Massimo Campigli | Original prints, lithographs, etchings and illustrated books



"With a round I can make a head or a bust, putting above another round. The rectangle that frames the round I do not know, from the beginning, if it becomes shoulders or hat. "


(Massimo Campigli)




Massimo Campigli, pseudonym of Max Ihlenfeldt (Berlin, 4 July 1895 - Saint-Tropez, 31 May 1971), was an Italian painter.

In 1914 Max was hired by the Corriere della Sera as the special secretary of Renato Simoni. Max at that time approached the Milanese futurist current knowing Umberto Boccioni and Carlo Carrà, and with the pseudonym of Massimo Campigli he published in the Lacerba magazine an essay, Words in freedom, which he himself defined years later, in the Scrupoli manuscript, to have been one " Futurist nonsense ".

In June 1919 he was sent by the Corriere della Sera to Paris and as correspondent he relied on the editorial staff of the "Matin".

In Paris Campigli became passionate about painting, he lived some very intense years being a painter by day and a journalist by night. The newspaper passes him a decent salary, but in order to live his double life as a journalist and painter, and also to help his family in Florence, he is forced to live first in a squalid studio in Rue Daguere and then in Rue d'Alesia. Living in Montparnasse, he frequented the "Cafè Dôme", meeting place for artists from the École de Paris.

Turning out to be an excellent painter, he has already participated in the "Salon d'Automne" with the painting L'arrotino since 1921.

In 1922 he sold some of his works to the well-known Parisian art dealer Léonce Rosenberg.

In January 1923 he exhibited for the first time in Rome, with a preface by Emilio Cecchi, at the "Casa d'aste Bragaglia". In the same year he took part in the "Salon d'Automne" again in Paris.

Forms (with De Chirico, Tozzi, Severini, De Pisis, Paresce and Savinio) the group called "The Seven of Paris" (also called "Italiens de Paris"), a partnership that lasted until 1932.

In 1928 he made a trip to Italy with his wife Dutza to visit relatives in Florence; in summer he travels to Rome and, visiting the Etruscan National Museum of Villa Giulia, is fascinated by Etruscan art. Evidently impressed by the ancient frescoes, the painter changes his way of painting, bringing his painting technique closer to the fresco, using few colors and geometrizing figures and objects. The artist's artistic path led him to repudiate the previous pictorial experiences, which he himself would define "contradictory attempts", even to repaint his old canvases.

In 1936 Campigli married the sculptress Giuditta Scalini in Milan. In January he exhibited in New York at the "Julian Levy Gallery" and the success obtained brought him a series of portraits by his American collectors.

Campigli, signatory in 1933 with Carrà and Funi of Sironi's "Manifesto of mural painting", in the same year he decorated, together with Funi, De Chirico, Sironi and Severini, the ceremonial hall at the Triennale di Milano (now destroyed), one of the first experiences of wall painting.

In 1942 Campigli and Giuditta are expecting a son and, to escape the bombing of Milan, guests of the poet Diego Valeri go to Venice.

In Venice, on January 23, 1943, Giuditta gave birth to her son Nicola.

In 1949 he left Milan to move with his whole family to Paris on Rue Delambre, in the heart of Montparnasse. Massimo Campigli, who is now an international painter, makes the "Galerie de France" in Paris the exhibition base of his works, and in June he exhibits six important paintings at the MOMA in New York appearing alongside the most prestigious names of Italian art in the exhibition: Twenty -century Italian Art.

1966 is a very difficult year for Campigli: Giuditta dies in July in Saint-Tropez after a long illness.

Since 1967 Campigli divides his life between the Saint-Tropez and Rome studios, while Paris is increasingly abandoned. He enthusiastically prepares the highly popular Antologica that Milan will dedicate to him at the Palazzo Reale in June.

On the evening of May 31, 1971, he was struck down by a heart attack in Saint-Tropez.