From the fields of Molise
to the Museums of Paris

Alfonso Pacitti

23 Dec, 2020 10:52 am

Pacitti families from the villages of Cerasuolo and Filignano, in the province of Molise in southern Italy, left their homeland and emigrated to Paris in the 1880s to start a new life. During the following hundred years, members of these Pacitti families became a model, an actress and a renowned gallery proprietor, and a portrait of one of them hangs in the Museé d’Orsay on the banks of the Seine.

Maria Concetta Pacitti (born 1870 at Cerasuolo) was the eldest daughter of Agostino Pacitti & Raffale Franchitti. Agostino and Raffaela emigrated to Paris with Maria Concetta and younger sister Cristina around 1881. They had three further children in Paris: Marie (1882), Pascal (1885) and Lucie (1887). Agostino and Raffaela returned home to Italy between 1900 and 1910.

Pietro Antonio (born 1859 at Filignano) was the second son of Domenico Pacitti and Carolina di Mascio. Maria Concetta married Pietro Antonio Pacitti at Paris in 1891.

French Pacitti This family photograph is dated around 1890.

Agostino Pacitti and Raffaela Franchitti with their children: Maria Concetta, Cristina, Marie, Lucie and Pascal.

Cristina became an artist’s model.

Marie was a wholesale florist at the Halles de Paris.

Lucie became an actress at the Théâtre du Gymnase in Paris.

Pascal was a cabinetmaker.

Cristina Pacitti (1873-1898): Artist Model

Cristina Pacitti

Cristina had a short career as a model - she died of typhoid aged 25.

A painting of her, by French artist Lucien Levy-Dhurmer, is now exhibited in the Musee d’Orsay - the image alongside is a copy of an etching.

Lucie Pacitti (1887-1978): Comédienne (Actress)

Lucie Pacitti

Lucie became an actress (commédienne) at the Théâtre du Gymnase in Paris.

The Theatre du Gymnase was first opened by Dalestre-Poirson in 1820 and located in the 10th Arrondissement. The Theatre du Gymnase served as a training theatre for students where they could perform solo acts in short plays or appear in adaptations of longer plays.

A theatrical review published in Le Figaro (Paris) dated December 12 1911 (Numèro 43) states:

“….and Miss Lucie Pacitti, who spiritually portrayed the character of Jeanne Aubrun, the farmer's daughter with whom Jean Bernard will console himself for all his disappointments....."

Read more about Lucie's short career.

André Pacitti (1913-2007): Art Expert

André, son of Lucie Pacitti (and André Schoeller), became an art expert and proprietor of an art gallery - Galerie André Pacitti located on the prestigious le faubourg Saint Honoré à Paris.

He exhibited numerous exhibitions including one of artist and sculptor Paul Belmondo. Paul was born in Algiers (French Algeria) into a poor family of Italian origin (Piemonte & Sicilia). The photo below (courtesy of Getty Images) shows Paul Belmondo at the opening of the exhibition on 19 February 1970. He is with his actor son Jean-Paul, Swiss actress Ursula Andress and Paul’s wife Madeleine.

Andre Pacitti

Also depicted are some posters showing the range of exhibitions that he ran. André was a renowned Picasso art expert recognised by the ‘Syndicat des Experts Français’ in Paris.

Andre Pacitti Andre Pacitti

and today .......

Suzanne Ginette Pacitti

........ ladies from this remarkable family are alive and well and living in Paris.

Granddaughters of Pietro Antonio & Maria Concetta Maria - Ginetta and Suzanne.

One 92 years old and the other 97, showing the continuing strength of the Pacitti genetic stock.

It has been some 140 years since their grandmother Maria Concetta left Cerasuolo as a young girl - on a journey no-one could have imagined!

French Version - Version Française

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