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Emilio Giuseppe Dossena.

Excerpts of the opening speech of the Emilio Giuseppe Dossena's exhibition at the National Arts Club

...The artist's path is clearly represented by the order of the paintings, which are presented here in chronological sequence. The reasons for such developments are not so evident, though.
Starting as a neo-impressionist, painting his impressions of the reality he perceived, Dossena had a mild palette, reflecting his shyness even through his works. You can detect that in his early works, up to the late 1940's. Hues of browns, terra di siena and burgundy pervade his paintings. Did he see existence as tedious and assuasive? Was his life lacking the stimuli to leap into the colorful world of nature? Not so. He was a happy father of six children, working incessantly to give his family the necessities of life. His palette was the result of pure observation and a bit of influence left by his Academy teachers.
Even though he retained his stylistic choices and provided the necessary restraints and control to his compositions, he acquired a more vivid palette in the course of the 1950s, also because of the changes in the society around him and the newfound possibility to paint landscapes.
The basic myth of modernism, inherited from before the war, is one of revolt against what is established and recognized. Eventually, though, the economic aspect reinforces the stylistic one and some kind of compromise is reached. Emilio Giuseppe Dossena never revolted, just created what he believed in, and did not allow the economic aspect to influence his work. He achieved this by earning his living as a restorer of paintings and neoclassical decorator.
He did not consent to the system swallowing his art by making him a product, creating a package and promoting him as such. Purely commercial considerations never encouraged him to standardize his product or to move forward by dramatic leaps regardless of his artistic feelings. When he embraced neo-expressionism, he did so by a natural evolution which was caused by the influence of New York City.
The artist emigrated at 65 to the USA. In New York he did not have the opportunity to go outside and paint, except in rare occasions. Therefore he found himself trapped in close environments. This prompted him to search for a simplification and intensification of the forms of expression, achieving new rhythms and colorfulness. He used colors in the orchestration of chromatic harmonies which helped express what he had seen and felt, in an equilibrium of forms and content not influenced by philosophical concepts or Romanticism. The expression determined the form; the colors and the form themselves proceeded to be the repositories of the pictorial idea.
He reproduced instantaneously and without falsification whatever it was that drove him to paint. There was no schematicism, no repetition; the form exemplifying the artist's experience transformed constantly.
The later works of the seventies, specially the series of small sized paintings, may be considered non-figurative, although they do contain cyphers of natural objects. In the treatment of the human form the artist moved toward simplification. The form is wrestled away from nature, so that his art becomes the dominance and interpretation of nature. We can find in these works a rhythmical, deliberate network of colors applied in heavy, suffered strokes which evoke in their final form an aggregate of living movement.
On his return to Italy, his works slowly embraced post-impressionism, but his palette, influenced by the expressionist experience, retained the stronger coloring. His capacity for experience, heightened by the American period of residence, grew further and his feelings were given visual forms in brilliant, radiant colors. You can observe this in particular in the last painting that he painted, number 35, depicting my son William at two.
Emilio Giuseppe Dossena was a true artist and as his son and the editorial director for L'Idea I am proud to offer this tribute to his works.

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