Etching (acquaforte monotipata), 1907. A fine proof impression of an early state, not described in literature, before a lot of etched work in several places, extensively touched with black chalk, titled in black chalk on the bottom CARDUCCI, skillfully printed with sepia ink working on the surface tone (acquaforte monotipata), on thick wove white paper. Signed LConconi in the film of ink left in the plate in wiping and numbered pr. IX (ninth proof). Slight foxing; 530 x 440 mm. See M. Bianchi, G. Ginex, Luigi Conconi incisore, Milan, 1994; cat. no. 51.
PROVENANCE: Gallerie Geri (Milanese auction house, c. 1974), private collection, Milan.
According to Bianchi and Ginex, there should be a second state of the etching in addition to the one they describe. The scholars base their hypothesis on the fact that the impression kept at the Bertarelli collection in Milan Conconi indicated in pencil that it was a first state. However, since a state subsequent to the known one has never been found, the writing probably indicates an intention never realized.
The portrait of the Italian poet Giosuè Carducci has been etched by Conconi to participate in a competition organized by the Reale Calcografia of Rome to celebrate the achievement by Carducci of the Nobel Prize for literature in 1906.
Luigi Conconi was an architect, painter and illustrator. Born in a Milanese middle-class family, he was the nephew of the painter Mauro Conconi. Luigi studied architecture at the Accademia di Brera and at the Politecnico in Milan, and he used his architectural training occasionally throughout his career. After attending the Politecnico, he became acquainted with the literary and artistic circles of the Scapigliatura: Tranquillo Cremona and Daniele Ranzoni influenced his early paintings. In the 1880s Conconi moved from the Realism of Scapigliatura toward Symbolism, developing an interest in visionary themes. He received international recognition from awards in Paris in 1900 and in Munich in 1913. Conconi was also a skilful and sensitive printmaker, who revived the art of the etching in Lombardy, being the leading exponent of the acquaforte monotipata, an etching printed leaving a surplus of ink on the plate to create evocative effects. Conconi printed personally almost all his own plates.