Paesaggio in Valtellina signed 'EMILIO LONGONI' (lower right) oil on canvas 109 x 126cm (42 15/16 x 49 5/8in).
PROVENANCE: Private collection, Italy
Longoni was born in Barlassina, near the Lombard town of Seveso, to a modest family. In his early years he went to Milan where he was employed in various trades. From 1876 to 1880 he studied at the Academia di Brera under Raffaele Casnedi (1822-1892) and Giuseppe Bertini (1825-1892), however it was the influence of Domenico Morelli (1823-1901) and his friendship with Giovanni Segantini (1858-1899) that proved more important. The gallery owner Vittore Grubicy started selling Longoni's work in 1880. This period was a creative and productive phase in his career.
In 1885 the artist stayed by Lake Maggiore where he met the painter Daniele Ranzoni (1843-1889) and the sculptor Paolo Troubetzkoy (1866-1938). Through them he acquired some portrait commissions for the Milanese aristocracy. From 1890 Longoni adopted themes of social deprivation in his work, these faded in his later years to be replaced by more religious subjects. In terms of technique he began using a Divisionist technique in 1891 and from 1900 he introduced Symbolist elements into his paintings.
The panoramic view of the Valtellina's valley depicts an unspoiled countryside with some houses in the distance. The artist's time in the landscape he depicted was vital for his subject matter; he spent long periods of time isolated in the mountains. The landscape is flecked with green and red small dots in accordance with the theory of complimentary colours. The luminous effect creates a powerful sense of warmth and depth keeping the eye moving through the landscape and also ensuring the picture is more than a simple recording of a country scene.