The discovery of Italy by American artists of the late nineteenth century. The relationship American impressionists had with Italy, and with Florence in particular, became very intense in the decades spanning the close of the nineteenth and dawn of the twentieth centuries. Florence, Venice and Rome had been at the heart of the Grand Tour for centuries and had become legendary for all those eager to study the art of the past. The book features the works by painters who, while not explicitly subscribing to the new style, were nevertheless crucial masters. Among them were Winslow Homer, William Morris Hunt, John La Farge, and Thomas Eakins. They were to be followed by great precursors such as John Singer Sargent, Mary Cassatt, and James Abbott McNeill Whistler, who could lay claim to considerable cosmopolitism. A place of honor is reserved for those artists who spent time in Florence and who deserve to be better known. Their number includes the American impressionist group known as the Ten American Painters. Besides them, Frank Duveneck also played an important role in fostering relations between American and local artists.
Francesca Bardazzi is an art historian and an expert in the sculpture of the first half of the twentieth century. A scholar of Cezanne and of his collectors in Italy, she has studied the figure of Italo-American collector and painter Egisto Fabbri. Carlo Sisi was the director of the Galleria D'arte Moderna di Palazzo Pitti in Florence until 2006. From 1999 to 2002, he was also the director of the Galleria del Costume. He has been president of the Museo Marini in Florence and has taught contemporary art history at Siena University.