FRANCESCO PAOLO MICHETTI (Italian / 1851-1929)

Francesco Paolo Michetti was born in Tocco da Casauria in Abruzzo, the region which was to be his lifelong inspiration. After learning the rudiments of art from a local fresco painter, Michetti was awarded a grant to study at the academy in Naples in 1868. The following year he returned to Abruzzo to work from life, though still retaining his grant. In 1872 and 1875 Michetti exhibited at the Paris Salon, and this made him aware of the Impressionist revolution. Paolo Michetti aligned himself with the Italian modernists. He was a member of the anti-academic Scuola di Resina, which had also nurtured Giuseppe de Nittis. In 1883 Paolo Michetti bought a former convent in Francavilla al Mare, and made it the centre of Abruzzo's cultural life over the next 20 years; one of his closest friends and associates was the writer Gabriele d'Annunzio. In the last decades of his life, Michetti largely abandoned both art and social life. The biography of Michetti on the Getty Museum site attributes this to the "lukewarm response to his paintings at the 1900 Exposition Universelle in Paris", but there must have been some deeper underlying disillusion, as in fact Paolo Michetti was awarded a gold medal at the 1900 Exposition Universelle. He had previously won gold medals in Berlin in 1886 and 1891, so as an artist he was far from neglected and misunderstood. Original etchings by Francesco Paolo Michetti almost never come on the market; only one (a proof of L'enfant au panier) has been offered at auction in the last 20 years.

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