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 Luigi Lucioni  (1900 - 1988)

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Lived/Active: New Jersey/New York/Vermont / Italy      Known for: landscape, still life, and portrait painting, etching

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Ad Code: 2
Luigi Lucioni
from Auction House Records.
Portrait of Bob
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in Malnate, Italy, in 1900, Luigi Lucioni became one of America's well-known landscape painters, whose work has been noted for its heightened realism and photographic attention to detail.

Lucioni immigrated to the United States with his family in 1911.  In 1915 he won a competition which allowed him to attend Cooper Union, and he began studying there with William Starkweather.

In 1920, he studied with William Auerbach Levy at the National Academy of Design, and in 1922 was the recipient of a Tiffany Foundation Scholarship. The Fellowship enabled him to go back to his homeland in 1924 to study Italian primitives.  He responded immediately to the realism of early Renaissance painting, which left a lasting impression on his work.

As he incorporated realism into his own work, Lucioni's paintings became more meticulous. His crisp, somewhat flat pattern and detail have been likened to the microscopic approach of the fifteenth-century Flemish masters. Lucioni's attention to detail can also be traced to his early work as an etcher in 1922, when he mastered that technique which stresses sharp linear precision, a skill instrumental in developing his precise painting style.

Beginning in 1929, he spent part of each year in Manchester Depot township in Vermont, where he painted still lifes and landscapes of the hills and barns.  In the 1930s, while European modernism was gaining momentum in the United States, Lucioni remained committed to realism.  His painting Long Island Landscape (oil on canvas, 1930) depicts a nation that has tamed its wilderness.  The image shows a field that has been cultivated for decades, a deeply rutted road, and a tired fence; all depictions of a country in the midst of the Depression.

He later taught at the Art Students' League in New York, and maintained a studio in that city's picturesque Washington Square.  He also had a longstanding love of the opera, and corresponded with various opera singers, including Giovanni Martinelli, Gladys Swarthout, Cesara Valletti, and others.

He won many honors during his distinguished career. He took first prize in 1939 at the Carnegie International Exhibition for a portrait of Ethel Waters.  His 1941 portrait of John La Farge was voted best painting by visitors to the Corcoran Biennial in Washington, D.C. Lucioni was a member of the Society of American Etchers (Brooklyn), and the Allied Art Association.

Despite his lack of conscious effort toward the experimental or avant-garde, Lucioni's work has always been popular.  He spent his last years in Union City, New Jersey and died in 1988.

Michael David Zellman, 300 Years of American Art

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following information is from Dr. John J. Siudmak, a retired physician from New Jersey.

I became a personal friend of Luigi Lucioni through my purchase of one of his still-life paintings.  I purchased it from Deeley Gallery in Manchester, Vermont.  The dealer told me that Luigi lived in the adjoining township of Manchester Depot.  I wrote a letter to him regarding my purchase of his painting.  He graciously responded and left a standing invitation to visit him, which I did.  He lived in a small farm house with his two sisters.  He never married.  I toured his home and barn where he did some of his paintings (he preferred the outdoors).

He said he was awarded the honor of Artist Laureate of Vermont.  He resided in Vermont during the Spring and Summer months.  His first love was to paint the red barns (but stated that they were just about gone).  He second love were the birch trees, a grove of which was on the nearby golf course.  He was given special permission to utilize this scenery at will.  His favorite companion, a terrier, always accompanied him.  This typical scene was recorded on a special TV half-hour documentary on Channel 13 about Luigi (famous American artist series). Unfortunately one day the dog was killed by a golf cart.  It took him a long time to get over it.

My many visits would end with dinner at his favorite 5-star restaurant called the "The Tolgate" (French cuisine).  During the winter months he lived with his two sisters) in a brownstone house on 12th street, downtown Manhattan.

On visiting him there he mentioned that most of his still lifes were done at this abode.  At my first visit I was attracted by a pair of bronze " hands " on his Steinway grand piano. He said these were the death casts of Arturo Toscanini.  The only other copy was in the Toscanini family possession.  He and the conductor had become personal friends, which commenced during a transatlantic cruise in the 1930's.

He also told me that he, Lucioni, was the youngest artist to be represented in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (1929).  He was an expert in Italian opera and was a frequent guest panelist for the opera quiz segment at the live radio broadcasts of the Metropolitan Opera.

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Luigi Lucioni was born on November 4, 1900 in Mainate, near Milan, Italy. He immigrated to the United States with his family in 1911.  Continuing his early art studies begun in his native country, he attended Cooper Union, where he was a pupil of William Starkweather, and the National Academy of Design.  He was awarded a Tiffany Foundation Fellowship in 1922 to study and travel in Italy, where the realism of early Renaissance painting left a lasting impression on his work.  He was an accomplished composer as well as a painter; he was of medium height and was boyish in appearance.

Beginning in 1929, he spent part of each year in Stowe, Vermont, where he painted still lifes and landscapes. In the 1930s while European modernism was gaining momentum in the United States, Lucioni remained committed to realism.

He later taught at the Art Students League in New York and maintained a studio in the Washington Square area of New York. He continued his love for opera; his studio was always alive with personalities of the art and operatic world.  Lucioni was an accomplished composer as well as a painter.

He spent his last years in Union City, New Jersey and died in 1988.

Written and submitted by Jean Ershler Schatz, artist and researcher from Laguna Woods, California.

From the internet,
Mantle Fielding's Dictionary of American Painters, Sculptors and Engravers, 1986-87

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following Obituary, submitted by Sidney Hamper, is from the files of the Vanderpoel Art Association:

REALIST ARTIST LUIGI LUCIONI, 87 (New York Times News Service)

Luigi Lucioni, a realist painter known for his landscapes and portraits, has died at age 87.  Mr. Lucioni had considerable success early in his career.  By popular vote, he won first prize at the 1939 Carnegie International Exhibition for the portrait of Ethel Waters.  Also, by popular vote, his painting won first prize at the Corcoran Biennials of 1939, 1941,1947 and 1949.

He was born in 1900 in Malnate, near Milan in northern Italy, and came to the United States when he was 10.  He studied at Cooper Union and the National Academy of Design. Mr. Lucioni's work is in the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

He died in his home in New York's Greenwich Village on Friday. There are no survivors.

Biography from The Caldwell Gallery :
Luigi Lucioni, best known for his realist landscapes and still lifes, immigrated to the U.S. in 1911 and settled in New Jersey. Lucioni pursued his interest in art by attending evening courses at Copper Union from 1916-1920, then proceeded to the National Academy of Design from 1920 to 1925, and was awarded the Tiffany Foundation Scholarship, enabling him to return to Italy briefly.

Lucioni established a studio in Washington Square, NYC, where he remained active until 1945.

Lucioni's attention to detail comes as a result of his work as an etcher (1922), which stressed sharp, linear precision. While he was in Italy, Lucioni studied early Renaissance work that left a lasting impression on the artist. His crisp, detailed, flat patterns are similar to 15th century Flemish Masters.

Lucioni won many honors throughout his career and taught portrait painting at the Art Students League in NYC.

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