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Wireless News Aggregation

Friday — January 6, 2023 — Issue No. 1,044

Welcome Back To

The Wireless
Messaging News

Wireless Messaging News

  • Emergency Radio Communications
  • Wireless Messaging
  • Critical Messaging
  • Two-way Radio
  • Technology
  • Telemetry
  • Science
  • Paging
  • Wi-Fi
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This Week's Wireless Headlines:

Special emphasis on fine art this week.

  • Japan's Sompo faces $750m lawsuit over Van Gogh's 'Sunflowers'
    • Heirs of former owner argue insurer ignored Nazi role in painting's history
  • RadioResource Media Group — Signing Off After 37 Years
  • Clients should update their BloostonLaw contact information as designated DC service agent
    • End of an Era as Carriers Turn Off the Last of 3G
  • A forgotten Impressionist is rediscovered at the Phillips Collection
    • Giuseppe De Nittis, an Italian working in Paris, died young and in debt, but left a magnificent legacy of work
    • Balanced vs Unbalanced Audio.
    • Do Balanced Cables Sound Better?
    • “The Case for Impressionism”


This doesn't mean that nothing is ever published here that mentions a US political party—it just means that the editorial policy of this newsletter is to remain neutral on all political issues. We don't take sides.

About Us

A new issue of the Wireless Messaging Newsletter is posted on the web each week. A notification goes out by e-mail to subscribers on most Fridays around noon central US time. The notification message has a link to the actual newsletter on the web. That way it doesn’t fill up your incoming e-mail account.

There is no charge for subscription and there are no membership restrictions. Readers are a very select group of wireless industry professionals, and include the senior managers of many of the world’s major Paging and Wireless Messaging companies. There is an even mix of operations managers, marketing people, and engineers — so I try to include items of interest to all three groups. It’s all about staying up-to-date with business trends and technology.

I regularly get readers’ comments, so this newsletter has become a community forum for the Paging, and Wireless Messaging communities. You are welcome to contribute your ideas and opinions. Unless otherwise requested, all correspondence addressed to me is subject to publication in the newsletter and on my web site. I am very careful to protect the anonymity of those who request it.

I spend the whole week searching the INTERNET for news that I think may be of interest to you — so you won’t have to. This newsletter is an aggregator — a service that aggregates news from other news sources. You can help our community by sharing any interesting news that you find.

Editorial Policy

Editorial Opinion pieces present only the opinions of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the views of any of advertisers or supporters. This newsletter is independent of any trade association. I don't intend to hurt anyone's feelings, but I do freely express my own opinions.


Click on the image above for more info about advertising in this newsletter.



How would you like to help support The Wireless Messaging News? Your support is needed. New advertising and donations have fallen off considerably.
A donation through PayPal is easier than writing and mailing a check and it comes through right away.

There is not a lot of news about Paging these days but when anything significant comes out, you will probably see it here. I also cover text messaging to other devices and various articles about related technology.

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Advertiser Index

Easy Solutions  (Vaughan Bowden)
Frank Moorman
IWA Technical Services, Inc.  (Ira Wiesenfeld)
Leavitt Communications  (Phil Leavitt)
Prism-IPX Systems  (Jim Nelson & John Bishop)
Paging & Wireless Network Planners LLC  (Ron Mercer)

Service Monitors and Frequency Standards for Sale

Motorola Service Monitor

IFR Service Monitor

IFR 500A Service Monitor

(Images are typical units, not actual photos of items offered for sale here.)

Qty Item Notes
2 Late IFR 500As  
1 Motorola R 2001D  
4 Motorola R 2400 and 2410A  
5 Motorola R 2600 and R 2660 late S/Ns  
4 Motorola R 1200  
2 Motorola R 2200  
2 Stand-alone Efratom Rubidium Frequency Standards 10 MHz output
1 Telawave model 44 wattmeter Recently calibrated
1 IFR 1000S  
All sold with 7-day ROR (Right of Refusal), recent calibration, operation manual, and accessories.  
Factory carrying cases for each with calibration certificate.  
Many parts and accessories  

Frank Moorman animated left arrow

(254) 596-1124

Calibration and Repair (NIST 17025)
Upgrades: We can add the FE 5680A 10 MHz rubidium clock to your unit. Small unit fits into the well in the battery compartment — making it a world standard accuracy unit that never needs to be frequency calibrated.
Please inquire by telephone or e-mail.
Most Service Monitor Accessories in stock.

Leavitt Communications


50 years experience providing and supporting radio and paging customers worldwide. Call us anytime we can be useful!






Minitor VI

Leavitt sells and supports most pager brands. We stock Unication G1, G5, Secure and some Elegant pagers. Call or e-mail for price and availability.

Philip C. Leavitt, V.P.
Leavitt Communications
7508 N. Red Ledge Drive
Paradise Valley, AZ 85253

Web Site:
Mobile phone: 847-494-0000
Telephone: 847-955-0511
Fax: 270-447-1909
Skype ID: pcleavitt


Japan's Sompo faces $750m lawsuit over Van Gogh's 'Sunflowers'

Heirs of former owner argue insurer ignored Nazi role in painting's history

Visitors admire three paintings by Vincent Van Gogh on display at Tokyo's Sompo Museum of Art in 2003. © AP

MOMOE BAN, Nikkei staff writer
January 5, 2023 06:52 JST

NEW YORK — Japanese insurer Sompo Holdings has been sued over a painting from Vincent Van Gogh's famed "Sunflowers" series by the heirs of a former owner, a victim of Nazi persecution forced to sell the work under duress.

The lawsuit was filed Dec. 13 in an Illinois federal court by three heirs and descendants of Paul von Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, a Jewish banker and art collector in Berlin. It seeks the return of "Sunflowers" or payment of the fair market value, in addition to $750 million in punitive damages, in light of the profit Sompo has earned from its ownership of the painting, including the benefits to its brand and marketing.

In the mid-1930s, Mendelssohn-Bartholdy was forced to liquidate a collection that also included works by Pablo Picasso and Claude Monet. His version of "Sunflowers" was sold to a French gallery, where it was acquired by a British collector in 1934.

In 1987, the painting was bought by Yasuda Fire and Marine Insurance, Sompo's predecessor company, at auction at Christie's London for roughly 5.3 billion yen, equivalent to a record-breaking $40 million at the time. "Sunflowers" remains on display at the Sompo Museum of Art in Tokyo.

The lawsuit alleges that the purchase was "in reckless disregard of the painting's provenance" published by Christie's, which showed that "Sunflowers" had been sold by Mendelssohn-Bartholdy "at a time when notorious Nazi policies were targeting and dispossessing elite Jewish bankers."

As for why the complaint is being filed now when the deal in question was over three decades ago, a source on the plaintiffs' side told Nikkei that "even the plaintiffs and lawyers did not discover the identity of Sunflowers until 2008."

The source cited the Holocaust Expropriated Art Recovery Act of 2016, which "basically resurrects a lot of potential claims for the recovery of materials lost as a result of the Nazi policies during the '30s and '40s that otherwise had been barred by statutes of limitation."

The legislation, also known as the HEAR Act, set a nationwide six-year statute of limitations for such cases, starting when the plaintiff learns either the identity and location of the artwork in question or their ownership rights. A Sompo representative told Nikkei that the company "has not been served a copy of the complaint," and noted that the purchase at the Christie's auction is "a matter of public record." "Sompo categorically rejects any allegation of wrongdoing and intends to vigorously defend its ownership rights in 'Sunflowers,'" the representative said.

Source: NIKKEI Asia  

Paging Transmitters 150/900 MHz

The RFI High Performance Paging Transmitter is designed for use in campus, city, state and country-wide paging systems. Designed for use where reliable simulcast systems where RF signal overlap coverage is critical.

  • Commercial Paging systems.
  • Healthcare Paging systems.
  • Public Safety Emergency Services Paging systems.
  • Demand Response Energy Grid Management.

Built-in custom interface for Prism-IPX ipBSC Base Controller for remote control, management and alarm reporting.


  • Use as a stand-alone unit or in wide area network.
  • Mix with other transmitter brands in an existing paging network.
  • Adjustable from 20-250 watts.
  • 110/240 VAC or 48VDC.
  • Absolute Delay Correction.
  • Remote Diagnostics.
  • Configurable alarm thresholds.
  • Integrated Isolator.
  • Superb Reliability.
  • Improved amplifier efficiency.
  • Most reliable high-powered paging transmitter available.

Prism-IPX Systems LLC.

11175 Cicero Dr., Alpharetta, GA 30022
Ph: 678-242-5290 Email:

IMPORTANT left arrow

“Is Paging Going Away?” by Jim Nelson

  • Click here for English.
  • Click here for German. (Berlin Revision: November 8, 2016)
  • Click here for French.

Here is an English PDF edit of this paper formatted with page breaks and suitable for printing.

Volunteers needed for translations into other languages.

Board of Advisors

The Wireless Messaging News
Board of Advisors

Frank McNeill
Founder & CEO
Communications Specialists
Jim Nelson
President & CEO
Prism IPX Systems International
Kevin D. McFarland, MSCIS
Sr. Application Systems Analyst
Medical Center
Paul Lauttamus, President
Lauttamus Communications & Security
R.H. (Ron) Mercer
Wireless Consultant
Barry Kanne
Paging Industry Veteran
Ira Wiesenfeld, P.E.
Consulting Engineer
Allan Angus
Consulting Engineer

The Board of Advisor members are people with whom I have developed a special rapport, and have met personally. They are not obligated to support the newsletter in any way, except with advice, and maybe an occasional letter to the editor.


Can You Help The Newsletter?

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You can help support The Wireless Messaging News by clicking on the PayPal Donate button above. It is not necessary to be a member of PayPal to use this service.

Reader Support

Newspapers generally cost 75¢ $1.50 a copy and they hardly ever mention paging or wireless messaging, unless in a negative way. If you receive some benefit from this publication maybe you would like to help support it financially?

A donation of $50.00 would certainly help cover a one-year period. If you are wiling and able, please click on the PayPal Donate button above .


PRISM IPX Systems Critical Messaging Solutions


Thousands of Users Worldwide Depend on Prism IPX

Our Customers Trust Us To Make Sure That Their Messages Get Delivered

Prism-IPX Systems products include full-featured radio paging systems with VoIP input, IP based transmitter control systems and paging message encryption. Other options include email messaging, remote switch controllers, Off-The-Air paging message decoders and logging systems.

How Can We Help You With Your Critical Messaging Solutions?


MORE INFO HERE left arrow


Easy Solutions

easy solutions

Providing Expert Support and Service Contracts for all Glenayre Paging Systems.

The GL3000 is the most prolific paging system in the world and Easy Solutions gladly welcomes you to join us in providing reliable support to the paging industry for many more decades in the future.

Easy Solutions provides cost effective computer and wireless solutions at affordable prices. We can help in most any situation with your communications systems. We have many years of experience and a vast network of resources to support the industry, your system and an ever changing completive landscape.

  • We treat our customers like family. We don’t just fix problems . . . We recommend and implement better cost-effective solutions.
  • We are not just another vendor . . . We are a part of your team. All the advantages of high priced full-time employment without the cost.
  • We are not in the Technical Services business . . . We are in the Customer Satisfaction business.

Experts in Paging Infrastructure

  • Glenayre, Motorola, Unipage, etc.
  • Excellent Service Contracts
  • Full Service—Beyond Factory Support
  • Making systems More Reliable and MORE PROFITABLE for over 30 years.

Please see our web site for exciting solutions designed specifically for the Wireless Industry. We also maintain a diagnostic lab and provide important repair and replacement parts services for Motorola and Glenayre equipment. Call or  e-mail  us for more information.

Easy Solutions
3220 San Simeon Way
Plano, Texas 75023
Vaughan Bowden
Telephone: 972-898-1119
Telephone: 214-785-8255

Readers of the Newsletter who are Ham Radio Operators

Pete Oesterle VE3HOH/W3
John Nagel W5EXJ
Anthony Hedge KD9BKH
Jerry Daugherty W9FS
Marshall Sherard KE4ZNR
Barry Kanne W4TGA
Steve Siegel K3SLS
Loren Anderson KEØHZ
Dan Ruhe KE3UC
Bill Woods N9SVU
Paul Sadowski AH6LS & DH6LS
Larry Gabriel K4BZY
Gary Blinckmann WA2IQC
Peter Moncure W4PWM
James Petera N8IXP
Ed Lyda WA4OEI
Brad Dye K9IQY
Bill Waugaman WA3OJG
Paul DeLong KF4LNB
Albert Erdmann KJ4BWW
Ken Pearce N4KCD
Tim Jones K4MSP / W4FWD (Repeater)
Brent Finster K6BEF
Charles Tindall KF5VPB
Frank Moorman KE5CSP
Graham Jones W5AAG
Denis Gignac VE2EAM
Ira Wiesenfeld WA5GXP
John Linko N3RTS
Miguel Gonzalez YY5OGU
Philip Leavitt N9CPO
Chris Baldwin KF6AJM (KB3PX Repeater)
Joe Delio KE8BGH
Ken Countess KN2D (ex-WA2MSF)
Paul Piccola W5BPP
Matt Lunati N7OEI
John Linko N3RTS

Source: Amateur Radio callsigns of readers. Please click here to add yours.


Service Contracts

I would like to recommend Easy Solutions for Support of all Glenayre Paging Equipment. This Texas company is owned and operated by Vaughan Bowden. I have known Vaughan for over 35 years. Without going into a long list of his experience and qualifications, let me just say that he was the V.P. of Engineering at PageNet which was—at that time—the largest paging company in the world. So Vaughan knows Paging.

GTES is no longer offering support contracts. GTES was the original group from Vancouver that was setup to offer support to customers that wanted to continue with the legacy Glenayre support. Many U.S. customers chose not to use this service because of the price and the original requirement to upgrade to version 8.0 software (which required expensive hardware upgrades, etc.). Most contracts ended as of February 2018.

If you are at all concerned about future support of Glenayre products, especially the “king of the hill” the GL3000 paging control terminal, I encourage you to talk to Vaughan about a service contract and please tell him about my recommendation.

Click on the image above for more info about advertising here.

INTERNET Protocol Terminal

The IPT accepts INTERNET or serial messaging using various protocols and can easily convert them to different protocols, or send them out as paging messages.

An ideal platform for hospitals, on-site paging applications, or converting legacy systems to modern protocols.

Input Protocols: Serial and IP
Output Protocols: Serial and IP
FLEX (optional PURC control)   POCSAG (optional PURC control)

Additional/Optional Features

  • Database of up to 5000 subscribers.
  • 4 serial ports on board.
  • Up to 8 phone lines (DID or POTS).
  • Can be configured for auto-fail-over to hot swap standby.
  • 1RU rack mount unit appliance—no moving parts.
  • Easily secure legacy system messages leaving site for HIPAA compliance.
  • Only purchase the protocols/options you need.
  • Add Paging Encryption for HIPAA compliance on site.

Prism-IPX Systems LLC.

11175 Cicero Dr., Alpharetta, GA 30022
Ph: 678-242-5290 e-mail:

Paging Data Receiver PDR-4

The PDR-4 is a multi-function paging data receiver that decodes paging messages and outputs them via the serial port, USB or Ethernet connectors.

Designed for use with Prism-IPX ECHO software Message Logging Software to receive messages and log the information for proof of transmission over the air, and if the data was error free.

  • Option—decode capcode list or all messages.
  • Large capcode capacity.
  • Serial, USB and Ethernet output.
  • POCSAG or FLEX page decoding, special SA protocols.
  • Receivers for paging bands in VHF, UHF, 900 MHz.
  • Message activated Alarm Output.
  • 8 programmable relay outputs.
  • Send notifications of a system problem.
  • Synthesized Receiver Tuning.
  • Selectivity better than 60 dB.
  • Frequencies 148-174, 450-470, 929-932 MHz.
  • Image Rejection better than 55 dB.
  • Spurious Rejection better than 55 dB.
  • Channel Spacing 12.5 or 25 kHz.
  • Power 5VDC.
  • Receiving Sensitivity 5µV at 1200 bps.

Prism-IPX Systems LLC.

11175 Cicero Dr., Alpharetta, GA 30022
Ph: 678-242-5290 e-mail:

Wireless Network Planners

Wireless Network Planners
Wireless Specialists

R.H. (Ron) Mercer
217 First Street
East Northport, NY 11731

Telephone: 631-786-9359 left arrow

RadioResource Media Group — Signing Off After 37 Years

Friday, December 30, 2022

After 37 years of providing media and marketing services to the critical communications industry, the RadioResource Media Group division of Pandata Corp. will be signing off on December 31, 2022. According to president and founder Paulla Nelson-Shira, "We appreciate our readers who have come to trust our media, but we have found that the business model of advertising-supported media in the critical communications sector is no longer viable. and its related digital brand of products will no longer be updated as of January 1, 2023."

"Credible journalism has been our mission from day one and we are proud of the products we produced and beholden to our team of dedicated employees who shared our vision. We are thankful to our advisors who provided insight and feedback, and grateful to our advertisers who made it possible for us to deliver credible, relevant, and useful news and information on the critical communications industry to nearly 190 countries."

"After nearly four decades, our business has taken us around the world. I feel very fortunate to have been in business at a time in history when global markets were more open. My fondest memories are from traveling to trade shows near and far to witness the latest advances in technology and gather with other industry professionals. It has been an amazing journey."

According to Nelson-Shira, "It has been an honor serving the critical communications industry. Over the past 37 years, I have watched wireless technology evolve from 2G to 5G with 6G on the horizon, and witness media move from print-only to social media and search engines pushing news to users' mobile phones. Hopefully, the decision makers of tomorrow will be able to sift through the deluge of information available and be able to discern fact from fiction."

Source: Radio Resource Media Group Thanks to John de N3RTS

Consulting Alliance

Brad Dye, Ron Mercer, Allan Angus, and Ira Wiesenfeld are friends and colleagues who work both together and independently, on wireline and wireless communications projects.

Click here left arrow for a summary of their qualifications and experience. Each one has unique abilities. We would be happy to help you with a project, and maybe save you some time and money.

Note: We do not like Patent Trolls, i.e. “a person or company who enforces patent rights against accused infringers in an attempt to collect licensing fees, but does not manufacture products or supply services based upon the patents in question.” We have helped some prominent law firms defend their clients against this annoyance, and would be happy to do some more of this same kind of work.

Some people use the title “consultant” when they don't have a real job. We actually do consulting work, and help others based on our many years of experience.

“If you would know the road ahead, ask someone who has traveled it.” — Chinese Proverb

Remote AB Switches

ABX-1 switches are often used at remote transmitter sites to convert from old, outdated and unsupported controllers to the new modern Prism-IPX ipBSC base station controllers. Remotely switch to new controllers with GUI commands.


ABX-3 switches are widely used for enabling or disabling remote equipment and switching I/O connections between redundant messaging systems.


Common Features:

  • RJ45 for A, B and Common connectors.
  • Manual push button or use Prism IP commands to switch one or more relays.
  • Single or Dual Port Control card for IP or Serial connection.
  • Form C relay—control local connection.
  • Power Loss Indicator.
  • Rear Panel Connector for controlling the switch externally.
  • Power Source: 5VDC for ABX-1; 12VDC for ABX-3.

Prism-IPX Systems LLC.

11175 Cicero Dr., Alpharetta, GA 30022
Ph: 678-242-5290 e-mail:


Effective January 1, Gerry Duffy is leaving the Blooston firm to pursue other opportunities. We wish him all the best. Any questions about work that the firm is handling for you can be directed to Ben Dickens (202-828-5510, concerning wireline/broadband matters, or John Prendergast (202-828-5540, concerning wireless, cable or any other matter. Our attorneys will be reaching out to clients that have had us handle CPNI and other required filings, at the appropriate time.

Firm name change:

As of January 1, the firm name will be updated; and as previously reported, our firm has recently moved to a different suite within our building. Our new name and address are:

Blooston, Mordkofsky, Dickens & Prendergast, LLP
2120 L Street NW, Suite 825
Washington, DC 20037

You will want to note these changes in your records.

Designated DC Service Agent Update:

The Blooston Firm acts as the designated DC service agent for hundreds of clients. The FCC mandates that many regulated entities designate an agent located in the District of Columbia, to be served with certain notifications relating to their regulatory compliance. Clients that have designated the Blooston Firm as their DC service agent will want to take the next opportunity (e.g., in the upcoming FCC Form 499A report) to update the firm’s information, including the name and address changes described above. Those clients who previously listed Gerry Duffy as the particular Blooston attorney to serve as their agent can instead list Ben Dickens, John Prendergast, Richard Rubino, Cary Mitchell or Sal Taillefer as the contact. Regardless of which attorney you designate, you should list the email address as, which will go to multiple attorneys at the firm to make sure any FCC notifications served on us will be focused on and reported to you in a timely manner.

Please let us know if you have any questions.

Source: Blooston, Mordkofsky, Dickens & Prendergast, LLP

Leavitt Communications

We can supply alphanumeric display, numeric display, and voice pagers.

We also offer NEW and refurbished Alphamate 250s, refurbished Alphamate IIs, the original Alphamate refurbished, and new and refurbished pagers, pager repairs, pager parts, and accessories. We are FULL SERVICE in Paging! Outstanding service is our goal.

E-mail Phil Leavitt ( ) for pricing and delivery information, or for a list of other available paging and two-way related equipment.

Phil Leavitt

7508 N. Red Ledge Drive
Paradise Valley, AZ 85253

Inside Towers Newsletter

Wednesday, January 4, 2023 Volume 11, Issue 2

End of an Era as Carriers Turn Off the Last of 3G

By J. Sharpe Smith, Inside Towers Technology Editor

At the beginning of this year, Verizon and UScellular threw the final switch, turning off the last of the major 3G networks. The move follows the denouement of the 3G networks of AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile in February, May and July, respectively. The 3G network shutdowns free up spectrum between 850 MHz and 2 GHz, which will be “refarmed” and used for 5G.

Shutting down a network can be messy, leaving customers with useless devices. To that end, Verizon pushed back its original date in 2019 to minimize disruptions and allow users to move to newer technologies. Along with handsets, 3G-connected alarm systems were some of the victims. Verizon said that 99 percent of its customers have moved to 4G LTE or 5G, with less than one percent still accessing the 3G network.

“We worked for the past several years to help those who still have 3G devices transfer to devices capable of accessing the 4G LTE or 5G networks and continue to actively work with remaining 3G customers to migrate them to new devices and technology,” Verizon said. “We’ve already developed migration plans with most of our business customers to ensure any 3G devices they have in vehicles and equipment have been migrated to 4G LTE or 5G technology as soon as possible.”

The network shutdowns mark the end of an era that began when commercial 3G was rolled out between 2001 and 2007. The advances in the network led to the invention of the smartphone, which combined the features of a personal digital assistant with a mobile phone.

“Suddenly iPhones and Androids were like portable computers and 3G introduced the term “mobile broadband” because its speed and capability made it a great alternative for Internet browsing,” Verizon said. “3G introduced us to the benefits of apps and GPS systems and made our entire life-on-the-go possible.”

Source: Inside Towers newsletter Courtesy of the editor of Inside Towers, Jim Fryer.
Inside Towers is a daily newsletter by subscription.


A forgotten Impressionist is rediscovered at the Phillips Collection

Giuseppe De Nittis, an Italian working in Paris, died young and in debt, but left a magnificent legacy of work

Review by Philip Kennicott
January 5, 2023 at 6:00 a.m. EST

Philip Kennicott is the Pulitzer Prize-winning art and architecture critic of The Washington Post. He has been on staff at The Post since 1999, first as classical music critic, then as culture critic.

Giuseppe De Nittis's "The Train Passes," 1869.
(Pinacoteca Giuseppe De Nittis Barletta, Italy)

The train in Giuseppe De Nittis’s 1869 painting “The Train Passes” is there mostly by implication. A thick plume of white smoke or steam suggests the presence of an engine, and a small, dark form on the horizon seems to be its origin. But the bleak landscape of a few, spindly, leafless trees underscores the real subject: a world transformed by trains, coal and industry, and cities and countries brought into new intimacy by extensive networks of rail, roads and waterways.

De Nittis, whose work is surveyed in the Phillips Collection’s engaging and revelatory exhibition “An Italian Impressionist in Paris: Giuseppe De Nittis,” was born to a prosperous family in Apulia, in the south of Italy. But he also worked in Paris and London, was friends with Manet, Degas and Gustave Caillebotte, and exhibited in the first Impressionist exhibition of 1874 in Paris. He had built a substantial career as a painter before his sudden death from a stroke at age 38 in 1884.

He was enormously talented and highly skilled, with a unique eye and sensibility, yet remains relatively unknown. De Nittis’s early death may have something to do with that. But more likely, his facility as a painter, and his ability to produce both polished salon work and ambitious visual experiments, have made him a difficult artist to define. As one of the catalogue essays for this exhibition observes, he was a “man in the middle.” And art history isn’t kind to anything that smacks of compromise or indecision.

Art museums are well stocked with lesser Impressionists and Post-Impressionists, artists who caught the drift but not the essence of the new painting styles that emerged in Paris in the second half of the 19th century. De Nittis was not that sort of artist. His exploration of color and composition was as distinctive and even radical as any by his better-known friends and colleagues. But he was deeply and unapologetically bourgeois in his basic world view, and elegant dresses, sumptuous fabrics and beautiful faces were as attractive to him as light refracted through clouds, mist or smog.

De Nittis's “The Races at Auteuil, Paris — On the Chair,” 1883.
(Pinacoteca Giuseppe De Nittis)

An exhibition of De Nittis’s work in Paris more than a decade ago used the subtitle “elegant modernity” to describe his work, and it is his relation to elegance that may have limited his posthumous reputation. When he painted nightlife, he didn’t turn to the demimonde of raucous cafes or circus spectacles, but to the soft and flattering light of a sumptuous salon. When he painted the women of Paris, they weren’t bleary eyed from too much booze, or yielding their bodies to the intrusive gaze of male clients and patrons. They were well-dressed, self-possessed and alert to the world around them.

In a late work, from 1884, De Nittis captured his wife and son having breakfast at an outdoor table in a well-manicured garden. The colors have the brightness and glare of Manet, and you may wish you had sunglasses when looking at the sun-drenched grass in the background. But despite that, the atmosphere is one of gentility and calm. The fine dishes and flowers on the table invite the viewer to linger in a pool of perfect shade. The artist will unsettle our sense of color and light, but he won’t disturb breakfast.

In Giuseppe De Nittis's “Breakfast in the Garden,” 1884, he captured his wife and son having breakfast in a well-manicured garden.
(Pinacoteca Giuseppe De Nittis)

There’s no seamy underside to these works, which are both elegant and modern, as if there is no contradiction between the two ideas. For De Nittis, there probably wasn’t. But that doesn’t make him a complacent or bland artist, especially if you view his salon elegance in the larger context of his early landscapes, including that painting of a train passing.

The elusive train and the blasted trees both suggest unseen forces. It isn’t even clear which way the train is going, given what feels like a surge of smoke wafting toward the viewer (carried by wind faster than the advancing train itself, or drifting toward us lazily as the train passes into the background?). Roads that seem to hurtle into the distance were a common theme of De Nittis’s early work, as if he were trying to capture both his ambition — to make art in the capital of the 19th century — and a growing sense of displacement, as transportation networks erased the distance between Naples and Paris, and effaced ideas of home and permanence.

His later cityscapes in Paris have a similar sense of unease. Paris was transformed during the years De Nittis lived there (he settled in Paris permanently in 1868). War and revolution left their scars, and the massive dislocation of Baron Haussmann’s urban renewal efforts made the city a perpetual building site, full of incipient order and beauty as well as the chaos and disruption of construction.

The grittiness of urban life is present in De Nittis’s work not through social markers like poverty or exploitation, but architecturally. The street scene captured in his 1875 “The Place des Pyramides” is as cold and damp as the glistening cobblestones of Caillebotte’s 1877 “Paris Street; Rainy Day.” But the scaffolding around the building, the jumble of street signage and the lowering clouds leave the impression that the elegant people scattered throughout the crowd aren’t completely at home in this evolving space, nor fully in control of it. You may feel your hand instinctively reach for the pocket that has your wallet, or for a tighter grip on your purse.

1872's "The Road From Naples to Brindisi."
(Anonymous loan to the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields)

Unseen, even cataclysmic forces are present in a remarkable series of paintings De Nittis made of Mount Vesuvius in 1872. In two images, he captures not just the eruption of the volcano, but also the rush of spectators and day-trippers caught up in the drama. These works were too radical for De Nittis’s dealer at the time, but in the same year, he produced one of his first great successes, “The Road From Naples to Brindisi,” which seems superficially a more conventional painting until you start looking at it closely.

Heat radiates from the wide open, treeless street, while a man’s leg sticks out of the door of a carriage, leaving us uncertain whether is jumping in or tumbling out. The surrounding landscape is flat and without any distinguishing features, and the sky has a lazy, torrid summer blankness. The people present, including the one attached to that enigmatic leg sticking out of the carriage, are trapped in some in-between space, going and coming without ever arriving or staying.

These are stronger, more interesting, more compelling paintings than some of the elegant Parisian scenes De Nittis would make a few years later. But there’s no sense that his ambiguous landscapes or uneasy city views are somehow more authentic to the artist’s true sensibility than his salon-friendly work, the ladies ice-skating or watching horse races or stirring a cup of tea in a fancy garden. They are not radically different, or incompatible views of the world, but rather, two views of the same world, highly interdependent on each other’s innate truth. Elegance has its cost. Modernity disrupted time and space, and made it a lot cheaper for ordinary people to set a fine table and dress up for the evening.

De Nittis died young, famous, respected, well liked and deeply in debt. His personal ties to the Impressionists remained strong, though he kept his professional distance from the label of impressionism. The Phillips exhibition, curated by Renato Miracco, leaves it uncertain which direction De Nittis might have gone, which tendency — to elegance, or modernity? — might have gained sway. Full disclosure: Miracco is a friend. But the exhibition he has assembled lets De Nittis speak for himself. And De Nittis speaks clearly, with a distinct and individual voice, and while it may seem that he was “a man in the middle,” the work argues otherwise. He painted the world just as he saw it, whether in the harsh glare of a southern sun or the warm glow of gaslight. Those worlds were connected, and he inhabited both.

An Italian Impressionist in Paris: Giuseppe De Nittis Through Feb. 12 at the Phillips Collection.

Source: The Washington Post

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“The Case for Impressionism”

Impressionism is one of the best known and loved movements in Art History, but why? We present a case for why Impressionism is interesting and worth your attention and admiration, beyond the famous names behind it of Claude Monet, Berthe Morisot, Edgar Degas, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Mary Cassatt, Alfred Sisley, Camille Pissaro, Gustave Caillebotte, Paul Cézanne, et al.

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