Women take center stage at this 2018 exhibition spotlighting painters and sculptors who showed noteworthy determination as they faced the challenges characterizing the art scene during the first half of the twentieth century. Artists Leonetta Pieraccini Cecchi and Fillide Giorgi Levasti are the focal point of the exhibition catalog, edited by Lucia Mannini and Chiara Toti. These two artists cultivated a longstanding friendship and both women married esteemed intellectuals, art critic Emilio Cecchi and philosopher Arrigo Levasti, respectively. Cecchi and Levasti established a name for themselves as formidable painters, after training with Giovanni Fattori at the start of the century and expressed interest in the international art scene's newest movements. Despite her move to Rome, Leonetta did not sever ties with Florence and several of her portraits depicting members of the city's most significant cultural figures and literati bear witness to this fact. Another portion of her oeuvre is focused on the domestic sphere. The exhibition hosts a collection of Leonetta's works stored at the Vieusseux's Emilio Cecchi Archive. Fillde's career is best represented by her still-life works imbued with international flair and her whimsical views of Florence. The naïf feel of these very personal canvases offer vivid images of the city, particularly the viale Milton neighborhood, home to the artist's atelier.
Other female painters were drawn to Florence during the first half of the 1900s, including creative personalities like Flavia Arlotta, Elisabeth Chaplin, Vittoria Morelli, Marisa Mori, Elena Salvaneschi, Adriana Pincherle and sculptures by Evelyn Scarampi are representative of the many artistic languages these artists made their own, providing a window onto their role in society. Their quest was to overcome the biases of the art market and to reconcile their creative endeavors with family commitments, whilst taking advantage of the opportunities provided them as active members of a vast network of women's associations.
An exhibition catalog for Women artists. Florence 1900-1950, curated by Lucia Mannini and Chiara Toti and published by Florence-based Polistampa (September 2018).
The exhibition is sponsored and organized by Fondazione CR Firenze and Advancing Women Artists, in collaboration with the Gabinetto G.P. Vieusseux and Il Palmerino Cultural Association, with the patronage of the United States Consulate in Florence.