ALESSANDRO LA VOLPE
1819 – 1887 Italian
View of the Bay of Naples
Oil on relined canvas
Signed & indistinctly dated 1877
In original orientalist frame
Frame size: 34½ x 55½ inches / 86.5 x 114 cm
Stock Number: CW1618/spr13
Alessandro La Volpe was a landscape painter, who turned his focus primarily to Italian sites and monuments, Alessandro La Volpe was a master at capturing the brilliant light and dry climate of his native Italy. Born in Lucera in 1819, he was the son of an employee of the Real Collegio. After finishing his studies La Volpe moved to Naples and entered Accademia delle Belle Arti, where he studied with Salvatore Fergola (1799-1874), the official painter of ceremonies of the French Monarchy at Naples. La Volpe began exhibiting in Naples in 1848. In 1850 he was sent to Sicily and Egypt on an official mission with the Prince of Lichtenberg to record important monuments; the assignment of such a mission reveals an appreciation for La Volpe’s meticulous attention to detail, as well as his skill as an accomplished painter.
Upon his return to Italy, La Volpe moved to Florence, where he helped to found the Scuola di Staggia, a school of Romantic landscape painters. Sketching en plein air in the 1850s and 1860s, his work was characterized by a tendency to depict identifiable, usually picturesque locales in the Tuscan countryside, while focusing on specific peculiarities and everyday aspects. This focus on the everyday picturesque typified the work of the Scuola di Staggia. The name Staggia is derived from a village in the hilly region near Sienna where the Hungarian artist, Károly Markó, first painted in 1853. Markó was later joined by his sons Károly Markó II and András Markó and other artists from Florence and Naples, stimulating an exchange of ideas between the artists of the Neapolitan school and their Tuscan colleagues. This school provided a significant step in the development of landscape painting in Italy in the latter part of the 19th Century.
The Scuola di Staggia is significant for having been one of the earliest instances in Tuscany of a group of artists painting together from nature, a practice that greatly influenced the Macchiaioli circle of artists. The birth of the Scuola di Staggia put the artists of Tuscany in concert with their mid-century contemporaries in Paris and America.
Provenance: Private collection in America.
Illustrated on ‘For the Love of Arts’ Southern Accents magazine, October 1990, Page 84.