Campigli (1895-1971) was born Max Ihlenfeld in Berlin, but spent much of his childhood in Florence. In 1909 he moved with his mother and step-father to Milan, where he later came into contact with the city’s avant-garde circles. In 1914 he published an experimental poem in the Futurist journal Lacerba, but his affiliation with the movement never developed further.

In 1919 he moved to Paris to work as a correspondent for the Corriere della Sera, and taught himself to paint, inspired by the geometric imagery of Picasso and Léger. However, his work gradually became attuned to the post-war spirit of the ‘return to order’, emphasising more traditional painterly values. From 1926 Campigli exhibited with the Novecento group led by Mario Sironi, and developed links with the Italiani di Parigi, an association of Italian artists based in the French capital that included Alberto Savinio, Gino Severini, Filippo De Pisis and Giorgio de Chirico.

His discovery of Etruscan art at Rome’s Villa Giulia in 1928 was a revelation, and marked a turning point in his career. Abandoning the monumentality of his earlier work, his imagery became lighter, his palette grew paler and he began to use dry, fresco-like paint applied in layers, suggesting the abraded surfaces of archaeological fragments.

By the 1940s a world occupied by languorous women was Campigli’s only subject matter, except for the occasional self-portrait. His serene, timeless imagery brought him much success throughout his career.

History of the Collectors

Eric Estorick (1913-93) was an American sociologist and writer who began seriously to collect works of art after he came to live in England following the Second World War. Born in Brooklyn, Estorick studied at New York University during the early 1930s. It was there that he discovered The Gallery of Living Art in Washington Square College, a remarkable collection containing masterpieces by Picasso, Léger, Miró and Matisse which was to inspire him to become a collector himself.

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The Building

The Estorick Collection is housed in a beautiful Georgian building previously known as Northampton Lodge. It was constructed between 1807 and 1810 by the entrepreneur Henry Leroux of Stoke Newington, who leased a plot of land from the Ninth Earl of Northampton in 1803 to build a series of house.

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The Estorick Collection Library holds a large number of volumes relating to twentieth-century Italian Art. It is open to researchers and Members of the Estorick by appointment.

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