Enrico d’ASSIA 1927-1999

Enrico d’Assia (Rome, 30th October 1927 – Langen, 18th November 1999), was a painter, set designer and costume designer. Second born of Philip, Prince and Landgrave of Hesse, and of Princess Mafalda of Savoy. He was born in Rome, in a small but elegant Roman ‘casale’ situated between Parioli and Villa Savoy, that was named ‘Villa Polissena’ by his parents, in memory of Princess Polissena Cristina of Hesse-Rotenburg. [1]

            Enrico, also known as ‘Dendy’, spent his childhood and adolescence between the Italian and German residences of the Savoy family; his early studies were completed in Germany, and he later attended the Academy of Arts in Rome. He had a serene childhood until the age of 17: during the dramatic years of the Second World War he hid in the Vatican, for then fleeing to Germany. He managed to survive the bombings but his mother Mafalda was tragically killed by the Germans.

            Many of his paintings and watercolor paintings are exposed in public museums, private collections as well as private Italian and foreign galleries – obtaining always huge success from the public and critics.

His style, linked to surrealism and magic realism, is characterized by an analytical trait: he finds his points of reference in Magritte, in the Russian painter and set designer Eugéne Berman as well as in the Milanese painter Fabrizio Clerici.[2] As a set designer he participated to various staging of operas.

He died in 1999 in the Schloss Wolfsgarten, the former hunting residence of Langen (in the Hesse region), approximately 15 km south of Frankfurt on Main.



[1] Cfr. B. M. Pappalardo, Il principe-pittore di Casa Savoia. Ricordi e testimonianze di Enrico d'Assia, Naples, Alfredo Guida Editore, 2008.

[2] Sources: “Artisti e intellettuali al Forio”, http://www.cdlstoria.unina.it. Hesse, exhibition catalogue by GiulianoBriganti, Rome, Art Gallery Nuovo Carpine, 23 October-20 November 1975.