current exhibition

Filippo de Pisis and Robert Mapplethorpe: A Distant Conversation

Revealing the intimate connections between the work of 20th-century Italian painter Filippo de Pisis and Robert Mapplethorpe’s photography.

On view April 13 through September 2, 2024.

Filippo de Pisis, Testa di fanciullo (Youth’s Head), 1933, pencil on paper, private collection, Italy.

Filippo de Pisis and Robert Mapplethorpe: A Distant Conversation is a new exhibition that pairs the work of painter Filippo de Pisis (Italian, 1896–1956) and photographer Robert Mapplethorpe (American, 1946–1989) as part of Distant Conversations, a series that features artists engaging in intergenerational dialogues across barriers of time and space.

The two artists never met in real life, and yet their work reveals astonishing similarities. “I was working separately on de Pisis and Mapplethorpe when I realized that there were many connections between the two,” explains Lorenzo Fusi, the exhibition’s curator. “I believe that these similarities are rooted in the commonality of their art-historical references and lived experience of the world.”

In unveiling these pairings for the first time, American audiences have an opportunity to discover the work of one of the most prolific Italian artists of the 20th century, and to consider lesser-known photographs by Mapplethorpe and revisit his oeuvre from a new perspective.

The Currier brings together 42 artworks by de Pisis, between paintings and works on paper, in what is effectively the largest exhibition of his work ever staged on US soil. His artworks will be displayed in tandem with 38 photographs by Mapplethorpe.

This exhibition is generously supported by Jay Surdukowski. Additional support by the Kimon and Anne Zachos Exhibition Fund.

about the artists
Filippo de Pisis (Luigi Filippo Tibertelli) (1896–1956) 
Born in 1896 in Ferrara (Italy), de Pisis studied literature and philosophy at the University of Bologna before moving to Rome in 1920, where he started to paint. A published author (poetry, novels, and essays), de Pisis is best known for his paintings (principally cityscapes, metaphysical maritime scenes, and still lifes, often including flowers). He also executed many portraits and studies of the male nude. 

The Associazione per Filippo de Pisis, which is partnering with the Currier on this exhibition, was instituted after the artist’s death to authenticate, preserve, research, catalog, and disseminate the work of de Pisis nationally and internationally. 

Robert Mapplethorpe (1946–1989) 
One of the most prominent and controversial fine arts photographers of his generation, Robert Mapplethorpe was born in Queens in 1946. Mapplethorpe’s instantly recognizable black-and-white photos are among the most iconic images of the 1970s and 80s. They became instant classics, a status they retain to this day despite some posthumous controversies. 

The works on view at the Currier are on loan from the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, established by the artist prior to his death with two principal goals: to support photography as an art form and to help fund HIV/AIDS medical research. 

past exhibitions

Archived material on past exhibitions can be explored further here, and recent past exhibition catalogues are available through the museum shop.

artist in residence

Our Artist-in-Residence (AIR) program invites artists to live and work at the museum. While in residence, artists consider the collection and community, and refresh our perspectives on the role of the museum. The program is central to the Currier Museum’s mission of connecting our audiences with art and creative thinking, whether of the past or the future. We hope to learn from our visiting artists – and be surprised by their perspectives.

Artists working in all media participate in the AIR program, which has three main components: 1) an open call to support emerging artists making socially engaged art; 2) an invitational through which artists are selected to develop special projects, commissions, or exhibitions; and 3) artist-led, community-centered public art projects in the city of Nashua, NH.


Open Call for Artist in Residence Applications

Our annual open call is currently live from October 1 – December 1, 2022. Artists who share the museum’s goal of positively impacting communities through the transformative power of art are encouraged to apply to this residency.

Learn More