Natura morta, 1926
Renato (René) Paresce
b. 1886, Carouge, Switzerland
d. 1983, Paris, France
Although Renato Paresce was born in Switzerland, he spent most of his boyhood in Florence, where he taught himself how to paint. He studied physics at the University of Palermo and, after completing his studies, moved to Paris. He began frequenting the artistic and cultural hubs, where he befriended Amedeo Modigliani and Pablo Picasso. At the start of World War I, Paresce and his wife, Ella Klatschko Vera—the daughter of a Russian revolutionary—moved to London. From there, Paresce continued to paint, in addition to serving as a journalist for the Italian newspaper La Stampa.
In 1926, Paresce participated in the first Novecento Italiano group exhibition in Milan. The Novecento Italiano artists were concerned with Italian nationalism, and rejected the northern European avant-garde in favor of their nation's strong artistic tradition. This concern can be seen in Natura Morta, created during the same year as the group exhibition. In this still life, the grapes, languidly spilling over the sherbet dish, and the scattered plump peaches hark back to an Italian Baroque still life by Caravaggio. However, the broken horizon line—a Cubist tendency—reveals the influence of Paresce's time in Paris.
A couple years later, Paresce became part of a group of Italian artists brought together by an exhibition at the Salon de l’Escalier: Massimo Campigli, Giorgio de Chirico, Filippo de Pisis, Alberto Savinio, Gino Severini, and Mario Tozzi. In 1933, he had his first solo show at the Galleria del Milione, and the year after, on a trip to the Fiji Islands and the Americas, he wrote the book L'altra America, which was published in 1935. He died two years later in Paris.