Leonardo Dudreville

(Venezia, 1885 – Ghiffa, 1976)


Leonardo Dudreville (Venice 1885 - Ghiffa, Novara 1975) grew up as a painter studying in Brera and then moved to Paris (Autumn 1906), together with artists like Anselmo Bucci, Aroldo Bonzagni and Gino Severini. Afterwards, he worked together with "The Italian Pointillist School" (Divisionist), under Alberto Grubicy's direction. In 1910 Leonardo Dudreville settled in Milan where he tried to join the Futurists, but was rejected as Umberto Boccioni did not want him to enter the movement. As a consequence, Leonardo conceived his own pictorial revolution: his theories and pictures were different from those of the Futurists. Currently this is known as 'abstract' painting. He exhibited this kind of work in 1914, with the movement of "Nuove Tendenze". It was a "para-avant-garde" group, that is to say a group of artists who believed in the renewal of arts, but not in the destruction of all the traditional links with the art market and the public. After the First World War, Dudreville tried to join the Futurists again and this time he was successful: he presented fifteen pictures at the "Esposizione nazionale futurista", opened on 22 March 1919 in Milan. When Boccioni died, the movement, which was directed by Marinetti, proposed itself as the guide of all Italian avant-garde artists, indiscriminately. In the meantime, many artists began painting with a new synthetic and intelligible conception of form and reality. It was the "return to order". Following both of these movements, Leonardo, with other painters (Funi, Russoli and Sironi), subscribed to a Futurist Manifesto, entitled Contro tutti i ritorni in pittura. Here he declared that the new art should be based on avant-garde experiences and not on national classical traditions; but he also explained that the new painting should be legible and understandable to the general public. At the same time, De Chirico, Carra and other artists were working on the Italian ancient tradition and the new philosophies of art, in order to melt the past into the new anxious necessity of the modern society. In the years 1919-1922 all those artists met each other at the same national and international exhibitions; some of them practised Futurism, Abstraction, Primitivism or simple Realism at the same time; and they all attracted attention of the same art critics. It was the season of "Movimentismo", the period of the greatest and largest theoretic and associative activity. The story of Leonardo Dudreville offers an interesting example of this moment in Italian art.

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