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Joseph De Camp e i “Ten American Painters”

Joseph De Camp and the "Ten American Painters"


The most loved pictorial movement of all is that of the Impressionists. Both the fresh, immediate and lively painting style and the myth surrounding their lives contributed to their success. Monet, Manet, Picasso, Renoir, Modigliani, Pissarro etc., and their art dealers, all gathered in Paris in Montmartre or Montparnasse, have revolutionized painting, the art market and the very way of being an "artist".

What is it in America?

And in "America"? Who was there and what was happening in the art sector in this nation born on July 4, 1776?

Let's consider the "American" society that founded the "United States of America", that is a mixture of European nationalities that rebelled against the nations of origin and briefly occupied all the lands that were to be occupied to the detriment of the natives and of the other peoples of the place.

Joseph Rodefer De Camp was born in Cincinnati, in Ohio, in 1858 and studied plastic arts with the painter Frank Duvenek until 1875. Together with the professor and some fellow students he left for Europe for the Royal Academy in Munich.

He then settled in Italy, in particular in Florence for 8 years. Returning to America he settled in Boston (Massachusetts) where he became a member of the Boston School.

In 1891, at the age of 33, he married Edith Franklin Baker who was 10 years younger and had 4 children, who appear in many of his paintings. In 1895 he was offered the position of professor at the "Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts" in Philadelphia, but after only a year he left the post for health reasons.

The magnificent ten

In 1897 he founded "Ten american painters" together with 9 colleagues. This association called itself "impressionist" and gathered painters who adhered to this style.

In reality, the main reason was that the painters of the association managed themselves, organized their exhibitions and sales independently, leaving the official circuits that they considered "an equestrian circus".

For twenty years the "Ten american painters" they carry out their activity in Boston and New York, wanting to represent “modern painting”.

Nothing to "oppose"

However, having no academy to rebel against, it is their painting that represents "tradition".

The style refers to the impressionist tones, but it lacks the realism so dear to the European impressionists. They dedicate themselves to portraits, bourgeois or aristocratic paintings, their art looks right back to the past.

Aware, or not, is the promotional representation of the United States of America: no mention of social problems, life and problems in the cities, but pure aesthetic exercise.

We think instead that in 1913 modern art, from Duchamp to the Cubists, the Fauves, the Futurists met at the Armory Show in New York, an exhibition with more than 1300 paintings from all over Europe, as well as by American avant-garde painters.

Unfortunately, in 1904, De Camp's studio burned down, burning more than a hundred paintings.

During a stay in Florida, on February 11, 1923, Joseph De Camp died at the age of 65.

His teaching activity formed many painters almost wanting to create an Academy and a history of "American Art History" where, for obvious reasons, nothing existed.

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