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la Biennale di Venezia
Visual Top Art EN (new)


The Beginning of the 20th Century

French art, which had been somewhat neglected in the first exhibitions, was finally included in the 4th Biennale of 1901 , through an Exhibition of French landscape painting. Works by Corot and Millet landed in Venice, and Rodin's twenty sculptures of his personal exhibition received considerable success. Two novelties were introduced within the fifth Biennale in 1903 : one being the inclusion of the decorative arts, furnishings in particular, the other being the Salon des Réfusées, following a dramatic protest due to the verdict of selection, which excluded 823 works out of 963.
French Impressionism, by this time a trend already established in Europe, was not considered in this period. There was instead an inclusion of American art: Sargent was presented a medal in 1907 and Barlett held a personal exhibtion in 1909. In 1907, thanks to the intervention of Diaghilev, the Biennale invited both Repin, the Tolstoian witness of Russian tradition and Bakst, a famous costume and set designer for the Ballets Russes. It was not however, until 1910, that the presence of renowned international artists at the Biennale was so strong: a splendid Klimt room contrasted that of Renoir, also included in the exhibition were the retrospectives of Courbet and Monticelli. Expressionism, which was born in Dresden in 1903, was presented in Venice in 1914 with an Ensor personal exhibition.
Italian art was predominantly represented by 19th Century works both in the arrangement of the exhibits by region (1901), and in the retrospectives dedicated to Fontanesi, Fattori, Signorini, and Cremona. This trend came alongside the somewhat dated Symbolist style. The Art of Dream exhibition of 1907, also including foreign simbolists, was a significant example of this. From 1908 onwards, a few young artists exhibiting in Ca' Pesaro and grouped together by the critic Nino Barbantini, strongly opposed to this trend which they considered to be too academic. It was only in 1914 that Medardo Rosso would have his personal exhibition at the Biennale.
From 1907 on, Fradeletto supported the building of the foreign pavilions (7 of them were already built before World War I). The ninth Biennale was held in 1910, so as not to coincide with the great Art Exhbition which was to take place in Rome, celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the Kingdom of Italy. The Biennale then took place twice yearly until the interruption from 1914 to 1920 due to the First World War.
There was a particular relationship between the Biennale and Picasso: In 1905, Fradeletto, the General Secretary, had one of his pieces removed from the Spanish Pavilion, as he feared that Picasso's innovative artistic language may cause a public scandal. Picasso's works were only to be exhibited at the Biennale in 1948, thanks to a retrospective curated by Guttuso.  

The artists selected for the main exhibition, VIVA ARTE VIVA
National Participations
Countries exhibited in their own pavilions at the 57th Intl. Art Exhibition
Collateral Events
Additional exhibitions and initiatives in Venice during the 57th Biennale