? 1853 — 1942 or 49 Naples

Wooded Landscape

oil on thin panel. scratched into the paint by the artist to reveal the ground in very thin branchlike strokes. 5 7/8 x 7 1/2' (145 x 190 mm). signed in red paint, l/r: A Pratella.

Pratella's fame rests primarily on his exhilarating views of the Bay of Naples as fishermen set out or return with their catch. His technique is often free and painterly. Yet he paints in a post-impressionist manner when that suits his subject, such as those scenes of his beloved Vomero, that upper-class residential area high above the ancient city of Naples, that offers superb views of the sea and the islands of Capri, Ischia and Procida. He was one of a group of very talented Neapolitan artists working at the turn of the 20th c. which included Gemito, the superb sculptor, the extraordinary painters Michetti and Mancini, the great pastellist, Casciaro.

This small painting suggests a vast distant woodland. In contrast, the foreground features the beautifully articulated bare branches of tall trees which line a road at the edge of the woods. Particularly engaging are those limbs which have been etched out of the paint by a pointed tool. The orange-colored wood that is revealed seems like a warm sunlight that reflects off the branches. A gentleman in overcoat pauses on his walk to gaze at the luscious scene we are able to witness from another time and place.