A Painter on a high Level

The reputation of Giovanni Segantini (1858-1899) rests on his depictions of the mountains and the lives of farmers who eked out an existence there. With Divisionism, he found a modern form of visual expression that made the Alps appear in a new, brilliant light and range of color. His oeuvre awakens a desire to experience unsullied nature. The exhibition in the Segantini museum in St. Moritz celebrates Segantini as a pioneer of modern painting, which he rejuvenated in parallel with Monet, van Gogh, Gauguin, Cézanne, and Klimt. It encompasses about seventy oils and drawings from all phases of the artist’s career. The exhibition traces his artistic development, which began with scenes from urban life and continued with depictions of the northern Italian lake district of Brianza, including the renowned Ave Maria a trasbordo. Together with Bice Bugatti and their four children, the stateless Segantini moved to Savognin, where he immersed himself in peasant culture and executed his first large-scale paintings of the Swiss Alps. Finally he settled with his family in Maloja, a village in Engadin, and spent the harsh winters in Bergell. His gigantic paintings were done outdoors, at higher and higher altitudes, culminating in the legendary Alpine Triptych, which was prepared in large-format studies. The progressive sublimation of his imagery led Segantini into a realm that lent the Alpine world the character of an earthly paradise. His last words were “voglio vedere le mie montagne” (I want to see my mountains).