Giuseppe De Nittis
Giuseppe De Nittis

The Phillips Collection, An Italian Impressionist in Paris: Giuseppe De Nittis

The first exhibition in the U.S. devoted to the artist is a major international collaboration with Pinacoteca Giuseppe De Nittis in Barletta, Italy

Washington, DC—The Phillips Collection is pleased to present the ?rst exhibition in the U.S. devoted to the work of Giuseppe De Nittis (1846–1884), an Italian painter whose career ?ourished in Impressionist Paris in the 1870s and 1880s. The exhibition is organized by The Phillips Collection with the patronage of the Italian Ministry of Culture in collaboration with the Pinacoteca Giuseppe De Nittis, the City of Barletta, Italy, and the Region of Puglia with the Fondazione Pino Pascali. It unites 73 works from leading institutions and private collections in the U.S., France, and Italy, 32 of which are loans from the Pinacoteca De Nittis. An Italian Impressionist in Paris: Giuseppe De Nittis is on view November 12, 2022–February 12, 2023Tickets are available at

“Giuseppe De Nittis was a major figure in the Impressionism period but wasn’t heralded in the United States in the same way we think of Degas and Manet,” says Vradenburg Director and CEO Dorothy Kosinski. “Our exhibition shines a spotlight on his influential role on Impressionist art, which continues to engage and delight audiences.” 

De Nittis was a central ?gure in the aesthetic and institutional upheavals of 1870s Paris soon after he arrived in the French capital from Naples in 1867 at the age of 21. He quickly earned a name for himself, and in 1874 Edgar Degas invited him to participate in the ?rst Impressionist exhibition, becoming the only Italian artist to do so. De Nittis marked out an independent path for himself that drew upon the aesthetic sensibilities of the Salon, as well as the modern compositional strategies of more progressive artists such as Edgar Degas and Edouard Manet, both of whom were friends of De Nittis and, in the case of Degas, a close mentor. The exhibition also presents new research about De Nittis’s friendships with Degas and Manet, and his early collaborations in Naples in 1872 and 1875 with a young Gustave Caillebotte.

“Largely overlooked, Giuseppe De Nittis was a major figure in the history of modernism and 19th-century European art,” says Guest Curator Renato Miracco, independent curator and Curator of the Pinacoteca Giuseppe De Nittis. “He was a model for a generation of European painters and an innovator who drew inspiration from the artistic landscape of his time. This exhibition, created to rediscover the artist and the links between him and his French colleagues, explores his close friendships with Degas, Manet and Caillebotte and firmly cements De Nittis as a missing and important piece in understanding Impressionism.”

In the 1870s, De Nittis was a pioneering chronicler of Paris’s resilience and reconstruction in the aftermath of the Franco-Prussian War, focusing on the streets, boulevards, squares, and parks that were not only home to the city’s haute bourgeoisie but symbols of French national pride. His urban scenes of Paris depict innovative arrangements and plein air subjects painted with a detailed realism that depicts a sophisticated and economically booming city—a choice unique to De Nittis’s work. De Nittis also spent time in London beginning in 1873, which allowed him to explore even more his lifelong interest in atmosphere and the rhythms of urban life in equally innovative compositions distinctive to the British metropolis. Paintings from all periods of De Nittis’s career will be featured along with additional works by Degas, Manet, and Caillebotte.

“The De Nittis exhibit at the Phillips Collection is a particularly meaningful initiative of very high artistic, historic and cultural value”, says H.E. Mariangela Zappia, Ambassador of Italy to the United States, “as recognized also by the patronage granted by the Italian Ministry of Culture. The Phillips Collection—America’s first museum of modern art—has decided to put on the first presentation in this country devoted to this Italian impressionist painter in the year that marks one century since its institution/creation/opening to the public.  I find that this initiative is a perfect testimony to the long-standing friendship between Italy and the United States and the unremitting work of both countries to strengthen our bond through art and culture.”

The Phillips Collection

1600 21st St NW, Washington, DC 20009, United States

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