Shelburne Museum, Vermont
June 25–October 16, 2022
I AM NOT a great believer in fate. Still, it has a way of surprising one. Over ten years ago, while reading the letters between artist Romaine Brooks and writer Natalie Barney in Tulsa, Oklahoma, I saw a letter from Brooks mentioning that she wanted to see an exhibition of works by Italian-American artist Luigi Luciano. I had never heard of him, so I jotted down his name on an index card and promptly forgot about him. So when I heard there was a new book on Lucioni—David Brody’s Luigi Lucioni: Modern Light—I jumped at the chance to explore his work at last.
Lucioni enjoys a reputation as the “painter Laureate” of Vermont, and on the face of it, he looks like many American scene painters of the 1920s and ’30s. Picture a very different world from the one we find ourselves in now, a rural America before the Civil War. Imagine pristine mountains, upland pastures, aging barns, silos, and an occasional church spire. Communities are tidy, neat, predictable, and secure in their routines.
Cassandra Langer, a writer based in New York City, is the author of Romaine Brooks: A Life (Wisconsin).