"Three migrants of genius in the Ville Lumière"
Many, many years ago during a long stay in Paris in order to complete my studies of French literature, I had the chance to meet a brilliant Italian, Angelo Sommaruga who, after a turbulent career as a journalist, publisher, antique dealer, director and founder of literary and artistic magazines, had settled permanently in the French capital and devoted all his activities to the validation and promotion, in Europe and America, of the Italian painters who were working or had worked there between the second half of the nineteenth century and the first decades of the twentieth.
I thus found myself so plunged into an unknown and charming world that I totally immersed myself in that little colored universe, slowing down my literary studies. I soon realized that three among the artists of the large Italian community (all of them of high quality) stood out undoubtedly. In fact, they were three Masters of international level and their names were De Nittis, Boldini and Zandomeneghi.
A strange parallelism joined them on a human level, although their painting was very different and their personal relationships were almost non-existent. I named them “migrants of genius” because all three had left Italy without any money and with many expectations, attracted by the flame of the ville lumiére; all three had been successful there in different ways but with undeniable genius; all three had not abandoned the trottoirs de Paris and had died and been buried in the city that had given them celebrity and good fortune (at various degrees depending on the character and the events) and above all the chance to realize their dreams of art and to take to the Mecca for painting three excellent Italian voices.
Enrico Piceni, introduction to the exhibition catalogue “Three Italian Friends of the Impressionists”, New York, 1984