Luigi Lucioni (1900-1988)
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Luigi Lucioni (1900-1988)

Red Checkered Tablecloth

Details
Luigi Lucioni (1900-1988)
Red Checkered Tablecloth
signed and dated 'Lucioni/27' (lower left)
oil on canvas
24 x 30 in. (61 x 76.2 cm.)
Painted in 1927.
Provenance
The artist.
[With]Feragil Gallery, New York.
Leo Bing, Los Angeles, California, acquired from the above, 1927.
Anna Bing Arnold, Los Angeles, California, acquired from the above.
The Frederick S. Wight Art Gallery of the University of California, Los Angeles, California, gift from the above, circa 1958.
Sotheby Parke-Bernet, Los Angeles, California, Selected Paintings and Drawings from the Collection of the University of California, Los Angeles, 6 October 1981, lot 415, sold by the above.
Hirschl & Adler Galleries, Inc., New York, acquired from the above.
Bogart Gallery, New York, acquired from the above, 1983.
D. Wigmore Fine Art, Inc., New York, acquired from the above, 1983.
Acquired by the late owner from the above, 1983.
Literature
H. McBride, "Attractions in Local Galleries," New York Sun, November 10, 1928, pp. B13, B16, illustrated.
World, November 1928.
Art in America, vol. 70, no. 42, April 1982, cover illustration.
B. Gallati, “Lines of a Different Character: American Art 1927-1947,” Arts, vol. 57, no. 8, April 1983, pp. 40-41, illustrated.
Antiques, vol. 124, December 1983, p. 1132, illustrated.
J. Baker, Henry Lee McFee and Formalist Realism in American Still Life, 1923-1936, Lewisberg, Pennsylvania, 1987, pp. 75-76, illustrated.
S.P. Embury, The Art and Life of Luigi Lucioni: A Contribution Towards A Catalogue Raisonné, Holdrege, Nebraska, 2006, pp. 94, 273, no. 27.12, illustrated.
D. Ngo, ed., Art + Architecture: The Ebsworth Collection + Residence, San Francisco, California, 2006, n.p., illustrated.
Exhibited
New York, Ferargil Gallery; New York, Anderson Galleries, Tiffany Foundation 9th Annual Exhibition, 1927, no. 5.
New York, Hirschl & Adler Galleries, Inc., Lines of a Different Character: American Art 1927-1947, November 13, 1982-January 8, 1983, no. 73.
St. Louis, Missouri, St. Louis Art Museum; Honolulu, Hawaii, Honolulu Academy of Arts; Boston, Massachusetts, Museum of Fine Arts, The Ebsworth Collection: American Modernism 1911-1947, November 20, 1987-June 5, 1988, pp. 12, 126-27, 211, no. 41, illustrated (as Still Life with Peaches (Red Checkered Tablecloth)).
Washington, D.C., National Gallery of Art; Seattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, Twentieth-Century American Art: The Ebsworth Collection, March 5-November 12, 2000, pp. 168-70, 290, no. 41, illustrated (as Still Life with Peaches (Red Checkered Tablecloth)).
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Audubon to Warhol: The Art of American Still Life, October 27, 2015-January 10, 2016, pp. 230-31, no. 104, illustrated (as Still Life with Peaches (Red Checkered Tablecloth)).
Special notice

On occasion, Christie's has a direct financial interest in the outcome of the sale of certain lots consigned for sale. This will usually be where it has guaranteed to the Seller that whatever the outcome of the auction, the Seller will receive a minimum sale price for the work. This is known as a minimum price guarantee. This is such a lot.

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Lot Essay

Guiseppe Luigi Carlo Benvenuto Lucioni enjoyed a prosperous sixty-year career. Known simply as Luigi Lucioni, at just thirty-two years old, the Italian-born artist became the first and youngest contemporary American painter to have a work purchased by Metropolitan Museum of Art (Pears with Pewter, 1930). His original painting style spared him from the contentiousness of Modernist circles and attracted major attention from museums, critics and reliable patronage. While he respected the artistic trends of the period, Lucioni looked beyond what was in-vogue in favor of technical skill. He said, “My fundamental belief is to paint life as I see it in all its forms, but I also believe in superb craftsmanship and have based my ideas of the craftsmanship in the works of the 14th, 15th, and 17th centuries. I also find tremendous achievement in the French painters of Cézanne, Renoir, and Degas caliber…I believe that an artist should be a master of his craft regardless of what his own particular viewpoint is. My demands are only craftsmanship” (L. Lucioni, quoted in S. Embury, The Art and Life of Luigi Lucioni: A Contribution Towards a Catalogue Raisonné, Holdrege, 2006, pp. 30-31).

Lucioni’s exposure to Renaissance art derived from a trip back to Italy in 1925, following years of study at Cooper Union and the National Academy of Design in New York. After experiencing what he felt was a revelation on these travels, the trajectory of his work changed forever. Studying “with the thoroughness of a scholar,” according to the journalist Adeline Lobdell Pynchon, Lucioni’s findings in Italy gave him a newfound self-assurance in his own work. Pynchon reported him recalling, “I felt that the old masters must have had a passionate belief in themselves, in their own methods, or they wouldn’t have produced those great works of art. It gave me confidence in myself” (S. Embury, ibid, p. 81). Accordingly, Lucioni adopted the confident realism achieved by the Old Masters, such as Botticelli and Piero della Francesca, painting with painstaking attention to detail and design. He faithfully rendered his subjects down to the most miniscule of details, even being rumored to paint every leaf on a tree.

As demonstrated by the present work, still lifes allowed Lucioni to nurture his vision by bringing together intricate patterns, textures and color into one arrangement. An impressive and early example, Red Checkered Table Cloth exhibits his exceptional talent for creating diverse compositions. The artist accounts for all details, from the creases of the tablecloth, to the imperfections in the walls, to the subtle reflection captured in the glass. The artist explains, “…I deliberately thought these things out beforehand… you try awfully hard to make a still life look as though it was casual… but I don’t think there is anything casual in art… very often they look contrived, but my idea was to sort of compose things, but to put the realism in so it would look as if it were there” (L. Lucioni, quoted in B. Robertson, Twentieth-Century American Art: The Ebsworth Collection, exh. cat., Washington, D.C., 1999, p. 170).

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