Crowned Vermont’s “painter laureate” by Life magazine in 1937, Luigi Lucioni’s artwork—and his story—are simultaneously foreign and familiar.
Born into a working class family in northern Italy, Lucioni immigrated to America at age ten, arriving at New York’s 34th Street pier on August 9, 1911. Transferred to Ellis Island with his mother and sisters for inoculations and processing, his first name was anglicized to Louis. His artistic training in New York included study at The Cooper Union, the National Academy of Design, and several prized residencies at The Tiffany Foundation. Eventually, Lucioni traveled back to Europe to absorb the lessons of Renaissance masters like Raphael, Mantegna, Bellini, and Piero della Francesca.
Widely known for his paintings and etchings of barns and birch trees, Lucioni was a realist practicing at the height of the American art world’s obsession with abstract representation. Created over the course of more than five decades, his body of work includes bucolic landscapes, spare portraits, and curious, sometimes surreal, still lifes that are in conversation with the work of American modernist painters, photographers, writers, and musicians. When considered together, these pictures capture a particular view of 20th-century Vermont while also revealing clues to the artist’s private identity.
This online exhibition is the precursor to an exhibition at the Museum on view from June 25 to October 16, 2022.
Fresh scholarship and perspectives examining Italian-American modernist Luigi Lucioni’s highly realistic and romanticized still lifes, landscapes, and portraits by David Brody, Thomas Denenberg, Katie Wood Kirchhoff, Alexander Nemerov, Nancie Ravenel, and Richard Saunders. Available May 2022.