Adolfo Wildt

Milan 1868 — 1931

One of the most famous and esteemed sculptors of the Novecento, Adolfo Wildt blended neo-Classicism, echoes of Late Romanticism, Secessionist and Art Nouveau influences in a wondrous mingling of the ancient with the modern.

Receiving his initial training at the Brera Fine Arts Academy to which he repeatedly returned, and after a taxing beginning, in 1894 he met the Prussian collector Franz Rose, a man who would ensure him a certain degree of economic stability for as many as 18 years. Wildt was this able to consolidate his career as an artist on the basis of this fundamental relationship. Rose also introduced him to Munich’s lively world of art, which together with Vienna, Paris, and Brussels was the home of Modernism. Those were also the years in which he frequented the German art scene in Zurich, Dresden, and Berlin.

Returning to Italy just before the outbreak of the First World War, his career continued between enthusiastic admiration and harsh criticism. His work Vir tempori acti was done just then in 1914, and is now on display at Ca’ Pesaro along with his hugely powerful Parsifal, the Wagnerian hero, and his bas-relief, La Vergine allatta i pargoli cristiani to complete the impressive set that Wildt presented at Ca’ Pesaro. His support for Fascism complicated critical opinion until the 1980s, when his works were the subject of widespread revaluation.