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Article

Ester Coen

(b Reggio Calabria, Oct 19, 1882; d Sorte, Verona, Aug 17, 1916).

Italian sculptor, painter, printmaker and writer. As one of the principal figures of Futurism, he helped shape the movement’s revolutionary aesthetic as a theorist as well as through his art. In spite of the brevity of his life, his concern with dynamism of form and with the breakdown of solid mass in his sculpture continued to influence other artists long after his death.

Boccioni spent his childhood years in Forlì, Genoa and Padua, then finished his studies in Catania and began to involve himself with literature. In 1899 he moved to Rome, where he developed a passionate interest in painting and frequented the Scuola Libera del Nudo. In Rome he met Gino Severini, with whom he made visits to the studio of Giacomo Balla, who taught them the basic principles of the divisionist technique and encouraged them to experiment with the application of colour in small overlapping brushstrokes. Inspired by his own pictorial experiments, Balla also urged them to develop a compositional method using angles and foreshortening analogous to photographic techniques. It was Balla who first introduced them to the use of complementary colours, which Boccioni later expressed in increasingly dramatic and violent ways, and it was Balla who instilled in him the love of landscape and nature that remained a constant feature of all his painting. In his first years of activity, closely following his master’s teaching, Boccioni produced oil paintings, sketches, pastels, studies in tempera and advertising posters....

Article

Jeremy Howard

(Maksimovich)

(b Moscow, Jan 16, 1888; d Moscow, Feb 22, 1945).

Russian theorist and critic. He trained as a lawyer at Moscow University but never practised law, devoting himself instead to art and literature. Prior to the October Revolution of 1917 his apartment was a meeting-place for Futurist poets and he was an active member of the Formalist group OPOYAZ (the Society for the Study of Poetical Language). After the Revolution he worked in the Fine Arts department (IZO) of Narkompros and as a commissar of the Petrograd (now St Petersburg) Svomas (Free Art Studios) in 1919. In 1918 he established the group IMO (Iskusstvo Molodykh: Art of the Young). Gaining Anatoly Lunacharsky’s support and a subsidy from Narkompros, this group was able to publish its views through the radical newspaper Iskusstvo kommuny (‘Art of the Commune’) (1918–19). Brik promoted Russian Futurism as a revolutionary Communist art and actively participated in the setting up of Kom-Fut, a Communist Futurist collective in Petrograd in ...

Article

Matthew Gale

(Dalmazzo)

(b Quarguento, Piedmont, Feb 11, 1881; d Milan, April 13, 1966).

Italian painter, critic and writer. He was apprenticed to a team of decorators at the age of 12, after the death of his mother. His work took him to Milan, London and Switzerland, as well as to the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1900. He visited museums, and in Milan in 1906 he enrolled at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera, studying under Cesare Tallone. By 1908 he was arranging shows for the Famiglia Artistica, an exhibiting group. He met Umberto Boccioni and Luigi Russolo, and together they came to know Filippo Tommaso Marinetti and to write the Manifesto dei pittori futuristi (1910; see Futurism). Carrà continued, however, to use the technique of Divisionism despite the radical rhetoric of Futurism. In an attempt to find new inspiration Marinetti sent them to visit Paris in autumn 1911, in preparation for the Futurist exhibition of 1912. Cubism was a revelation, and in ...

Article

Ester Coen

(b Fondo, Val di Non, Trentino, March 30, 1892; d Rovereto, Nov 29, 1960).

Italian painter, stage designer, illustrator, decorative artist and writer. After difficult years of study, during which he made his first artistic experiments, he travelled to Turin in 1910 and worked as an apprentice decorator at the Esposizione Internazionale. In spite of spending a year as apprentice to a marble-worker, on his return to Rovereto, he decided to become a painter, choosing subjects associated with Symbolism and social realism. Shortly after publishing Spezzature–Impressioni: Segni e ritmi (Rovereto, 1913), a collection of poetry, prose and illustrations, he moved to Rome, where he met Filippo Tommaso Marinetti at the Galleria Permanente Futurista, run by Giuseppe Sprovieri; through Marinetti he met the Futurists, with whom he exhibited at the same gallery in the spring of 1914 (see Furttenbach [Furtenbach; Furttembach], Josef [Joseph], the elder). This was followed by a one-man show at Trento in July 1914, which closed after a few days because of the outbreak of World War I. He succeeded in returning to Rome, where he was officially welcomed into the ...

Article

Charlotte Humphreys

(Yeliseyevich)

(b Olevka, Kherson province, 1886; d Moscow, 1968).

Russian poet and critic of Ukrainian birth. He is best known for his creation of Russian Futurist books between 1912 and 1916 in collaboration with the avant-garde artists Natal’ya Goncharova, Mikhail Larionov, Kazimir Malevich and Ol’ga Rozanova. These books, some of which were written with Velimir Khlebnikov, are characterized by deliberate mistakes and misprints, bold handwriting or irregular typefaces and printed on differently textured paper or wallpaper. The accompanying illustrations were executed in a coarse and primitive style to match the harsh and dissonant tones of the poetry. The books include Igra v adu (‘A game in Hell’; Moscow, 1912 and 1914), Mirskontsa (‘The world backwards’; Moscow, 1912), Pomada (Moscow, 1913), Utinoye gnezdyshko…durnykh slov (‘A duck’s nest…of bad words’; St Petersburg, 1913), Te Li Le (St Petersburg, 1914), Zaumnaya kniga (‘Transrational book’; Moscow, 1915), Voyna (‘War’; Petrograd, 1915) and Vselenskaya voyna (‘Universal war’; Petrograd, ...

Article

Jeremy Howard

(Anisimovich)

(b Minsk, 1888; d 1937).

Russian theorist of Belarusian birth. He first appeared in 1914 as a Russian Futurist poet; after the Revolution of 1917 he became a prominent cultural commissar and a member of various leftist groups such as Osip Brik’s IMO (Iskusstvo Molodykh: ‘Art of the young’) and the left bloc in the Union of Art Workers (Soyuz Deyateley Iskusstv). His work at IMO in 1918 involved the propagation of left-wing art through meetings with workers in the suburbs of Petrograd (now St Petersburg), in which Vladimir Mayakovsky, Brik and Nikolay Punin participated. This activity led, through a subsidy from Narkompros, to the promotion of Russian Futurism and Formalist criticism in Narkompros’s newspaper Iskusstvo kommuny (‘Art of the Commune’, 1918–19). Kushner also was the chairman of Kom-Fut, a Communist Futurist collective organized in Petrograd in January 1919 that grew out of the work of IMO. Kom-Fut claimed in its manifesto that the cultural policy of the Bolsheviks was bourgeois and should be subjected to a new revolutionary Communist ideology....

Article

Anthony Parton

(Fyodorovich)

(b Tiraspol, Moldova, June 3, 1881; d Fontenay-aux-Roses, nr Paris, May 10, 1964).

Russian painter, stage designer, printmaker, illustrator, draughtsman and writer of Moldovan birth. He was a leader of the Russian avant-garde before World War I but came to prominence in the West through his work for Serge Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes. During the 1920s he played a significant role within the Ecole de Paris and continued to live and work in France until his death.

He was the son of Fyodor Mikhailovich Larionov, a doctor and pharmacist, and Aleksandra Fyodorovna Petrovskaya, but he grew up in his grandparents’ home in Tiraspol. He completed his secondary education at the Voskresensky Technical High School in Moscow and in 1898 entered the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture. Here he studied under Valentin Serov and Konstantin Korovin, and he also became friendly with Natal’ya Goncharova who was to remain his lifelong companion and colleague. Larionov’s work soon caught the imagination of collectors and critics. In ...

Article

Troels Andersen

(Severinovich)

(b Kiev, Feb 26, 1878; d Leningrad [now St Petersburg], May 15, 1935).

Russian painter, printmaker, decorative artist and writer of Ukranian birth. One of the pioneers of abstract art, Malevich was a central figure in a succession of avant-garde movements during the period of the Russian revolutions of 1905 and 1917 and immediately after. The style of severe geometric abstraction with which he is most closely associated, Suprematism (see fig.), was a leading force in the development of Constructivism, the repercussions of which continued to be felt throughout the 20th century. His work was suppressed in Soviet Russia in the 1930s and remained little known during the following two decades. The reassessment of his reputation in the West from the mid-1950s was matched by the renewed influence of his work on the paintings of Ad Reinhardt and on developments such as Zero, Hard-edge painting and Minimalism.

Article

(b Alexandria, Dec 22, 1876; d Bellagio, Dec 2, 1944).

Italian writer and theorist. He was educated by Jesuit monks in Alexandria until 1893, when he moved to Paris. Having obtained a Baccalauréat, he studied law at the Università degli Studi di Genova, from which he graduated in 1899. In 1898 he published poetry for the first time, in particular the free verse Les Vieux Marins: this was awarded a prize by Gustave Kahn and the Symbolist poet, Catulle Mendès, and was recited by Sarah Bernhardt at the ‘Samedis populaires’ held at her theatre in Paris. In late 1898 Marinetti settled in Milan where he was to found and run the international review Poesia (1905–9), in which Symbolist poets and forerunners of free verse collaborated. However, he maintained close links with French culture. In Paris he published the epic poem La Conquête des étoiles in 1902 and his first satirical tragedy Le Roi bombance in 1905; the latter, still influenced by Symbolism and Alfred Jarry, was not performed until ...

Article

David Elliott

(Vladimirovich)

(b Bagdadi, Georgia, July 19, 1893; d Moscow, April 14, 1930).

Russian poet, critic, graphic designer and painter of Georgian birth. Although best known as a poet and playwright he studied painting at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture (1911–14) and, as a member of the Futurist group Hylea, was a pioneer of what later became known as Performance art. Mayakovsky’s family moved to Moscow on the death of his father in 1906, and he soon became involved in left-wing activities, for which he was repeatedly arrested. On passing the entrance examination of the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture in August 1911, his political activities shifted their focus to bohemian épatage. In the class for figure painting Mayakovsky met David Burlyuk, who with his brothers Nikolay Burlyuk (1890–1920) and Vladimir Burlyuk (1886–1917) and the ‘aviator poet’ Vasily Kamensky (1864–1961), formed the core of the Russian Futurist movement. Adopting a stance similar to that of Marinetti, whose Futurist manifesto (...

Article

Suzanne Tise

(b Turin, Feb 2, 1901; d Lausanne, March 8, 1998).

Italian architect, writer and teacher. He graduated in architecture from the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Geneva (1923), and returned to Italy where he worked as an assistant to Raimondo d’Aronco and Annibale Rigotti. He was in private practice in Turin until 1939; he also practised in Switzerland continuously from 1930. Sartoris was a pioneer of Modernism in Italy, participating in several of the principal European avant-garde movements of the 1920s and 1930s. As a friend and admirer of Filippo Tommaso Marinetti he was involved in the Italian Futurist movement, collaborating with the painters Fillia and Felice Casorati. He was also inspired by the Neo-plasticism of De Stijl architects Theo van Doesburg and Cor van Eesteren, and he developed a unique style of axonometric drawing that became a hallmark of his work. His designs tended towards a synthesis of Futurism, Neo-plasticism and Functionalism in their use of colour, form and intersecting planes. He was the Grand Prix winner for his contribution to the Prima Mostra dell’Architettura Futurista (...

Article

Piero Pacini

(b Rignano sull’Arno, nr Florence, April 7, 1879; d Forte dei Marmi, Lucca, Aug 18, 1964).

Italian painter, critic and writer. He spent his early childhood in the Florentine countryside and showed a precocious interest in drawing and literature. At school in Florence he deepened his knowledge of the Classics and also developed an interest in the new French poetry (from Laforgue to Rimbaud). At the Accademia in Florence he met Giovanni Fattori and Telemaco Signorini; in 1897, at the Arte e fiori exhibition, he admired paintings by Pierre Bonnard, Pierre Puvis de Chavannes and Giovanni Segantini.

Interest aroused by the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1900 persuaded Soffici to travel to the French capital in November 1900 with his friends the painters Giovanni Costetti (1878–1949) and Umberto Brunelleschi (1879–1949). His living conditions, which included a period in Ruche, La, were difficult. In order to make money he worked on popular satirical magazines such as La Plume, Sans-gêne and Assiette au beurre...