De Pisis Filippo: this is the assumed name of Luigi Filippo Tibertelli, born on May 11th 1896 in Ferrara and who later used the ancient family name, de Pisis. He died in 1956 in Milan.

His collections
During his adolescence he wrote poetry and studied painting under different masters, among whom Odoardo Domenichini. He loved to surround himself with rare and curious objects and old books. He also had a collection of butterflies and wild flowers which he donated to the Padua University in 1915.


Nervous disorders
De Pisis was affected with nervous disorders and in 1915 he was recovered in the psychiatric hospital in Venice. As a result he was exempted from military service. He later lived and divided his time between Ferrara and Bologna, studying literature and philosophy at the universities of these towns from 1916 to 1919. He met Morandi, wrote articles for “La Raccolta” of Giuseppe Raimondi and “La Brigata” of Dino Binazzi. The Ferrara poet Corrado Govoni introduced him into the futurist circle. In 1915 de Chirico and Savinio were transferred to Ferrara for their military service.


Together with de Pisis and Carrà, who joined them in 1917, they formed the nucleus of the metaphysical “school”. De Pisis wrote collections of lyrical prose and poetry: “Canti della Croara” and “Emportio” in 1916, “La città dalle 100 meraviglie “ (The town of the 100 wonders) in 1920, influenced by the nostalgic and melancholy vision of the de Chirico brothers. It was only in 1919 when he moved to Rome that he dedicated himself to painting. He frequented the “Valori Plastici” (Plastic Values) environment and became friendly with the painter Armando Spadini. During this period he started to work on his still life paintings putting together in a evocative form many different types of objects, held together by a light and sensual craftsmanship, filled with the “Stimmung” of metaphysical painting


Dramatic forces
The literary element, the theme of a book, fragments of poetry or visual references to the works of artists that had preceded him remained a central component in his work. De Pisis searched for secret aspects, the dramatic forces in things, considering that the lyrical and intrinsic value of a still life had the precedence over the pictorial or constructive quality.



"Natura morta"

"Pane Sacro" 1930

"Pesci morti"

"Rose bianche"



The pleasure that de Pisis took from the quality of fine art (“la bonne peinture”) was stimulated when he moved to Paris in 1925. He lived in the French capital for fourteen years. His admiration for Eugène Delacroix, Eduard Manet and Camille Corot, as well as for Henri Matisse and the “Fauves” was reflected in a gestural use of colour and brilliant coloured accents. Besides still life he painted urban scenes, male nudes and hermaphroditic images.


The ‘twenties

His most important works during the ‘twenties were marine still life, dream-like images of estranged objects set out on a beach in a disquieting spatial relationship with the seascape background. It was de Chirico who presented the first personal exhibition of de Pisis at the Galerie au Sacre du Printemps in 1926. Two years later the French critic Waldemar George wrote the first monograph about him.

De Pisis continued to exhibit in Italy and to write articles for “L’Italia Letteraria”. “L’orto” and “La Revista di Ferrara”. He became part of the “Italians in Paris” group that included de Chirico, Savinio, Campigli, Mario Tozzi and Renato Paresce. For them, Waldemar George presented the”Appels d’Italie” exhibition at the Venice Biennial in 1930.

Water colours
In 1931 de Pisis painted a series of water colours to illustrate the volume “Questa è Parigi” (This is Paris) written by Giovanni Comisso, his very good friend. He also co-operated with his fellow countryman Mario Caviglieri, who lived in the south-west of France. During the ‘thirties he visited England on three occasions, making friends with Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant.

The Venetian influence
De Pisis returned to Milan at the outbreak of the second World War and in 1944 he settled in Venice, where he was inspired by the paintings of Francesco Guardi and other Venetian Masters of the XVIII century. As during his stays in London, de Pisis always dedicated much care in portraying the atmospheric environment, dissolving monuments in rare, calligraphic brushstrokes and luminous graduations of tones.


The last years

In the last ten years of his life he suffered poor health, due to nervous problems. His work obtained the merit it deserved especially at the Venice Biennial exhibitions of 1948 and 1954.



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