Stanislao Lepri


Stanislao Lepri (born in Rome in 1905 and died in Paris, 1980) is one of the great unknowns of recent art history. Even during his lifetime, only a selected circle of collectors, art writers and dealers appreciated and presented his work to the public in exhibitions, catalogues and monographs. Stanislao Lepri is one of the most fascinating, and also mysterious masters of the visionary and fantastic in the art of the past century. He was Italian, yet in 1950, together with Leonor Fini, he moved to Paris, which, after the war, was still the multi-national centre and melting pot of artistic life.

Originally, Stanislao Lepri came from a conservative, aristocratic house – his family belonged to the hermetic circle of the “black nobility” in Rome, who were loyally devoted to the Pope. Stanislao, on the other hand, distanced himself from the social constraints of his class, and chose to lead the life of a « peintre maudit » in Paris in a « ménage à trois » with Leonor Fini and the Polish literary figure, Constantin Jelenski, a life which completely freed him from all restricting conventions. He was closely connected to Leonor Fini in his private life and as an artist, but was by no means merely her student.

He was capable of creating an utterly strange metaphysical and magical world sui generis painting, a world filled with dreamlike, melancholic exoticism and ubiquitous demonic powers, pervaded with satirizing irony and despair, yet also with deep human emotion. The certainties and dogmas of the past, he makes clear, have lost their validity. What remains are the governing powers of fate that act on everything and against which Lepri’s protagonists are helplessly pitted on the enigmatic stage of their lives. “Le monde n’a pas de sens” (The world has no meaning) claims the title of one of the artist’s last paintings – an overwhelming metaphor for the elemental loss of meaning in one’s existence, an existential emblem for an emotional intensity that can no longer be intensified. The world is absurd, grotesque, lifeless as T.S. Eliot’s “The Wasteland”. Yet constant metamorphosis underlies the world. Nothing is as it seems, and in order to grasp reality in its true form, the painter draws mythical visions of another, an extra-real metaphysical world beyond the real appearances in the forms of reality itself. Stanislao Lepri is the author and creator of utterly strange, metaphysical extra-worlds – ultramondi metafisici, in which he raises “the unbelievable, the ambiguous, the contrary, the dark metaphor, the allusion, the astute, the sophism” to symbolic figures of a new, seemingly hermetically coded reality pervaded with mysteries that still hold a deep, inner truth: of these there are not only one, but several, indeed, countless mutually contradicting truths, all of them with their own legitimacy. The world is a labyrinth that eludes every simple, rational, uncomplicated penetration.


Gallerie Pierre Colle, Paris, 1946

Galerie Hugo, New York, 1947

Galerie Morihien, Paris, 1949

Galerie L’Obelisco, Roma, 1950

Galerie Isis, Cairo, 1951

Galerie Chiurazzi, Roma, 1952

Galerie La Sirène, Brussels, 1952

Galerie Allard, Paris, 1954

Galerie Monte Napoleone, Milan, 1955

Galerie 93, Paris, 1957

Galerie La Gravure, Paris, 1959

Galerie Furstenberg, Paris, 1960

Trafford Gallery, London 1961

Galerie Furstenberg, Paris, 1961

Galerie Marignan, Paris, 1962

Trafford Gallery, London, 1963

Galerie Marignan, Paris, 1964

Galerie Desbrière, Paris, 1966

Trafford Gallery, London, 1967

Galerie “Il Fauno”, Turin, 1968

Galerie Desbrière, Paris, 1969

Galerie Isy Brachot, Brussels, 1970

Galerie Alexander Iolas, New York, 1970

Galerie Alexander Iolas, Geneva, 1971

Galerie Davico, Turin, 1971

Galerie Canesi, Geneva, 1971

Galleria d’Arte Moderna, rétrospective au Palazzo dei Diamanti, Ferrara, 1972

Galerie Zerbib, Paris, 1973

Galerie Fauno due, Turin, 1973

Galerie della Rochetta, Parma, 1974

Galerie Lambert, Paris, 1975

Théâtre Oblique, Paris, 1975

Galerie Altman-Carpentier, Paris, 1975

Kurpfalzisches Museum, Heidelberg, 1977

Galerie Présences, Brussels, 1977

Galerie Carpentier, Paris, 1979

Galerie Proscenium, Paris, 1981

L’Autre musée, Brussels, 1982

Studio Pao, Milan, 1982

Mairie du VIIème arrondissement, Paris, 1990

Galerie Dionne, Paris, 1993

Galleria del Leone, Venice, 1994

Galleria Ca’ d’Oro, Roma, 1996

Maison de la Loire, Saint-Dyé-sur-Loire, 1997

Galerie Arcade Colette, Palais Royal, Paris, 1997

Château de Vascoeuil, Normandie, 1998

« Surrealism: Two Private Eyes, the Nesuhi Ertegun and Daniel Filipacchi Collections », Musée Guggenheim, 1999

Panorama Museum, rétrospective au Bad Frankenhausen, 2002

Galerie Minsky, Paris, 2002



Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris
Museum of Modern Art, New York
Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna, Roma
Musée d’Art Moderne, Lodz (Pologne)
And in numerous french, italian, english, american, and belgian private collections