Massimo Campigli, whose real name is Max Hilenfeld (Berlin 4thJuly 1985 – Saint – Tropez 3rdMay 1971), raised up in Italy, where his young mother bring him just after his born in order to avoid a family scandal. He grows up considering the mother as wife, and he will discover the truth only in 1910. This important discovery will have a decisive influence on his way of dealing with the female world. In 1914 Campigli works as secretary for the newspaper Il Corriere della Sera and in the same year he decides to join the war as a volunteer. In 1916 he is taken prisoner in the north of Vienna but he manages to escape and he finally moves to London. From 1919 to 1927 he is correspondent for Corriere della Sera from Paris, the city where he begins to devote himself to painting and where first admires Léger rather than Picasso. He did not have any teacher in his path of artist: he delimits a personal and separated horizon, in a dream of an evocative timeless desire of a boundless ancient imprinting of man, and indeed with all evidence of woman as an archetype.
The world of his childhood, the woman, antiquities and primitive cultures will be the main themes of her painting. Women are his favorite subject, but their sweetness will always be combined with privacy, a refusal or an inability to express themselves.
He participates for the first time in the Salon d’Automne in 1921. Since 1927 he has been able to live with the proceeds of his painting and leaves the position of correspondent for the Corriere della Sera. A few years later travels in central Italy, where he is enchanted by Etruscan art, so much that he denies the works painted in previous years, which he himself defines as "contradictory attempts".
In his painting post cubism takes over a lyrical sentiment now subject only to a slow and constant evolution, indifferent to schools and fashions. In 1928 he is invited to the Biennale di Venezia with a personal room; and he exposes to all editions between 1938 and 1948.
He exhibited in the main international museums in Leipzig, Paris, Madrid, Moscow and New York. He participates in various editions of the Triennale di Milano and the Quadriennale di Roma. Between 1939-40 he reaIized in Padua a monumental decoration (more than 250 square meters) inside the Liviano Palace, reminiscent of the Renaissance pictorial cycles that celebrates the historian Tito Livio. He returns to Paris in 1949 where he was already recognized as one of the best contemporary Italian painters.
He is invited to participate in the great exhibition of Italian art of the twentieth century in New York, organized by Alfred H. Barr and James Thrall Soby at the Museum of Modern Art.
In these years a change takes place in his painting: it is the coherent evolution of a path directed towards the essence of the figurative form, to the research of the archetype.
Since 1967 the artist divides his time between Rome and Saint-Tropez, where he dies on May 31, 1971.
Campigli's works are present in various museums around the world including the Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, Musée national d'Art Moderne Center Pompidou in Paris, MOMA in New York, Ikeda Museum of 20th Century Art in Shizuoka, Bellas Artes museum in Bilbao, Vatican Museums, Vatican City.
The Galleria d'Arte Maggiore g.a.m. has been working on Massimo Campigli's work since 1988, with the organization gallery’s space of a personal exhibition dedicated to the artist (December 1988 - January 1989). Thanks to the long friendship between Franco Calarota and Nicola Campigli, son of the artist, other two exhibitions have been organized by Galleria d’Arte Maggiore g.a.m. in collaboration with public institutions: one in 1989 in the faculty of letters of the University of Catania, and the other one in 2003 at Palazzo Sette, in Orvieto.