press release

Segantini was seven years old when he arrived in Milan in April 1865. He left in autumn 1881, and moved to the Brianza area, then to the Canton of Grisons, and finally to the Engadin valley, where he died on 28 September 1899. But Milan, the adopted city of his training, remained his enduring human and cultural centre for the following two decades of his brief and meteoric trajectory. It was his contacts with the Milanese literary, artistic, musical and commercial circles that triggered his development from sel-taught to highly cultural artist, leading him to produce the visionary allegories of the final period, and from outsider to protagonist on international stage.

Segantini's Milan was the city of the Divisionist revolution and of that Symbolism which overshadowed the realist concerns of the declining Scapigliatura movement. Segantini, emblem of the former and heir of the latter, succeeded in the unique undertaking of fusing Divisionism, Symbolism and Naturalism. Though "from beyond the Alps", he became the master whom the whole Lombard art scene looked to.

In December 1899, soon afetr his sudden death, the Committee for G. Segantini Remembrances organized a show in the rooms of the Palazzo della Permanente, of a group of his works destined to the 1900 Exposition Universelle in Paris. Eighty years later (December 1978 - January 1979), the Società per le Belle Arti ed Esposizione Permanente delayed returning some paintings from an exhibition in Japan and put them on display for a month.

These were two isolated and fortuitous events. In between, his works have made only sporadic appearances in Milan, typically in historical or thematical exhibitions, or as elements of comparison in other artists' retrospectives. Moreover, one has to take into account the difficulty in obtaining loans of works scattered in museums and private collections the world over.

With its merits and inevitable lacunae, the current overdue exhibition aims to make up for over a century of neglect reconnecting Segantini's to his city through a web of mutual influences. Thus "Segantini. The Return to Milan" is not only a title tinted of nostalgia, but a dominant guiding thread.