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Pre-war Period 1895 - 1914
Friday, 03 June 2011 10:30

The International Art Exhibition of Venice officially opened on 30 April 1895 in the shadow of the large European salons as an initiative of the Municipality of Venice and its mayor at the time, Riccardo Selvatico. Its initial design, typical of an ambitious exhibition of the periphery and of an event aimed at developing tourism, was intended to inform domestic artists and the public about developments in the international fine art scene, which at the time was changing rapidly. It also sought to offer the appropriate conditions for the creation and development of a new important centre of European contemporary artistic creation.
The organisers chose as the main exhibition venue the area of the Giardini, a 3,810 square metre public park outside the city of Venice itself, which was created during the Napoleonic era. The newly built Palazzo dell'Esposizione, nowadays known as Padiglione Italia since its refurbishment, was inaugurated that same year in great splendour and hosted – among others – the first significant international artists of the exhibition. The fact that Gustave Moreau, Edward Burne-Jones and Max Liebermann participated in the first Biennale revealed the organisers' aesthetic choices, as well as the strong influence on the intellectual elite of Venice both of the Symbolist Movement and the prevailing Central European culture of the late 19th century.
The unforeseen great success of the first editions, the recorded high visitor numbers (200,000 visitors on average at the first exhibitions in the 19th century), as well as the rich cultural heritage of the city, which attracted many visitors, gradually provoked the fervent interest of the international art community and resulted in the organisers being faced for the first time with the issue of having to increase the Biennale venues. This model was also adopted by the large international exhibitions, which historically grew up from the mid 19th century onwards, mainly in the field of commercial activity, within which each country organised its participation in autonomous venues. Within the frame of trans-national agreements, the construction of the first national pavilions around the Palazzo dell'Esposizione started in 1895 and the expenses were paid by the interested countries. Belgium was the first (L. Sneyens, 1907), followed by Hungary (G. Rintel Maróti, 1909), Germany (D. Donghi, 1909), Great Britain (E. A. Rickards, 1909), France (F. Finzi, 1912), the Netherlands (G. F. Boberg, 1912) and – just before the outbreak of World War I – Russia (A. V. Scusev, 1914). It has now become clear that the creation of national pavilions was a strategic choice that enabled the institution to quickly acquire an international character and offered Biennale the opportunity to play, in a relevantly short time, a significant role on the chessboard of international geopolitical relations.
On the artistic level, up until the beginning of the 20th century, the Venice Biennale insisted on showcasing the mid 19th century official academic art, ignoring in an almost provocative way the developments in French art, and Impressionism above all. It became affiliated with the International Art Exhibition of Munich, following its organisational model, and was influenced by the art environment of the 'Munich Secession', and in a broader sense by the decorative and applied arts. The organisers' evident interest in the art of the 'Germanic countries' of the time was crowned at the end of the first decade of the 20th century with the presence in Venice of the most important representative of the 'Vienna Secession' movement, Gustav Klimt. The 9th International Exhibition successfully showcased significant works created during the Austrian painter and engraver's 'golden period', such as Judith II (1909), which now belongs to the collection of the Gallery of Modern Art in Venice.
The first French influences became evident during the 1901 Biennale edition, at which 20 sculptures by Rodin were shown, along with works by Corot and Millet within the frame of a tribute to French landscape painting of the 1830s. Presentation of the Impressionists was delayed until the first Renoir retrospective (1910), which became a landmark after which many tributes to the French art movement were regularly organised. The interest shown in the American decorative arts was also significant (1910), as was the first opening up to the Expressionist movements in 1914 with the organisation of a solo exhibition of works by the Belgian artist, Ensor. Nevertheless, the policies of the Biennale organisers were overall too conservative. In 1910, the General Secretary of the Biennale, Antonio Fradeletto, had one of Picasso's works removed from the Spanish pavilion for reasons of public aesthetics. At the same time, many artists remained excluded from the official exhibition programme, which led to severe disruption. Following the furious protestation of the 'excluded artists', and in the face of the danger of a gradual climax in the secession, the exhibition spaces of Cà Pesaro (from 1902 the Gallery of Modern Art) were from 1908 until 1914 assigned to a series of exhibitions of works by emerging artists directed by the young art critic Nino Barbantini, known for his pioneering ideas and for the role he played in counterbalancing the conservative and progressive voices of the Biennale.
The first appearance of the Italian Futurists in Venice decisively contributed to the formation of a climate of protest. During the 1910 Biennale the Italian painter Umberto Boccioni was singled out among the emerging artists at Cà Pesaro, Filippo Tommaso Marinetti presented his 'Manifesto against Past-Loving Venice' and, on the 8th of July of the same year, poets and artists belonging to the movement threw from the clock tower in San Marco square 800,000 flyers with the text of the Manifesto.
The Biennale was suspended from 1914 until 1920 due to World War I.

The International Art Exhibition of Venice officially opened on 30 April 1895 in the shadow of the large European salons as an initiative of the Municipality of Venice and its mayor at the time, Riccardo Selvatico. Its initial design, typical of an ambitious exhibition of the periphery and of an event aimed at developing tourism, was intended to inform domestic artists and the public about developments in the international fine art scene, which at the time was changing rapidly. It also sought to offer the appropriate conditions for the creation and development of a new important centre of European contemporary artistic creation.

The organisers chose as the main exhibition venue the area of the Giardini, a 3,810 square metre public park outside the city of Venice itself, which was created during the Napoleonic era. The newly built Palazzo dell’Esposizione, nowadays known as Padiglione Italia since its refurbishment, was inaugurated that same year in great splendour and hosted – among others – the first significant international artists of the exhibition. The fact that Gustave Moreau, Edward Burne-Jones and Max Liebermann participated in the first Biennale revealed the organisers’ aesthetic choices, as well as the strong influence on the intellectual elite of Venice both of the Symbolist Movement and the prevailing Central European culture of the late 19th century.

The unforeseen great success of the first editions, the recorded high visitor numbers (200,000 visitors on average at the first exhibitions in the 19th century), as well as the rich cultural heritage of the city, which attracted many visitors, gradually provoked the fervent interest of the international art community and resulted in the organisers being faced for the first time with the issue of having to increase the Biennale venues. This model was also adopted by the large international exhibitions, which historically grew up from the mid 19th century onwards, mainly in the field of commercial activity, within which each country organised its participation in autonomous venues. Within the frame of trans-national agreements, the construction of the first national pavilions around the Palazzo dell’Esposizione started in 1895 and the expenses were paid by the interested countries. Belgium was the first (L. Sneyens, 1907), followed by Hungary (G. Rintel Maróti, 1909), Germany (D. Donghi, 1909), Great Britain (E. A. Rickards, 1909), France (F. Finzi, 1912), the Netherlands (G. F. Boberg, 1912) and – just before the outbreak of World War I – Russia (A. V. Scusev, 1914). It has now become clear that the creation of national pavilions was a strategic choice that enabled the institution to quickly acquire an international character and offered Biennale the opportunity to play, in a relevantly short time, a significant role on the chessboard of international geopolitical relations. On the artistic level, up until the beginning of the 20th century, the Venice Biennale insisted on showcasing the mid 19th century official academic art, ignoring in an almost provocative way the developments in French art, and Impressionism above all. It became affiliated with the International Art Exhibition of Munich, following its organisational model, and was influenced by the art environment of the ‘Munich Secession’, and in a broader sense by the decorative and applied arts. The organisers’ evident interest in the art of the ‘Germanic countries’ of the time was crowned at the end of the first decade of the 20th century with the presence in Venice of the most important representative of the ‘Vienna Secession’ movement, Gustav Klimt. The 9th International Exhibition successfully showcased significant works created during the Austrian painter and sculptor’s ‘golden period’, such as Judith II (1909), which now belongs to the collection of the Gallery of Modern Art in Venice.

 

The first French influences became evident during the 1901 Biennale edition, at which 20 sculptures by Rodin were shown, along with works by Corot and Millet within the frame of a tribute to French landscape painting of the 1830s. Presentation of the Impressionists was delayed until the first Renoir retrospective (1910), which became a landmark after which many tributes to the French art movement were regularly organised. The interest shown in the American decorative arts was also significant (1910), as was the first opening up to the Expressionist movements in 1914 with the organisation of a solo exhibition of works by the Belgian artist, Ensor. Nevertheless, the policies of the Biennale organisers were overall too conservative. In 1910, the General Secretary of the Biennale, Antonio Fradeletto, had one of Picasso’s works removed from the Spanish pavilion for reasons of public aesthetics. At the same time, many artists remained excluded from the official exhibition programme, which led to severe disruption. Following the furious protestation of the ‘excluded artists’, and in the face of the danger of a gradual climax in the secession, the exhibition spaces of Cà Pesaro (now the Gallery of Modern Art) were from 1908 until 1914 assigned to a series of exhibitions of works by emerging artists directed by the young art critic Nino Barbantini, known for his pioneering ideas and for the role he played in counterbalancing the conservative and progressive voices of the Biennale.

 

The first appearance of the Italian Futurists in Venice decisively contributed to the formation of a climate of protest. During the 1910 Biennale the Italian painter Umberto Boccioni was singled out among the emerging artists at Cà Pesaro, Filippo Tommaso Marinetti presented his ‘Manifesto against Past-Loving Venice’ and, on the 8th of July of the same year, poets and artists belonging to the movement threw from the clock tower in San Marco square 800,000 flyers with the text of the Manifesto.

The Biennale was suspended from 1914 until 1920 due to World War I.

The International Art Exhibition of Venice officially opened on 30 April 1895 in the shadow of the large European salons as an initiative of the Municipality of Venice and its mayor at the time, Riccardo Selvatico. Its initial design, typical of an ambitious exhibition of the periphery and of an event aimed at developing tourism, was intended to inform domestic artists and the public about developments in the international fine art scene, which at the time was changing rapidly. It also sought to offer the appropriate conditions for the creation and development of a new important centre of European contemporary artistic creation.

The organisers chose as the main exhibition venue the area of the Giardini, a 3,810 square metre public park outside the city of Venice itself, which was created during the Napoleonic era. The newly built Palazzo dell’Esposizione, nowadays known as Padiglione Italia since its refurbishment, was inaugurated that same year in great splendour and hosted – among others – the first significant international artists of the exhibition. The fact that Gustave Moreau, Edward Burne-Jones and Max Liebermann participated in the first Biennale revealed the organisers’ aesthetic choices, as well as the strong influence on the intellectual elite of Venice both of the Symbolist Movement and the prevailing Central European culture of the late 19th century.

The unforeseen great success of the first editions, the recorded high visitor numbers (200,000 visitors on average at the first exhibitions in the 19th century), as well as the rich cultural heritage of the city, which attracted many visitors, gradually provoked the fervent interest of the international art community and resulted in the organisers being faced for the first time with the issue of having to increase the Biennale venues. This model was also adopted by the large international exhibitions, which historically grew up from the mid 19th century onwards, mainly in the field of commercial activity, within which each country organised its participation in autonomous venues. Within the frame of trans-national agreements, the construction of the first national pavilions around the Palazzo dell’Esposizione started in 1895 and the expenses were paid by the interested countries. Belgium was the first (L. Sneyens, 1907), followed by Hungary (G. Rintel Maróti, 1909), Germany (D. Donghi, 1909), Great Britain (E. A. Rickards, 1909), France (F. Finzi, 1912), the Netherlands (G. F. Boberg, 1912) and – just before the outbreak of World War I – Russia (A. V. Scusev, 1914). It has now become clear that the creation of national pavilions was a strategic choice that enabled the institution to quickly acquire an international character and offered Biennale the opportunity to play, in a relevantly short time, a significant role on the chessboard of international geopolitical relations. On the artistic level, up until the beginning of the 20th century, the Venice Biennale insisted on showcasing the mid 19th century official academic art, ignoring in an almost provocative way the developments in French art, and Impressionism above all. It became affiliated with the International Art Exhibition of Munich, following its organisational model, and was influenced by the art environment of the ‘Munich Secession’, and in a broader sense by the decorative and applied arts. The organisers’ evident interest in the art of the ‘Germanic countries’ of the time was crowned at the end of the first decade of the 20th century with the presence in Venice of the most important representative of the ‘Vienna Secession’ movement, Gustav Klimt. The 9th International Exhibition successfully showcased significant works created during the Austrian painter and sculptor’s ‘golden period’, such as Judith II (1909), which now belongs to the collection of the Gallery of Modern Art in Venice.

The first French influences became evident during the 1901 Biennale edition, at which 20 sculptures by Rodin were shown, along with works by Corot and Millet within the frame of a tribute to French landscape painting of the 1830s. Presentation of the Impressionists was delayed until the first Renoir retrospective (1910), which became a landmark after which many tributes to the French art movement were regularly organised. The interest shown in the American decorative arts was also significant (1910), as was the first opening up to the Expressionist movements in 1914 with the organisation of a solo exhibition of works by the Belgian artist, Ensor. Nevertheless, the policies of the Biennale organisers were overall too conservative. In 1910, the General Secretary of the Biennale, Antonio Fradeletto, had one of Picasso’s works removed from the Spanish pavilion for reasons of public aesthetics. At the same time, many artists remained excluded from the official exhibition programme, which led to severe disruption. Following the furious protestation of the ‘excluded artists’, and in the face of the danger of a gradual climax in the secession, the exhibition spaces of Cà Pesaro (now the Gallery of Modern Art) were from 1908 until 1914 assigned to a series of exhibitions of works by emerging artists directed by the young art critic Nino Barbantini, known for his pioneering ideas and for the role he played in counterbalancing the conservative and progressive voices of the Biennale.

The first appearance of the Italian Futurists in Venice decisively contributed to the formation of a climate of protest. During the 1910 Biennale the Italian painter Umberto Boccioni was singled out among the emerging artists at Cà Pesaro, Filippo Tommaso Marinetti presented his ‘Manifesto against Past-Loving Venice’ and, on the 8th of July of the same year, poets and artists belonging to the movement threw from the clock tower in San Marco square 800,000 flyers with the text of the Manifesto.

The Biennale was suspended from 1914 until 1920 due to World War I.

The International Art Exhibition of Venice officially opened on 30 April 1895 in the shadow of the large European salons as an initiative of the Municipality of Venice and its mayor at the time, Riccardo Selvatico. Its initial design, typical of an ambitious exhibition of the periphery and of an event aimed at developing tourism, was intended to inform domestic artists and the public about developments in the international fine art scene, which at the time was changing rapidly. It also sought to offer the appropriate conditions for the creation and development of a new important centre of European contemporary artistic creation.

The organisers chose as the main exhibition venue the area of the Giardini, a 3,810 square metre public park outside the city of Venice itself, which was created during the Napoleonic era. The newly built Palazzo dell’Esposizione, nowadays known as Padiglione Italia since its refurbishment, was inaugurated that same year in great splendour and hosted – among others – the first significant international artists of the exhibition. The fact that Gustave Moreau, Edward Burne-Jones and Max Liebermann participated in the first Biennale revealed the organisers’ aesthetic choices, as well as the strong influence on the intellectual elite of Venice both of the Symbolist Movement and the prevailing Central European culture of the late 19th century.

The unforeseen great success of the first editions, the recorded high visitor numbers (200,000 visitors on average at the first exhibitions in the 19th century), as well as the rich cultural heritage of the city, which attracted many visitors, gradually provoked the fervent interest of the international art community and resulted in the organisers being faced for the first time with the issue of having to increase the Biennale venues. This model was also adopted by the large international exhibitions, which historically grew up from the mid 19th century onwards, mainly in the field of commercial activity, within which each country organised its participation in autonomous venues. Within the frame of trans-national agreements, the construction of the first national pavilions around the Palazzo dell’Esposizione started in 1895 and the expenses were paid by the interested countries. Belgium was the first (L. Sneyens, 1907), followed by Hungary (G. Rintel Maróti, 1909), Germany (D. Donghi, 1909), Great Britain (E. A. Rickards, 1909), France (F. Finzi, 1912), the Netherlands (G. F. Boberg, 1912) and – just before the outbreak of World War I – Russia (A. V. Scusev, 1914). It has now become clear that the creation of national pavilions was a strategic choice that enabled the institution to quickly acquire an international character and offered Biennale the opportunity to play, in a relevantly short time, a significant role on the chessboard of international geopolitical relations. On the artistic level, up until the beginning of the 20th century, the Venice Biennale insisted on showcasing the mid 19th century official academic art, ignoring in an almost provocative way the developments in French art, and Impressionism above all. It became affiliated with the International Art Exhibition of Munich, following its organisational model, and was influenced by the art environment of the ‘Munich Secession’, and in a broader sense by the decorative and applied arts. The organisers’ evident interest in the art of the ‘Germanic countries’ of the time was crowned at the end of the first decade of the 20th century with the presence in Venice of the most important representative of the ‘Vienna Secession’ movement, Gustav Klimt. The 9th International Exhibition successfully showcased significant works created during the Austrian painter and sculptor’s ‘golden period’, such as Judith II (1909), which now belongs to the collection of the Gallery of Modern Art in Venice.

The first French influences became evident during the 1901 Biennale edition, at which 20 sculptures by Rodin were shown, along with works by Corot and Millet within the frame of a tribute to French landscape painting of the 1830s. Presentation of the Impressionists was delayed until the first Renoir retrospective (1910), which became a landmark after which many tributes to the French art movement were regularly organised. The interest shown in the American decorative arts was also significant (1910), as was the first opening up to the Expressionist movements in 1914 with the organisation of a solo exhibition of works by the Belgian artist, Ensor. Nevertheless, the policies of the Biennale organisers were overall too conservative. In 1910, the General Secretary of the Biennale, Antonio Fradeletto, had one of Picasso’s works removed from the Spanish pavilion for reasons of public aesthetics. At the same time, many artists remained excluded from the official exhibition programme, which led to severe disruption. Following the furious protestation of the ‘excluded artists’, and in the face of the danger of a gradual climax in the secession, the exhibition spaces of Cà Pesaro (now the Gallery of Modern Art) were from 1908 until 1914 assigned to a series of exhibitions of works by emerging artists directed by the young art critic Nino Barbantini, known for his pioneering ideas and for the role he played in counterbalancing the conservative and progressive voices of the Biennale.

The first appearance of the Italian Futurists in Venice decisively contributed to the formation of a climate of protest. During the 1910 Biennale the Italian painter Umberto Boccioni was singled out among the emerging artists at Cà Pesaro, Filippo Tommaso Marinetti presented his ‘Manifesto against Past-Loving Venice’ and, on the 8th of July of the same year, poets and artists belonging to the movement threw from the clock tower in San Marco square 800,000 flyers with the text of the Manifesto.

The Biennale was suspended from 1914 until 1920 due to World War I.

Last Updated on Friday, 03 June 2011 10:34
 

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