Michele Cascella | Original prints, lithographs, etchings and illustrated books
Michele Cascella (Ortona, 7 September 1892 - Milan, 31 August 1989) was an Italian crepuscular painter and landscape painter. During her long artistic life articulated in nearly eight decades of intense activity, Cascella has been able to maintain a unique style, unmistakable and almost immune from the contaminations of the currents and avant-garde paintings of the twentieth century. His works, including paintings, tables, pastels and drawings, are exhibited in the most important Italian and international museums, including the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Galerie nationale du Jeu de Paume in Paris, the National Museum of History and Art in Luxembourg, the Musée d'Art Moderne in Brussels and the De Saisset Art Gallery of the University of Santa Clara in California, where a large permanent collection of works is exhibited. The graphic work is also copious, including lithographs, chromolithographs, serigraphs and etchings, techniques that he used as a boy and thanks to which he met - especially at the end of the twentieth century - and still retains notoriety among the general public.
The distinguishing traits of the painter contemplate the superb compositional capacity, to which are added the great mastery of the design and the vibrant colors, of which the floral compositions are exemplary, in which Cascella touches very high expressive peaks.
After having carried out the first artistic activities under the guidance of his father Basilio, in 1907 he held, together with his brother Tommaso, his first personal exhibition in the rooms of the Milanese Artistic Family.
In 1909, again with his brother Tommaso, he set up an exhibition in the Galleria Druet in Paris, participating in the Salon d'Automne in the same year. In 1911 he organized an exhibition of pastel drawings in the reduced of the Teatro dell'Opera in Rome. Between 1914 and 1915 he collaborated in La Grande Illustration published by his father Basilio with drawings and graphic illustrations, exhibiting in 1917 at the Salone della Stampa and in the Central Art Gallery in Milan. Participate in the First World War.
In Rome, in 1919, he held a personal exhibition at the Galleria Bragaglia and on that occasion he met Carlo Carrà who then allowed the transfer of the exhibition to Milan in the Galleria Lidel. In 1920 he settled permanently in Milan where he enthusiastically attended the poet Clemente Rebora, from whom he confessed that he had drawn inspiration for the realization of some of his works.
From 1928 to 1932 he traveled between Italy and Paris where, in 1937, he was awarded the gold medal at the International Exposition. In 1938 he made the sets for the opera Margherita da Cortona, represented at the Teatro alla Scala.
From 1928 to 1942 he is present at all editions of the Venice Biennale of Art, and in the 1948 edition he will have a personal room.
From 1938 he resides in Portofino, which becomes a source of inspiration for his late works. Between 1937 and 1938 he created a large mosaic in the new station of Messina Marittima, depicting Mussolini who, on a visit to Palermo, "elevated Sicily to the burden of being the Center of the Empire".
In the 1950s he created for the Italian ceramic company of Laveno a series of drawings (about 40) named, Italy seen by Michele Cascella. These were used for the decoration of important tableware made by the Laveno manufactory.
After the Second World War his exhibitions abroad were more frequent: Paris (in the fifties and sixties) but also South America (especially Buenos Aires and Montevideo) and the United States. And in the USA, in California, he will settle for long periods of time, alternating periods of stay in Italy (he has resided for a few years in the countryside near Colle Val d'Elsa) and in Europe. The most represented subjects are flowers, wheat fields and poppies, the landscapes of Abruzzo and Portofino. The anthological exhibitions of this period were important.