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Luigi Conconi, Malinconia

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LUIGI CONCONI (Milan 1852 - 1917) MALINCONIA (Also known as 'Testa di Fanciulla')
Etching, before 1913; a fine impression in black ink, skillfully printed working on the surface tone with monotypic effects, on thick, white wove paper, pasted on a cardboard. Signed LConconi / VI pr in the film of ink left on the plate. With very large margins, minor foxing and toning, generally in very good condition. To the platemark 321 x 161 mm, the entire sheet measuring 535 x 320 mm. See M. Bianchi, G. Ginex, Luigi Conconi incisore, Milan, 1994; cat. no. 58.
I have directly compared this impression with the two other in the Bertarelli collection, both reproduced by Bianchi and Ginex: Bertarelli R.C.I, 362 (an impression of the first state, according to Bianchi and Ginex, indicated by Conconi as the 28th proof) and Bertarelli Cart. p. 20-6 (an impression of the second state, according to Bianchi and Ginex, indicated by the artist as the second proof of the second state). The comparison shows how each print has been radically personalized working on the inking and wiping. It is not easy to fit our impression in one of the states described by Bianchi and Ginex. Certainly 'Melancholia' is one of the etchings by Conconi where the artist has tested the most of possible variations in the inking and in the monotypic effects: this makes it difficult to reconstruct the correct sequence of states.

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. Since his years at the Politecnico, he became acquainted with the literary and artistic circles of the Scapigliatura and Tranquillo Cremona and Daniele Ranzoni influenced his early paintings. In the 1880s Conconi moved from the Realism of Scapigliatura toward the Symbolism, developing an interest in visionary themes. He received the international recognition of prizes 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 with a large amount of ink left on the plate, creating evocative effects. Conconi printed personally almost all his own plates.

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