EXCERPTS FROM THE SPEECH GIVEN BY TIZIANO THOMAS
DOSSENA, EDITORIAL DIRECTOR OF LíIDEA,
AT THE OPENING OF THE EXHIBITION ďACROSS
THE OCEAN: THE WORKS OF EMILIO GIUSEPPE DOSSENAĒ AT THE TRASK GALLERY OF
THE NATIONAL ART GALLERY ON THE 20TH OF NOVEMBER 1998.
"...The artistís path is clearly represented by
the order of the paintings, which are presented in chronological sequence. The
reasons for such developments are not so evident, though.
Starting as a neo-impressionist,
painting his impressions of the reality he perceived, Dossena had a
mild palette, reflecting his shyness even through his works. You can detect
that in his early works, up to the late 1940ís. Hues of browns, terra di
siena, burgundy pervade his paintings. Did he see existence as tedious and
assuasive? Was his life lacking
the stimuli to leap into the colorful world of nature? Not so. He was a happy
father of six children, working incessantly to give his family the necessities
of life. His palette was the result of pure observation and a bit of influence
left by his Academy teachers.
Even though he retained his stylistic choices and
provided the necessary restraints and control to his compositions, he acquired
a more vivid palette in the course of the 1950ís, also because of the
changes in the society around him and the newfound possibility to paint
The basic myth of modernism, inherited from before the
war, is one of revolt against what is established and recognized. Eventually,
though, the economic aspect reinforces the stylistic one and some kind of
compromise is reached. Emilio Giuseppe Dossena never revolted, just created
what he believed in, and did not allow the economic aspect to influence his
work. He achieved this by earning his living as a restorer of paintings and
neoclassical decorator. He did not consent to the system swallowing his art by
making him a product, creating a package and promoting him as such. Purely
commercial considerations never encouraged him to standardize his product or
to move forward by dramatic leaps regardless of his artistic feelings.
When he embraced neo-expressionism, he did so by a natural evolution
which was caused by the influence of New York City.
The artist emigrated at 65 to the USA. In NY he did not have the
opportunity to go outside and paint, except in rare occasions. Therefore he
found himself trapped in close environments. This prompted him to search for a
simplification and intensification of the forms of expression, achieving new
rhythms and colorfulness. He used colors in the orchestration of chromatic
harmonies which helped express what he had seen and felt, in an equilibrium of
forms and content not influenced by philosophical concepts or Romanticism. The
expression determined the form; the colors and the form themselves proceeded
to be the repositories of the pictorial idea.
He reproduced instantaneously and without falsification
whatever it was that drove him to paint. There was no schematicism, no
repetition; the form exemplifying the artistís experience transformed
constantly. The later works of the
1970ís, specially the series of small sized paintings, may be considered
non-figurative, although they do contain ciphers of natural objects. In the
treatment of the human form the artist moved toward simplification. The form
is wrestled away from nature, so that his art becomes the dominance and
interpretation of nature. We can find in these works a rhythmical, deliberate
network of colors applied in heavy, suffered strokes which evoke in their
final form an aggregate of living movement.
On his return to Italy, his works slowly embraced
post-impressionism, but his palette, influenced by the expressionist
experience, retained the stronger coloring. His capacity for experience,
heightened by the American period of residence, grew further and his feelings
were given visual forms in brilliant, radiant colors. You can observe this in
particular in the last painting that he painted, depicting my son William at
Emilio Giuseppe Dossena was a true artist and as his
son and the editorial director for LíIdea
I am proud to offer this tribute to his works.