His work has been mostly based on a revamped impressionism, at times ranging into neo expressionism, but always retaining a solid foot on his color manipulation.
We have collected on this site a few examples of his work.A book on his life and works is soon to be published. See His Work.
Emilio Giuseppe Dossena: a Life in the Arts.
Emilio Giuseppe Dossena is born December 10, 1903 in the small town of Cavenago D'Adda, then in the province of Milan (now in the province of Lodi). Life, already hard, becomes even more difficult for him with the loss of the father, as he is just twelve years old at the time. Camillo, the fourteen years old brother, and the young Emilio Giuseppe are forced to support the family hereafter. Only when the three brothers and two sisters are married, feeling released from all responsibilities as head of household, the artist weds the twenty years old Cornelia Ginevra Zacchetti, also a Lombard. After a few months of marriage, in 1937, he loses his mother, an invalid for many years due to an accidental fall. The artistic experience of the Brera Academy and Scuola del Castello, attended at the times by Guttuso, Cantatore, Lilloni and Sassu, allows him to live a dignified life despite the difficult times and his stance against fascism. During this period, he begins to work as a restorer of paintings and decorator in the classical style, a profession which he will keep throughout his life. In the later years of the prewar period, he is often in open conflict with both fascists and communists, but luckily never finds himself in irreversible situations. At all times he supports ,openly and without hesitation, Catholicism and the love for his country. Meanwhile, he devotes every free minute to his easel production, creating fascinating works in Neo-Impressionist style, with a palette based on earths that gives his paintings a unique image and originality. The first solo exhibition at the Milanese Galleria Gavioli in 1943, has a resounding success: while the country is at war, all the exhibited works are sold! His color palette preserves, throughout the forties, the original tonalities that reflect both the environment, without strong contrasting colors, and the need to create his paintings using natural pigments. The industrial revolution and the postwar economic boom affect his stroke, which becomes more vigorous and perhaps even more essential to the replication of the impression, even though he does preserve an attachment to realism that will complement the artist in almost all his career. The works will show an enhancement of the greens and blues, using a charged, increasingly exuberant color palette, for which he is renowned. The favorite subject is his children, given his immense love for them, but the landscape enters ever more into his repertoire, receiving strong critical acclaim. Balancing his artistic fervor with the activities necessary to meet the needs of a large family, he always manages to give a respectable life to his six children, while continuing his production, without any compromise, based on economic considerations. During this time he restores and decorates the castles of Parrano and Monte Giove, in Umbria, and many villas of aristocrats and captains of industry in Lombardy.
Awards and Group Exhibits
- 1963-1966: Palazzo Reale, Milano
- 1963-1967: La Permanente, Milano
- 1967: L'Art Internationale, Nice, France
- 1973-1974: Galerie Internationale, New York, USA
- 1974: Wiener Gallery, New York, USA
- 1978: Galleria Il Portichetto, Stresa
- 1978: Proloco, Boniprati
- 1978-1980: Premio Sant'Ambroeus, Milano
- 1979: Premio Pavone d'Oro, Milano
- 1979-1980: Pinacoteca d'Arte Moderna, Salsomaggiore Terme
- 1980: Premio Italia, Salsomaggiore Terme
- 1981: Premio ZEUS Citta` di Rimini, Rimini
- 1981: Arte Castello, Montalbo di Ziano
- 1981: Premio Arona, Arona, Italy
- 1981: Premio Gerondio (Targa d'Argento), Lodi
- 1981-1982: L'Arte Contro la Violenza, Bologna/Roma
- 1982: Premio Associazione Nazionale Artisti, Palermo
- 1982: Concorso Nazionale di Pittura, Squinzano
- 1982: Premio Accademia Il Macchiavello, Firenze
- 1982: New York Prize, New York, USA
- 1982: Premio Ungaretti (Segnalazione d'Onore), Napoli
- 1982: Les Salons des Nations, Paris, France
- 1983: Gold Medal for Cultural Merit, World Parliament, USA
- 1983: Premio Internazionale L'Eroe dei Due Mondi,(Segnalazione d'Onore) Cagliari
- 1983: Premio Letterario di Buccinasco, Buccinasco
- 1983: Premio Accademia Giuseppe Ungaretti, Napoli
- 1983: Terzo Premio di Pittura Campidoglio, Roma
- 1983: Premio Milano di Pittura, Milano
- 1983: Premio Cesare d'Oro, Gazzetta Europea
- 1983: Premio Ordine Internazionale per la Pace
- 1983: Gran Premio delle Nazioni, Roma
- 1983: Premio Napoli (Segnalazione d'Onore), Napoli
- 1985: Ambrogino d'Oro per l'Arte, Comune di Milano
- 1986: Premio Fiaccola d'Oro, World Parliament, USA
- 1986: Cavaliere delle Arti, Accademia Bedriacense, Cremona
- 1987: Honorary Doctorate, University of Humanistic Studies, USA
- 1989: Signature imprinted on the Muretto d'Alassio
- 1943 Galleria Gavioli, Milano
- 1964 International Health Studio, Milano
- 1967 Palazzo dell’Arredamento, Desio
- 1973 Columbus Citizens Committee, New York
- 1974 Galerie Internationale, New York
- 1974 Wiener Galler, New York
- 1977 Galleria Treves, Milano
- 1977 Galleria Treves, Spotorno
- 1978 Galleria Il Portichetto, Stresa
- 1983 Circolo Ambrosiano Meneghin e Cecca, Milano
- 1998 Trask Gallery, National Arts Club, New York
Emilio Giuseppe Dossena, A Life In The Arts.
In 1968, an accidental explosion in a store above his studio in Milan, destroys it. Almost sixty-five years old, he decides to emigrate to the USA, where family friends promised him a revitalization of his career, which at this point has reached a plateau and does not seem to find the necessary stimuli for a renewal. The impact with America is primarily responsible for the dramatic evolution of the use of colors in his paintings. After a brief period of adjustment, Dossena finds a position with the Studio Berger, restoring several works of past masters. The need to reproduce the correct stroke techniques and the various gradations of works assigned to him, in addition to his isolation from the society around him, caused by the inability to converse in English, unconsciously influences both the process of the color and its intensity in the New York production. The artist chooses, at this stage of his life, to abandon the Neo-Impressionism, but does so gradually and without any intention of embracing new movements. One can recognize, in his work of those early years of the seventies, unique, almost exclusive characteristics. The brushwork is more energetic, no longer linked to the need to reproduce any static truth that presents itself before his eyes. The subjects are never repetitive, seeking a more simplified figurative, almost essential, without schematics or structural limitation. The shape is almost torn from nature, always looking to contain and interpret the existential essence and express these new, uncontrollable feelings that the artist feels, away from the beloved homeland. New York and America have on Dossena a similar effect to that experienced by his friend Mario Soldati many years before. He loves the America of the skyscrapers, museums and differences. He loves his countrymen, who are just like him, sailors without a boat in an indefinite odyssey that consists of small episodes and great sacrifices. But he hates being classified as Italian American, recognizing that this term is used to define a set of stereotypes to which he feels he has no affinity to. He finds himself faced with the eternal dilemma of the emigrant: to fit without being absorbed. The artist uses all its energy, amplified by his hate-love relationship with New York to create explosive works, whose sole purpose is to express a need to return to see the beautiful colors of his Italy. What he calls the lack of color of Italian American society, the work of many gray ants concerned only to cram their food storage, exacerbates him and reinforces his power to paint with a color table increasingly explosive. The form becomes just an excuse to express color and their fusion becomes the expression of the artist, almost a liberation, researched and planned, but never artificial nor contrived. In 1976 he returns to Italy, with a creative wealth based on artistic experimentation and newfound inspiration, and the direct and close contact with various Rembrandt, Renoir and Picasso.Read More
Emilio Giuseppe Dossena, A Life In The Arts.
In a short time his painting are inspired and impressed by the beautiful Italian landscapes and he finds himself to paint in a style by many defined as Neo-Impressionist: the intensity of the palette remains, but his interest lies in reproducing reality quite literally. His aesthetic awareness is but intensified by other considerations, result of experience with his expressionistic canvas. Consequently, the visual impact to the observer is remarkable. His landscapes acquire an overt vitality that reflects the Neo-Impressionist period for the form, combined with the physically powerful colors of his neo-expressionism. The artist has arrived to close the creative cycle just when the Leukemia begins to take away the physical possibilities of painting. His last work is the portrait of his nephew William, impressive for its brightness. Frustrated by the inability to create on canvas, Dossena is dedicated to writing poetry that recalls the lyrical intensity of his later paintings. Many awards, both for poetry and for painting, brighten up the last years of the artist's life. The Degree of Doctor Honoris Causa and the request to sign the famous "Muretto" of Alassio, unfortunately, come posthumously.
What Critics Said...
Dorothy Hall, NY Park East:
March 23rd, 1974, NYC
“Galerie Internationale is featuring a one-man show of paintings by Italian artist Giuseppe Dossena. These are exuberant works in rich, assertive color, dealing with varied subject matter, both abstract and representational. In either case, there's a feeling of nervous energy bursting forth in the artist's treatment of generously flowered fields, butterflies, still lifes and dancing figures such as in Giorno di Festa as well as in the breathless swirls which conjure up a vision of ghosts in Fantasmi. Most appealing are several large landscapes in a somewhat more subdued and impressionistic vein and with a fresh, ingratiating palette. Pomeriggio Estivo (Summer Afternoon), with a hint of Van Gogh in the rhytmic sky treatment, is particularly lovely as is Bambini nel Giardino, a sunny springtime view of children playing in the park”.
What Critics Said...
Mario Albertazzi, Il Progresso Italo-Americano
New York, May 18th 1969:"Dossena's opus is stimulated by a strong need to communicate... In his most recent works, the artist shows off a wide range of colors and tones that express the shape, while leaving the viewer broad interpretative possibilities..."
March 26th 1974:"Galerie Internationale has a current exhibition of the known painter, sculptor and restorer, professor Emilio Giuseppe Dossena. The artist is known for the musicality and brilliance of his colors and the idealization of his subjects... The exhibit is particularly successful and constitutes a spiritual and aesthetic delight for the visitors..."
April 8th 1974:"More than deserved the success reported by the painter Emilio Giuseppe Dossena in its recent personal show at the Galerie Internationale. Brilliant colorist, he brings in his paintings the light of nature and the joy of life. The sun kisses his flowers, his figures of women and children. The paintings of butterflies, games, laughter, happiness, are rich of blending and at the same time airy, vigorous and delicate as a gentle caress. "
What Critics Said...
Sandy Auriti, L'Idea Magazine
"Friday, November 20, in the presence of Consul General of Italy in New York and Connecticut, Giorgio Radicati, and a large audience, the retrospective of the artist Emilio Giuseppe Dossena was held in the prestigious halls of the Trask Gallery at the National Arts Club, located at 15 Gramercy Park South, in Manhattan. The exhibition... wants to be a journey of personal and artistic life of the painter, and was placed in the gallery in chronological order. Starting from the forties and using impressionistic techniques, the painter makes masterful use of the colors of his land, and with great sensitivity he perceives the world, testing it as an artist and individual, from the use of colors: brown, ocher, yellow, sienna, burnt red, to the themes, ranging from nature to objects and characters. Dossena, in the paintings of this period, is the artist who observes and impresses on the canvas, once again, his personal reactions. At the same time, he also reflects the wide experience of international standing... Dossena discovers himself as a poet on the canvas and in the fifties this realization becomes more evident by acquiring a different point of view in reiterating the themes that interest him. There is more movement in the paintings, the characters are more important, the color changes, the red and the blue step in. Society is changing and the artist adapts to the new demands of the art world without forgetting the subjectivity that makes his work unique. He arrives in America [in 1968]... The U.S. experience has a great influence on the painter. It is during this time that the color takes on [an even] greater significance, while the style is slowly changing and getting closer to neo-expressionism. At 72, Dossena, forced by the precarious health to remain at home, once again finds the strength and spirit to seek new forms of expression. The colors on the canvas of this period are strong; the brushstrokes carve on the canvas intense color harmonies that suggest to the observer the balance of form and content achieved by the painter... This is the first time an Italian event has been accepted and offered in the beautiful home of the National Arts Club..."
In reality his painting process is tied to the impressions and to the emotions that follow them, transforming reality and control the chromatic entities on the canvas… The experience and the technique, along with the inspiration, confirm this artist as a good painter with a strong sense of communication.
What Critics Said...
Mariangela De Maria
"Dossena’s painting is the lived 'condition' of his joy of life, the need to communicate in a archaic scenario the exuberance of color, to make his all every reality to adapt it to his imagination. The figurative themes of Dossena’s pictorial realism are felt as a transposition of the romantic-emotional nature or as a mnemonic evocation of situations. They are landscapes, captured from the air as spreading planes, chromatic intersections and tangencies repeated, multiplied, fixed in space and at the favored hour, they are rustic views or entertainment of figures in which the key vehicle is the color. A harmony of reds, greens, blues of independent nature, linger in the strict decorative framework of the paintings and they release him from an imitative criticism; the artist progresses therefore to treat the color as a function of his sensitivity. When the chromatic evocations display lit harmonies in their contrasts, the transition from a transitive 'composition' to 'expression' is evident, so that the summary representation of objects in the demarcation of the design, is absorbed entirely by the need to arrange and compose by chromatic masses . One can say that Dossena works within a conceptual antinomy of art’s expression, instinctively tied to the performance of some the Fauves, of whom he feels the limit of the form, but in this collection, although he contradicts experience, he gives us an invitation to live his enthusiasm and his imagination."
What Critics Said...
Mario Soldati[famous writer and movie director] made at the opening of the artist’s personal exhibition at the Circolo Meneghin e Cecca of Milan, Italy):
"We don’t have here only one painter, there are two of them: the one who painted the small paintings and the one who painted the large ones... To this artist, almost my age, I want to say one thing: please continue to create the small ones, or paint larger ones too, but always in the same style (of the small ones). I vastly admired these small size paintings, which I found full of inspiration... they make you dream because they are open to so many interpretations..."
Emilio Giuseppe Dossena's web page