuoto (1955) by Giorgio de Chirico cover the walls of the second floor of the gallery, witnesses of Ungaretti’s Parisian encounters.
The exhibition continues and moves towards abstraction with major works by Alberto Burri, such as two Catrame from 1950, and Giuseppe Capogrossi with a selection of Superfici from the 1960s that bear his glyph and pay tribute to Ungaretti’s presence on the Roman art scene.
The exhibition concludes with the relationship between Giuseppe Ungaretti and Piero Dorazio, with historical pieces from the artist’s reticule series, such as Chez Andersen (1959), and La Luce (1971), a book made by the two artists, containing handwritten poems by Ungaretti and lithographs by Dorazio.
A catalog in Italian and English is published by Forma Edizioni on the occasion of the exhibition. It includes archival images and writings by Ungaretti, as well as a critical essay by Alexandra Zingone highlighting the importance of the relationship between painting and poetry in the poet’s production.
Pittura e poesia. Ungaretti e l’arte del vedere
exhibition catalogue edited by Forma Edizioni and Tornabuoni Art Paris. Texts by Alexandra Zingone. B/w and colored illustrations, 160 pages, 9,8×12,2 in, Italian/English, 2023.