Malnate, Italy 1900
New York, New York 1988
Lucioni's biography has overtones of the classic immigrant's tale. His parents came to this country from Molnate, a small Italian town near the Swiss border, in 1911. They settled in Union City, New Jersey, where his father took up his trade as a cooper, and Luigi, after several years of school, and while working in an engraving house, continued the art lessons he had begun in Italy. He studied, in succession, at Cooper Union, at the National Academy of Design, and at the Tiffany Foundation in Oyster Bay, Long Island. At the last, John Sloan, Kenneth Hayes Miller, Gifford Beal, and Childe Hassam taught classes.
Success soon followed, with a show at Ferargil Galleries, the receipt of several medals, and the sale of a still life to the Metropolitan Museum. The sale, in turn, led Lucioni to Vermont and a commission from Mrs. J. Watson Webb, co-founder of the Shelburne Museum. Rural Vermont reminded him of northern Italy, but by then the two had perhaps become conflated in Lucioni's mind in a more meaningful way. The hills of Vermont struck a home chord because they also signified certain "American" values that were important to him. The act of painting rural Vermont, therefore, became a way of reinforcing those values, and, not incidentally, of marking his achievement in this country. In 1939, Lucioni bought a farmhouse and barn near Manchester Depot. The latter he turned into a studio, where he continued to paint and make etchings of the surrounding countryside for the next fifty years.
William H. Truettner and Roger B. Stein, editors, with contributions by Dona Brown, Thomas Andrew Denenberg, Judith K. Maxwell, Stephen Nissenbaum, Bruce Robertson, Roger B. Stein, and William H. Truettner Picturing Old New England: Image and Memory (Washington, D.C.; New Haven, Conn; and London: National Museum of American Art with Yale University Press, 1999)