Went yesterday the see the exhibition of the Milanese sculptor Adolfo Wildt (pronounced ‘Vilt’) called ‘L’anima e le forme da Michelangelo a Klimt’ (The soul and forms from Michelangelo to Klimt) at the elegant Musei San Domenico in Forlì, Emilia Romagna which runs until 17th June 2012.
This was not an artist I’d heard of previously and it seems I am not alone in this as he’s a largely forgotten figure operating on the fringes of experimental figurative art without fitting into either the avant-garde or mainstream classical movements.
“He was placeless and everything” according the introduction on the gallery’s fairly pompous audio guide which also talked about the “languid anatomies” in his work.
One of the first pieces displayed is the self-portrait (see pictured left) which expresses the anguished self doubt and inner turmoil that determined his artistic direction.
Many of the other works displayed show moods ranging from the quiet grace of Madonna-like figures to other souls in torment.
The large busts of Benito Mussolini portray the Fascist dictator in heroic fashion which makes you question the artist’s political purity, and bearing the name Adolfo is hardly reassuring on this count.
The exhibition and guide skirt this issue, focusing instead on the connections between his works and other symbolist artists, notably Gustav Klimt.
Definitely worth seeing and the exhibition does a good job of persuading patrons that this marginal outsider figure deserves a position more towards the centre stage of late 19th /early 20th century period.