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    Sale 7618

    The Italian Sale

    20 October 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 105

    Filippo Luigi de Pisis (1896-1958)

    La cena del cappuccino

    Price Realised  


    Filippo Luigi de Pisis (1896-1958)
    La cena del cappuccino
    oil, gouache and pencil on board
    13 3/8 x 19¼in. (34 x 49cm.)
    Painted in 1923

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    Painted in 1923, La Cena del cappuccino portrays the elements of a humble meal for a friar: a slender bottle of oil, a ceramic plate, a water jug, a large leek, an apple, a potato and an hourglass set against a wall. Yet in depicting these simple objects in such great scale, dominating the canvas, de Pisis has lent them a strange poetic monumentality. The juxtaposition of the hourglass, in particular, to the objects of a basic evening meal adds an enigmatic atmosphere fundamental to the artists associated with Pittura Metafisica. The metaphysical aspect of the composition has been emphasised by the startling blue and red in the centre of the hourglass within an otherwise subdued colour palette, further emphasised by the diagonal positioning of the leek, leading the viewer's eye to this mysterious component.

    De Pisis had known several of the artists associated with the Pittura Metafisica since 1916. It was in Ferrara, at the age of twenty, that he came into contact with Giorgio de Chirico, his brother Alberto Savinio and Carlo Carrà. His exposure to these avant garde artists during his formative period would play a significant role in his future artistic career. After moving to Rome in 1920, where he lived for the next five years, De Pisis, having focused much of his university studies on literary pursuits, became an intellectual advocate of Pittura Metafisica by collaborating with many publications including Valori Plastici. It was at this time that De Pisis increasingly turned to painting, as he began to collate the various influences drawn from his early humanist education, his exposure to the avant garde artists in Ferrara and the creative and reactionary atmosphere in Rome. In this framework, De Pisis painted the present picture, in which he seeks to fuse these seemingly disparate elements and personal tensions into a classical balance.

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    Masenza collection, Rome, by whom acquired from the artist, and thence by descent.
    Galleria dell'Oca, Rome.
    Acquired from the above by the present owner.

    Pre-Lot Text



    G. Ballo, De Pisis, Turin 1968, no. 143 (illustrated, p. 117, dated '1924').
    G. Briganti, De Pisis, Catalogo generale, vol. I, Opere 1908-1938, Milan 1991, no. 1923 2 (illustrated, p. 34).


    Venice, Palazzo Grassi, De Pisis, September-November 1983, no. 14 (illustrated).
    Tokyo, Seiji Togo Memorial Yasuda Kasai Museum of Art, Italian Still Life Painting, April-May 2001, no. 58 (illustrated, p. 96). This exhibition later travelled to Niigata City, Art Museum, June-July 2001; Hokkaido, Hakodate Museum of Art, July-September 2001; Toyama, Toyama Shimin Plaza Art Gallery, October 2001; Ashikaga, Museum of Art, November-December 2001; Yamagata, Museum of Art, April-May 2002.