'Nabis, Gauguin and the Italian avant-garde painting' at Palazzo Roverella

The fascinating artistic revolution in Europe and Italy led by Gauguin and Nabis

From 17 September 2016 to 14 January 2017

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From 17th September 2016 to 14th January 2017, the exhibitions at Palazzo Roverella 2016, Rovigo, take place among colours and emotions... Gauguin, Bernard, Denis, Serusier and many other artists: stories that later became legends, anticipating fashion and trends not only in the history of art.

'Nabis, Gauguin and avant-garde Italian painting', the most recent must-see show in Rovigo in 2016, explores the extraordinary artistic situation that was created in the late nineteenth century and which profoundly influence the painting of the following century. The title of the exhibition in itself anticipates a very varied route, which will take you all the way from Britain to the Venetian lagoon, going through extraordinary paths and experiences that are spread and entwined across the whole of Europe.

On display at Palazzo Roverella, Rovigo, about one hundred masterpieces recount the adventurous birth of modern painting between the school of Pont-Aven and the Nabis movement, a momentous 'revolution' also in Italy, thanks to the interest of Italian artists towards new trends originating on the other side of the Alps.

The exhibition Nabis in Rovigo, Italy offers an innovative journey which is both visual and emotional. The rich body of graphic works and paintings, many of which are very well known, others yet to be discovered, presents the stories of artists fleeing from themselves, from cities, from too stable liaisons... Artists that, in the end, all end up going to the waterfront, be it the ocean that meets the land of Britain or the quiet lagoon of Venice.

The charismatic figure of Paul Gauguin is a fundamental part of the exhibition: Gauguin in Rovigo, Italy will present 'The women of Britain', 'Landscape from Bretagne' and two representations of Tahitian women that, albeit pertaining to a later period of his life, must almost mandatorily be exhibited in Rovigo at the Gauguin exhibition 2016. The first two works are a clear signal of the evolution of the pictorial style towards simplicity, a change occurred after meeting with Emile Bernard, an artist who most of all perhaps embodies the soul of Nabis.

Gauguin moves to Pont-Aven in February 1888, at the end of his 'partnership' with Van Gogh, who instead preferred the south of France to Britain. Here, Gauguin meets a community of young international artists who painted together whilst sharing experiences and thoughts... Many of them had the search for an essential simplicity in common - a simplicity to be found both in life and from a creative point of view, nonetheless without forfeiting a subjective view of the surrounding reality and searching for hidden symbolic meanings.

The language of this group of artists, expressive and anti-naturalistic, soon meets the primitivism and exoticism in vogue at the end of the nineteenth century and subsequently merges into various artistic movements influencing their distinctive characteristics.

Among these Nabis (Prophets in ancient Hebrew) stand out, that truly mark the beginning of modern art: free from imitation of reality, these young artists from Paris gave life to a new pictorial language in which strong colors, pronounced signs and forfeiture of details lead to a very simple and concise painting, almost stripped down to the essential. As a reaction to Impressionism, these artists began to focus on the two-dimensional decorative elements and put perspectives, proportions and shades aside. The degree of experience gained by Nabis then influenced the birth of the Fauves, up to Art Nouveau, Expressionism and Abstract Art.

The contamination does not skip Italy, and it is on this front that the second part of the exhibition in Rovigo focuses: the Gauguin exhibition in Italy 2016 investigates those artists that in Paris and in the territories beyond the Alps met the new incentives produced by the works of Gauguin and the Pont-Aven artists.

Among these artists, Gino Rossi, the multifaceted artist full of contradictions, is the most significant exponent. Operating a quick comparison between Gauguin and Rossi, we can discern two very distant stories, but united by some common traits: the first one seduced and captured by the beauty of Tahiti, the second trapped in a tragic view of the provincial world. Both artists, however, find themselves creating similar paintings, simple and almost naive, deriving from a philosophical thought that almost appears to be too transparent and fragile.

Along with Gino Rossi, the second part of the exhibition at Palazzo Roverella Gauguin, Rovigo, 'Nabis, Gauguin and avant-garde Italian painting' proposes Arturo Martini and the group gravitating around Ca' Pesaro. These artists have shown a great interest for France and its innovations in the artistic world, most notably the abandonment of a long pictorial tradition centred on the imitation of nature.

The last part of the exhibition is dedicated to the successors of this fascinating artistic universe. Exhibitions at Palazzo Roverella 2016 is wrapped up by the section Synthetism and its leading exponents (Paul Serusier, Emile Bernard, Paul Elie Ranson, Maurice Denis, Cuno Amiet and Felix Vallotton), also present in Italy - Felice Casorati, Oscar Ghiglia, Cagnaccio of San Pietro, Mario Cavaglieri.

The exhibitions at Palazzo Roverella 2016 include a big surprise for the autumn: an innovative and fascinating section to interpret the works and artists who were able to revolutionize the language and style of paintings looking at the artistic world without inferiority complexes.

A Rovigo, the exhibition 'The Nabis, Gauguin and Italian avant-garde painting' is curated by Professor Giandomenico Romanelli, art historian and former director of the Foundation of Civic Museums of Venice.

Opening times

  • Weekdays from 9.00 am to 7.00 pm
  • Saturdays and holidays from 9.00 am to 8.00 pm
  • Closed on Mondays, except for public holidays


  • Adult €11.00
  • Concessions €9.00
By Insidecom Editorial Staff