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Alessandro Magnasco- Alfred Flechtheim
Art dealer of the Avantgarde

Alessandro Magnasco

04.02.1667 Genoa - 12.03.1749 Genoa
Alfred Flechtheim and Alessandro Magnasco

Alessandro Magnasco (also known as Lissandrino) was an Italian painter and draughtsman of the Late Baroque period. Born in 1667 in Genoa his father was the artist Stefano Magnasco. He began his apprenticeship in 1681 or 1682 in the workshop of the painter Filippo Abbiati in Milan. The city in Lombardy was where he was predominantly active. Magnasco was a ‚figurista’ – a specialist in small figures added as staffage to paintings by landscape and ‚vedute’ artists with whom he cooperated. From 1703 he worked with Antonio Francesco Peruzzini at the court of Ferdinando de Medici in Florence. Magnasco returned to Milan in 1709 where he received commissions from intellectual aristocrats in the years that followed. From 1720–25 he developed his own landscape compositions, incorporating architectural features and ruins. In 1735 Magnasco went back to Genoa where he died in 1749.

The artist often chose earthy colours and cultivated a pronounced contrast between light and dark. He outlined the objects in his pictures with sweeping brushstrokes which produced elongated figures and eccentric gestures. His genre scenes are idiosyncratic reflections on Netherlandish painting. Graphic works by the artists Egbert van Heemskerck and Jacques Callot inspired Magnasco to tackle unusual subjects such as Quakers, the Inquisition and torture scenes. In addition, his themes included synagogue interiors, monks, beggars and seafarers.

The rediscovery of Magnasco in the 20th century is largely attributable to the publication of a monograph by Benno Geiger in 1914 and a series of exhibitions of the artist’s work held in Berlin, Cologne, Munich and Paris. Magnasco’s partially gloomy but expressive painterly style led to him being compared to Francesco de Goya. It was the unfamiliar and bizarre in his painting that appealed to art dealers such as Alfred Flechtheim and his contemporaries who believed they could recognise a precursor of modernism in Magnasco’s work.

Individual exhibitons at the Galerie Flechtheim

Mai 1920

Alessandro Magnasco 1667-1749
Düsseldorf, Königsallee 34

Group exhibitions at the Galerie Flechtheim

November 1932

Auktion Gemälde alter und neuer Meister aus dem Nachlass geheimer Kommerzienrat M. Leiffmann Düsseldorf und aus deutschem Museums- und Privatbesitz
Düsseldorf, Palasthotel Breidenbacher Hof