“Villagers at the entrance of a village”, oil on canvas, signed lower left D. Induno. Provenance of the ancient collection Juan and Felix Bernasconi.
Domenico Induno (Milan 1815, Milan 1878) was formed in the 1930s under Pompeo Marchesi and Francesco Hayez. His painting, initially addressed to biblical and historical subjects under the influence of Hayez, flows in the following years into the subject of gender behind the requests of an aristocratic, cultured and liberal Milanese clientele.
In order to escape the Austrian repressions during the revolts of 1848, Induno moved to Switzerland, in the Canton of Ticino; in this period he came into contact with the rich family of the Bernasconi whose portraits he made. From here he returns to Italy, to Florence and then back to Milan. The critique of time increasingly appreciates the genre painting inaugurated by Domenico, made up of domestic and popular themes, which have as protagonists the humble and the derelict.
In 1854 he was appointed art partner of the Brera Academy; his paintings have a great success with the public and critics.
In 1859 he reached the peak of his career with Al cader delle foglie. He became an Academic Counselor in 1863. In 1873 he obtained the gold medal at the Universal Exposition in Vienna, while in 1878, at the Paris Exposition, he was awarded the Legion of Honor. He will die in Milan in the same year.
The Bernasconi collection is set up by Juan and Felix, entrepreneurs from Ticino, sons of Giovanni, a craftsman from Mendrisio who, having emigrated to Argentina, manages to make a fortune with the leather trade. The two, often in Milan for business, love to frequent assiduously the artistic environments of the city; great admirers of paintings, visit the ateliers of the best known artists by purchasing the works directly from them. Between the late nineteenth and early twentieth century the two brothers constitute the most important collection of Italian painting of the late nineteenth century: known as the “Bernasconi Collection”, gathered in the spaces of “Villa Argentina”, built by his father in Mendrisio, about four thousand paintings, with an absolute predominance of Lombard authors among which stand out above all Pompeo Mariani, Mosè Bianchi, the induno brothers and Luigi Rossi.
The wealth of the collection, of which no inventories or documents exist, became public when a branch of the Bernasconi heirs decided to sell a large part of the collection to the auction, entrusting it to the Christie’s auction house in London in 1987.
In our painting the painter concentrates on a corner between two shabby and decaying stone houses; behind, a mountain and a glimpse of turquoise sky flooded with light. Further down, a woman, perhaps a laundress, has a basket full of linen, goes up the road to the village while a boy, sitting on a bridge between the houses, is intent on fishing. A scene of everyday life, a landscape that closely resembles Alpine villages straddling Lombardy and Switzerland. The painter paused to paint this scene in love with the light of the place, a beautiful light that gives life to the whole painting.
The painting is in the first canvas, in excellent condition. He underwent a simple cleaning operation at a specialized laboratory. It has a beautiful golden wooden frame and a tablet from the second half of the nineteenth century. It is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity, technical details and proof of origin from the Bernasconi collection.
Canvas cm 43,5 x 30,5