Zandomeneghi, Federico



Impressionism: partaking 4 ‘impressionist’ expositions

Federico Zandomeneghi


An Italian between Realism and Impressionism

depicting elegant ladies and more

Was Zandomeneghi an Impressionist?
Though Zandomeneghi came to Paris in 1874, it was only in 1879 that he joined the ‘impressionist’ expositions. He was invited by Degas, with whom he was strongly befriended and with whom he announced partaking in 1882. All together he participated in 4 of the 8 ‘impressionist’ expositions, exhibiting 31 works. He also was befriended with Desboutin, Forain, Gauguin, Guillaumin, Pissarro and Renoir and he frequented Café Nouvelle Athènes. All this makes him a semi-prominent figure within the ‘impressionist’ art-movement, though not from the start.
Zandomeneghi mainly did figure painting, often rendering details. Most of these models are elegant ladies from the upper class, which makes it one-sided. Many models seem caught in the moment of their daily activities. Mostly the models don’t blend with their background. There also is some emphasize on drawing. Though Zandomeneghi sometimes uses black, most of his paintings are quite colourful. He often used a range of colours and regularly used juxtaposed brushstrokes. For the shades he also used blues and violets. Until about 1877 Zandomeneghi used a more realist painting style, using more subdued colours and rendering even more details. After 1877 he integrates many impressionist elements. Though he is put in the realistic section of Degas, you can say he merely used an impressionist style.


Federico Zandomeneghi joined the ‘impressionist’ expositions in 1879, 1880, 1881 and 1886:
At the 4th ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1879 Zandomeneghi showed 5 oil paintings (catalogue numbers 242-246; R2,p271). He was invited by Degas (R74;aR2;R88). His works are reviewed as ‘of a fresh, rich and intense tone and boldly painted’ (R90I,p243). Zandomeneghi is called a ‘luminous and fine colourist’ (R90I,p237)
At the 5th ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1880 Zandomeneghi showed 8 art-works (catalogue numbers 225-232; R2,p314), including 4 fans. Critics admired his realism, accuracy of characterization and attention to gesture (iR15). Silvestre placed him ‘in the true tradition of the intransigent.’ (R90I,p308).
At the 6th ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1881 Zandomeneghi showed 5 art-works (catalogue numbers 166-170; R2,p356), including 1 drawing and 1 panel for a dining room. Elie de Mont reviewed that ‘By his drawing, Zandomeneghi belongs to my second category (the rational); by his painting, he belongs to the first (the insane) (R2,p369).
Following Degas, Zandomeneghi refused to exhibit at the 7th ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1882 (R88;R2).
At the 8th ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1886 Zandomeneghi showed 12 art-works (catalogue numbers 235-246; R2,p447), including 8 pastels. All works were untitled, but there were many reviews and descriptions. In some reviews his lack of personality is criticised. Zandomeneghi showed serveral nudes. Compared to the nudes of Degas, they were more gracefull and sensual. Hermel reviewed ‘His brush lavishes bluish and violet tones on the flesh.’ (R90I,p457), which suggests an impressionist painting style. But Ajalbert mentions his ‘love of line’ (R90I,p431).
In total Zandomeneghi showed just 31 art-works, which is a low average of less than 8 art-works per exposition. He showed 17 oil paintings, 8 pastels (1886), 4 fans (1880). In 1881 he also showed 1 drawing and 1 panel for a dining room, see other techniques.
See link for his exhibited works. See link for an account.


Federico Zandomeneghi at the Salon and other exhibitions:
Before Zandomeneghi went to Paris in 1874, he regularly exhibited in Italy. He did so in Venice (1862-1871+73), in Genova (1864+65), in Turin (1864+66+69+70+71), Naples (1864), in Florence (1865+69+71), in Milan (1865+68+71+72+73), in Trieste (1865) and in Verona (1868) (R204,p397). In 1873 he also exhibited at the Universal Exhibition in Vienna (R204,p397). Before Zandomeneghi exhibited at the ‘impressionist’ expositions, he exhibited at the Salon in 1877. In 1878 +79 he exhibited again in Florence (R204,p398). In 1884 he exhibited at the Salon de la Société des Artistes Français (=SdAF) (he was called Frédéric) (iR1).
In 1887 Zandomeneghi joined the ‘Exposition des indépendants’ (R88II,p156). In 1889 his works became part of the Italian section of the Exposition Universelle in Paris (aR3;R204,p398); Zandomeneghi exhibited 5 paintings and 3 pastels, all without title (R231); he received a ‘mention honorable‘ (R88II,p157). In 1893 he had a solo exhibition at Durand-Ruel (aR2;R9;iR3;aR1;aR3;R204,p398), the preface of the catalogue was written by Arsène Alexandre (R88II,p157). In March (or May) 1898 (or early 1897) there was another solo exhibition at Durand-Ruel (aR1;R88;R204,p398) and in 1903 again (R88II,p158;R204,p398). In 1904 he exhibited at the Salon d’Automne (iR1). In 1906 he send in two works to the International Exhibition in Milan, but the reception was very cold; that year he also exhibited in Rome (aR1;R88;R204,p71+398). In 1907 and December 1908 Zandomeneghi participated in the exhibition “La Comédie Humaine” at the Georges Petit Gallery, together with Forain, Raffaëlli and Van Dongen (aR1;aR3;R88). October 1908 Zandomeneghi exhibited at the Rosenberg Gallery, showing 38 paintings and 11 pastels (aR1;R88;R204,p398). In 1908 + 1911 he also exhitibed at a regional exhibition in Mulhouse (iR1). In 1914 he exhibited at the XI Biennale at Venice in a room for his own, but the lukewarm reception of his compatriots disappointed him (R9;iR70;aR2;aR1;aR3;R88;R204,p68+398).
See link for some pictures exhibited at other expositions. See also the link to the account for more information.


Federico Zandomeneghi within artistic circles:
He was called ‘Zandò’ by his friends (R116I,p199;iR70;R88;R204,p65) and later also ‘le Vénitien’ (R88;iR15;iR14;R204,p65). From 1856-59 Zandomeneghi studied at the ‘Accademia di Belli Arti’ in Venice and later at the university in Pavia (iR41;iR3;R3;R9;aR1;R88;R89;R204,p70).  From 1862 till 1866/67 he joined the Macchiaioli in Florence (R74;R3,p546;R9;iR69;iR3;aR2;aR1;R204,p60); they painted in the open what they saw in nature, rendering especially the light and scenes of everyday life, using firm patches (macchia) of bright colour (R3,p534+7;R5,p215;R8,p384;iR3;R88); they emphasized the claire-obscure (R3,p537/8); they came together in ‘Café Michelangiolo‘ (R3,p535;R8,p384;iR41;iR3;aR1;R88;R89). Still Zandomeneghi was not much influenced by them (R9). Zandomeneghi was influenced by Michele Cammarano (iR69). During this time he also had contacts with the art-critic Diego Martelli (R9;R8,p384;iR70;iR5;R88;R89;R204,p62).
In 1874 Zandomeneghi would move to Paris. There he belonged to a groupe of expatriate Italians, including Giovanni Boldini and Giuseppe de Nittis (iR70;aR3;R88;iR15). He became friends with Degas, Desboutin, Forain, Pissarro, Renoir and related artists like Manet and Toulouse-Lautrec (iR70;R3;R74;R16;R8,p384;iR70;iR69;iR5;R88). Zandomeneghi doesn’t mention Monet in his letters, nor does Wildenstein mention any contacts between them (R204,p65;R22I). Some claim Zandomeneghi belonged to the clan around Degas (R5,p47+125;R1,p449+523;R116I,p175;); Huysmans (1880) made this division (R1,p441); so did Caillebotte (1881/01/24) calling him a fighter of Realism (R102,p275;R1,p448). Zandomeneghi and Degas were lifelong friends (aR2;R88;R204,p66). He sometimes shared models with Renoir (R88). Around 1887 Zandomeneghi had contacts with Gauguin and Guillaumin (R88II,p157). Zandomeneghi visited the Café Nouvelle-Athènes (R5,p47;R116I,p199;aR2;R88;R89;R204,p66), some say sometimes (R1,p399) others, including Rivière in 1921, say frequently (aR3;R204,p68;R82). In 1886 he painted en plein-air with Guillaumin in the Chevreuse valley (aR3); he would return in 1895 and then learned to bike (R204,p71). Around 1888 he was influenced by the Divisionism of Seurat and Signac (aR1), but another source mentions that Zandomeneghi avoided a servil adhesion to the theories of the Neo-Impressionists (R204,p64/5). He was very complimentary to Pissarro when he exhibited in 1891 prints and pastel drawings (R116I,p228;R88). At the end of October 1898 Zandomeneghi met Pissarro in Amsterdam; they made a trip to Haarlem and Zaandam and enjoyed a Rembrandt exhibition, other old masters and the picturesque country (R116I,p285/6;R88).
(In his early years) Zandomenghi never had much success (R3,p546;R9;iR3). He therefor also earned his money with drawing for fashion magazines (iR3;R3,p546). After 1878 his work was bought by Durand-Ruel (R88;R89;R74;R8,p384;iR3), to whom he was introduced by Degas (iR14) and he enjoyed a modest success (aR2;iR3). Arsène Alexander wrote for his first solo-exhibition in 1893 that he had to wait longer than the others to see his own work recognized (R204,p65). When we look at the Catalogo Generale, we see that many works of Zandomeneghi had been owned by Durand-Ruel, he is even called the ‘patron’ of Zandomeneghi (R204,p263-334+65). Other solo exhibitions at Durand-Ruel would follow in 1897 (or 98) and in 1903 (R204,398). In Italy he stayed unappreciated (aR2;iR3;R204,p65). Albert Bartholomé made a plaster of Zandomeneghi in 1890 (iR69, see below). Guglielmo Taubertie (1876-1949) was his pupil (iR70). Suzanne Valadon was one of his models (iR70;aR3;R88), see above.
His character is discribed as solitary, controversial, difficult, harsh, hostile, but also shy, antiheroic, dreamy and pliable (R204,p60+62+65+71+73).  Zandomeneghi had a strong humanitarian sentiment (R204,p61)


Federico Zandomeneghi his painting style:
At first Zandomeneghi was not much influenced by the Macchiaioli and painted in a sober, social naturalistic style (R9). In a realist style he reproduced everyday life (aR3).  Zandomeneghi produced most of his impressionist masterpieces in the late 1870s and early 1880s (iR70). He than focussed on the direct observation of the light and atmospheric effects (R9). He used small brushstrokes and complementary colours (R89,p106). He painted with a loose, sketchy brushstrokes (R3,p546). But also used a more academic finish (R89,p96). Zandomeneghi had an exemplary respect for form, using clear outlines for his figures and using it for defining the areas and leading the focus of the viewer’s eye (R204,p64+66+67). ‘Also typical are the intricate, luminous colour combinations and vibrant textures, which earned the artist the nickname of ‘Le Vénetien’ among fellow artists.’ (iR14). His use of colour was typical Venetian, using vibrations of blue, of pinks, of opalescent greens, using a divisionist brushstroke (R204,p69). But he doesn’t dissolve the figure into the atmosphere, like the Impressionists (R204,p69).He rendered the modern life and leisure (R3,p546;R89,p96). He used odd viewpoints and did cut off figures or objects (R89,p96+106). Sometimes he used a post-impressionistic flat, simplified style (R3,p546;R204,p67). His works have a certain sadness, like the gloomy realism of Degas (R9). In his work one can see ‘delicacy, subtlety and preciousness (R204,p66).
Zandomeneghi was mainly a figure painter (iR3). An important theme is ‘women and young girls absorbed in their daily activities’ (iR15;iR14;R204,p6). He combined the ‘Impressionist naturalism with the fin-de-siècle subject of female interior life’ (iR14). His figures are more sentimental and sensual than those of Degas (iR3;aR2;iR14;R204,p65). He rendered more ‘idealised images of young women’ (iR14). His style is often compared with Degas and Renoir, but still is quite different (R204,p62+64). His work had significant narrative and poetic elements, also called ‘figurative poetry’ (iR15;R204,p65+66+70).
1880 onwards pastel became an important medium for Zandomeneghi (iR5;R88;iR14); some sources mention this was 1890 onwards (iR3). At his later years, when his health declined, Zandomeneghi made many still lives, using intense and sparkling colours (R204,p71-73;R9).The New York Sun reviewed 1901/01/11 ‘In the use of his colors in the pastels he is as lavish as he is studious, with results of a fullness and body which works in pastel do not always have.’ (iR14) Zandomeneghi himself wrote in 1914 “my artistic life was a series of infinite evolutions that cannot be analyzed (…). As for my technique (…) the one I used was my won, I did not borrow it from anyone.” (R204,p64).


Federico Zandomeneghi and his elegant ladies:
A dominant theme in the works of Zandomeneghi are elegant ladies, who are occupied with reading, writing, sewing, tending flowers and chatting. They look friendly, are well dressed, seem from the upper class and their greatest worry seems to be how to wake up in the morning. Another theme are women, more or less nude, doing their toilet: washing, drying, clothing and warming before the fire. Even at the 8th ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1886 this was an important theme he depicted. Though the pastels exhibited in 1886 by Degas of ‘a serie of nude women who are bathing, washing, drying, wiping of, combing themselves or who are combed’ are more known. Zandomeneghi rendered his women in a warm, affectionate and sentimental way (R204,p65). He thus made a tender and luminous image of the bourgeois reality, rendering anecdotal poetry (R204,p65).
This dominant theme of elegant ladies, is something Zandomeneghi had in common with Cassatt, Somm and Vidal.


Federico Zandomeneghi, a short biography:

  • 1841/06/02: Federico Zandomeneghi was born at the Rio Marin in Venice (iR24;iR69;iR3;R9;R3;R74;iR1;R16;aR2;R88;R204,p70)
    Sometimes his first name is written as Frederico or Federigo (iR24).
  • His father and grandfather were neo-classic sculptors (iR41;R3;iR69;iR3;aR2;R88;R204,p59).
  • 1860-62: takes part at the Italian national movement led by Garibaldi and was arrested in 1862 (R3;R9;iR41;iR3;aR1;R88;R89;R204,p59+70).
  • 1862-66/67: lived in Florence (R74;R3;R9;iR41;R204,p60/1+70).
  • 1866/10/24: his father the sculptor Pietro Zandomeneghi died in Venice (iR69)
  • 1866/67-74: mainly lived at Venice (R3;R74;iR5)
  • 1866-74: visited at Rome and Florence (R3;iR3;iR5;aR1;R204,p61)
  • 1874/06/02: left for Paris (R204,p70+62;R3;R8,p384;iR69;iR3;aR2;R88). He never returned to Italy (aR2;R204,p62).
    He lived in the Hotel de Bruxelles, Rue de Clichy (aR1;R88;R204,p70).
  • He lived withdrawn and lonely (R3,p546)
  • 1875-78: he lived at 45, rue de la Victoire, Paris (R204,p70;iR1;aR1;R88)
  • 1878-79: Zandomeneghi lived at 25, passage de l’Élysée-des-Beaux-Arts, Paris (Montmartre) (R2,p271;aR1;R88;R204,p70)
  • 1880+81: he lived at 4, place d’Anvers (R2,p314+356)
  • 1884-86: he lived at 7, rue Tourlague (iR1;R2,p447;R204,p70); here he also had a studio, where Renoir visited him (R88II,p156); it was also the home of Toulouse-Lautrec (R204,p70)
  • 1893: lived with his sister Tonia in the valley of Chavreuse (aR1) or probably more correct:
    1895: made a trip with his sister Tonina to Fif-sur-Yvette in the Chevreuse Valley (R88II,p157); and / or:
    1900ca: he withdraw at Gif-sur-Yvette (R9)
  • 1917/12/30: Zandomeneghi died in his house at 7, rue Tourlaque, Montmartre, Paris (aR3;iR24;iR69;R9;R3;R74;R16;R204,p17). Some sources mention he died 31 December (R204,p71;iR3;aR2;aR1).
  • 1918/01/02: buried at the cemetery of Saint-Ouen (aR1;R88;R204,p71), just north of Paris.
  • 1918: auction of the belongings from his studio (aR1).
  • 1922: retrospective in Milan (R88II,p158)


My main sources are the Catalogo Generale, especially the article of Enrico Piceni from 1967 (2004=R204), Rewald (1973=R1), Moffett (1986=R2), Walther (2013=R3,p704), Denvir (1993=R5;1992=R8), Schurr&Cabanne (2008=R9,p746), Spiess (1992=R16,p369), Maillard (1968=R74), Monneret (1978-91=R88II,p153-159), Adler (1998=R89,p96+106), -/- Robberts (1990=R93), Berhaut (1994=R102), Pissarro&Durand-Ruel (2005=R116), the Salon database (iR1), Wikipedia (iR3-5), Sothebys (iR14), Christies (iR15), RKD (iR24), askart (iR41), Bénézit (iR69), Grove (iR70) and the additional references (=aRx). For other general references (=R) see. My main sources (for the pictures) from the internet are the-Athenaeum (iR2), Wikimedia (iR6), Google images (iR10), mutualart (iR11), artnet (iR13), Sotheby’s (iR14), Christies (iR15), Joconde (iR23), askart (iR41) and the additional references (aRx). For other references to internet sites (=iR) see. For other additional references (=aR) see below. See links for practical hints and abbreviations and for the subscription of the paintings.

For further reading see:
Piceni, Enrico: Zandomeneghi: L’uomo e l’opera. Milan, 1979 (R2,p505;R3)
Bénézit (1976,vol.X,p869=R75;1999,vol.14,p842-3=R76); Busse (1977,p1374=R77); Witt (1978,p334=R78);Thieme/Becker (vol.36,p402=R79) (iR24)
Piceni, E. : Three Italian friends of the Impressionists: Boldini, De Nittis, Zandomeneghi. Exhibition Catalogue. New York, 1984. (R165)
Ann Dumas, Degas and the Italians in Paris, exh. cat., Royal Scottish Academy, Glasgow, 2004 (iR14)


Additional references:

  1. (time line of Zandomeneghi in Italian)
  2. (a biography about Zandomeneghi)
  3. (article in Italian an Zandomeneghi)
  4. “Federico Zandomeneghi.” In Database of Modern Exhibitions (DoME). European Paintings and Drawings 1905-1915. Last modified Jul 6, 2020.  =iR261; overview of contributions of Zandomeneghi in exhibitions and auctions from 1905-1915 (6 entries)
  5. (review of the exposition ‘Impressionism: masterworks on paper’ in the Milwaukee Art Museum)
  6. (short article and picture of Zandomeneghi)
  7. (blog with many large pictures of Zandomeneghi)
  8. profdaquino//2020//zandomeneghi (PDF with many pictures en additional info)
  9. (website with many pictures and added info; = iR335)
  10. (Gallery offering a landscape of Zandomeneghi)


Recommanded citation: “Federico Zandomeneghi, an Italian between Realism and Impressionism, depicting elegant ladies and more, partaking at 4 ‘impressionist’ expositions. Last modified 2024/02/14.