Intimité signed 'U.Caputo' (lower left), inscribed on remnants of an old label attached to the reverse oil on panel 32.5 x 41cm (12 13/16 x 16 1/8in).
PROVENANCE: with Charles Hessèle, Paris, 1914, no.1312, sold for 250 francs bought by Mr. Frank H. Becker, 34 Fenchurch Street, London Private collection, UK
Ulisse Caputo is highly regarded for his landscape painting but it is his intimate pictures of women captured in their private rooms that he is best known for. Caputo was born in Salerno, Italy in 1872. Initially taught to draw by his father, a stage-set designer at the Teatro Verdi, Caputo began his career studying at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Naples. Whilst there he also received lessons from Gaetano Esposito, with whom he travelled and collaborated on a number of works. In 1899 Caputo went to Paris and became a leading figure of the circle of Italian artists. Among those he socialised with were Pietro Scopetta, Arnaldo De Lisio and the flamboyant characters Giovanni Boldini and Leonetto Cappiello. Caputo's success was not limited to France finding recognition internationally with exhibitions in Rome, Venice and in Munich where he was awarded the Gold Medal at the Munich Exposition. He also travelled to and exhibited in the United States and South America on two voyages between 1925 and 1930.
Caputo continually travelled in the French countryside visiting Brittany and Aix-en-Provence with his writer friend Henri Barbusse from 1911-1918. Inspired by artists such as Ignacio Zuloaga, James Abbot McNeil Whistler and Anders Zorn, Caputo became preoccupied with the depiction of light. His enlivened handling of light and colour brings a dynamic energy to his female subjects, his brushstrokes and rich palette adding great vibrancy. His paintings after 1924 find a new luminosity inspired by his trip to Morocco that year. The sensual treatment of his female subjects references the nudes and female portraits and genre scenes of Edouard Manet. Caputo's eye for informal poses, his bright palette and glimpse of a private world are all shown to great effect in Intimité.