By Martina Tanga,
Milanese art entrepreneur, writer, and painter Vittore Grubicy de Dragon was born on this day in 1851. He was a member of the Italian Divisionist movement and in 1891 he organized the first large exhibition of Italian Divisionist painting at Milan’s Brera Triennial. More than anything else, Grubicy was a visionary art dealer, and in his own gallery he zealously supported Divisionist artists Giovanni Segantini, Emilio Longoni and Angelo Morbelli. Like Paul Durand-Ruel in Paris, who promoted the work of the Impressionists, Grubicy was a clever businessman. Indeed, his gallery became one of the first art enterprises to treat living, exhibiting artists as clients of the gallery. In search for new artistic talent, Grubicy traveled widely across Europe. He absorbed George Seurat and Paul Signac’s pointillist experiments in France and Vincent van Gogh’s expressive landscapes in the Netherlands. Grubicy brought these ideas back to Italy, persuading Italian artists, such as Segatini and Morbelli to paint in the avant-garde style. As of 1889, however, Grubicy left the gallery business to his brother, Alberto, and dedicated himself completely to writing about art – particularly promoting the Divisionist painters – in leftist publications such as La Riforma, La Critica d’Arteand L’Idea Liberale. Grubicy also began to paint himself, and he had his first solo exhibition in 1894. His own career as an artist was short-lived, unfortunately, as he suffered from health problems and virtually stopped painting as of 1900. Throughout his entire career Grubicy always had an exceptional eye for new talent, and he spent the last decade of his life promoting the work of emerging artists such as Carlo Carrà and Arturo Tosi.
Giovanni Segantini, Portrait of Vittore Grubicy, n.d. Oil on canvas
Vittore Grubicy, Morning, 1898, Oil on canvas
Vittore Grubicy, Landscape, 1896, Oil on canvas