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Article

Italian, 20th century, male.

Born 2 December 1899, in Albisola; died May 1971, in Albisola.

Ceramicist, draughtsman, painter, sculptor, screen printer, photographer. Artists' books.

Futurism.

Tullio d'Albisola studied with his father Giuseppe, a master potter, then with Gaetano Ballardini at the international university pottery class in Faenza, which he entered in ...

Article

Italian, 19th – 20th century, male.

Born 24 July 1871, in Turin; died 5 March 1958, in Rome.

Painter, sculptor.

Futurism, Pittura Metafisica (Metaphysical Painting).

As is so often the case, Giacomo Balla's early work was comparatively unadventurous and conformist. He started out as a painter in Rome in 1895, adopting an essentially academic style that was wholly acceptable to critics and institutions of the day. In 1900, however, he spent seven months in Paris, where he was drawn to the 'divisionist' approach espoused by the Impressionists and, in particular, to the Pointillist style that Georges Seurat adopted and labelled 'scientific impressionism'. It is worth making the point that this 'divisionist' approach was in actual fact one of the more anachronistic features of Futurism, a movement that purported to be innovative in every respect, even to the point where it levelled accusations against the Cubist movement (from which it derived substantially more than the Futurists were ever prepared to admit), on the grounds that Cubism was essentially 'academic painting in disguise'. In the event, from 1901-1902 onwards, Balla went on to teach Umberto Boccioni, arguably the most coherent theoretician and practitioner of Italian Futurism, and Gino Severini, both of whom were influenced by his use of the divisionist technique....

Article

Piero Pacini

(b Turin, Aug 18, 1871; d Rome, March 1, 1958).

Italian painter, sculptor, stage designer, decorative artist and actor. He was one of the originators of Futurism (see Furttenbach [Furtenbach; Furttembach], Josef [Joseph], the elder) and was particularly concerned with the representation of light and movement. His personal interest in scientific methods of analysis contributed to both the practical and ideological bases of the movement. His oeuvre from the Futurist period overshadowed the work of later years.

Balla was self-taught and began painting in Turin. In 1895 he settled in Rome. At the age of about 25 he painted some lively sketches of urban life that are characterized by a thick impasto, for example the series Machietta romana (1898; Rome, priv. col., see Lista, 1982, nos 12–17) and landscapes showing familiarity with the divisionism practised by the northern Italian artists Giuseppe Pelizza da Volpedo, Giovanni Segantini and Vittore Grubicy de Dragon, for example Luci di marzo (...

Article

Italian, 20th century, male.

Born 19 October 1882, in Reggio (Calabria); died 17 August 1916, in Sorte, near Verona.

Painter, sculptor.

Futurism.

After studying at the technical institute in Catania, Umberto Boccioni's family moved from one Italian city to another until Umberto decided, against his father's wishes, to settle in Rome in 1898 and study at the fine arts academy. He met Gino Severini in 1900 and Giacomo Balla in 1902; the latter was on his way home from Paris, where he had been acquainted with the Pointillist painter Georges Seurat. As a result, Boccioni received his first introduction to Divisionism; it was to prove a decisive factor in his subsequent work, even after he had developed his own personal style....

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

Italian, 20th century, male.

Born 1884, in Naples; died 1977, in Livorno (Tuscany).

Poet, draughtsman, painter, watercolourist, sculptor.

Dadaism, Futurism.

Francesco Cangiullo was the elder brother of Pasquale Cangiullo. He participated in the Dada activities at the Cabaret Voltaire in Zurich in around 1919. His friends Marinetti and Balla involved him in Futurist activities. He wrote theoretical works about Futurist theatre and became artistic director of the Compania del Teatro della Sorpresa. He was also a poet, and in ...

Article

Italian, 20th century, male.

Active also active in France and in Egypt.

Born 1910, in Igalo; died 5 August 2000, in Milan.

Painter (including gouache), watercolourist, architect, sculptor, decorative designer. Landscapes with figures, landscapes, architectural views. Stage sets, monuments, medals.

Futurism.

Crali was born in what is now called Croatia. Several months later, his family settled in Zara (now Zadar), where he lived until ...

Article

Fillia  

Daniela De Dominicis

[Colombo, Luigi]

(b Revello, Oct 4, 1904; d Turin, Feb 1, 1936).

Italian painter, sculptor and writer. He moved to Turin and in 1922 began his literary career by contributing to a booklet of poems entitled 1+1+1=1 Dinamite (Turin, 1922). He started painting as a self-taught artist, using his mother’s surname as a pseudonym. In 1923 he founded the Turin Futurist group, whose other later adherents included the Bulgarian-born painter and architect Nicolay Diulgheroff (1901–82) and the Italian sculptor Mino Rossi (1904–63), with the publication of the manifesto Futurista torinese—Sindacati artistici. Through this group he assumed an important role in the ‘second Futurism’ (see Furttenbach [Furtenbach; Furttembach], Josef [Joseph], the elder).

The inspiration for Fillia’s earliest paintings was ‘mechanical life’, which he portrayed by abstracting from the subject using geometrical forms and a lively range of colours. He was clearly aware not only of the work of Giacomo Balla and Fortunato Depero, but also of the contemporary Constructivist art promoted in the periodicals ...

Article

Ester Coen and John Musgrove

Italian movement, literary in origin, that grew to embrace painting, sculpture, photography and architecture, which was launched by the publication on 20 February 1909 of ‘Le Futurisme’ by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti in the Paris newspaper Le Figaro. Marinetti’s intention was to reject the past, to revolutionize culture and make it more modern. The new ideology of Futurism set itself with violent enthusiasm against the weighty inheritance of an art tied to the Italian cultural tradition and exalted the idea of an aesthetic generated by the modern myth of the machine and of speed.

Marinetti laid the foundations of the new literary poetics in his first manifesto, written in late 1908. Every new creation or action, he wrote, was now based on the ‘beauty of speed’; museums, libraries, ‘venerated’ cities and academies had to be destroyed, as they belonged to traditional culture. An art born of progress was now to take the place of all the artistic forms of the past, even the most recent ones, because they were stale and static. These words were immediately taken up by a group of young painters based in Milan—...

Article

Italian, 20th century, male.

Born 2 August 1888, in Rome; died 5 June 1958, in Turin.

Painter. Stage sets, furniture.

Futurism.

In Rome, Ugo Giannattasio studied under the sculptor Ximenes and at the Accademia. He knew Paris well, as he had spent his childhood there, and in ...

Article

Italian, 20th century, male.

Born 1904, in Venice; died 1988, in Rovereto.

Painter, watercolourist, engraver (etching), sculptor (including wood/bronze). Landscapes, seascapes.

Futurism.

Giovanni Korompay studied at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Venice. He collaborated on the daily Il Resto del Carlino, and was the husband of the Futurist artist Magda Falchetto. He was interested in Futurism as early as ...

Article

French, 20th century, male.

Born 21 October 1889, in Pont-sur-Sambre (Nord); died 2 December 1952, in Courbevoie (Hauts-de-Seine).

Painter, draughtsman, sculptor.

Futurism, Musicalism (the attempt to interpret music in painting), Constructivism.

Groups: Vouloir, Espace.

Félix Aimé del Marle studied at the École des Beaux-Arts in Valenciennes, then at the École des Beaux-Arts in Lille, and went to Paris in 1911....

Article

Italian, 20th century, male.

Born 1885, in Ferrara; died 1958, in Rome.

Painter, draughtsman, sculptor.

Futurism.

Roberto Melli exhibited for the first time at the Secession exhibition in Rome in 1914, when he showed a series of sculptures and drawings. He went on to participate in various other exhibitions, notably in Ferrara in 1920 and with the ...

Article

Italian, 20th century, male.

Born 1907, in Milan; died 29 September 1998, in Milan.

Painter, sculptor, illustrator, designer, architect, writer. Mosaics, monuments (fountains).

Futurism.

MAC (Movimento Arte Concreta).

Bruno Munari was self-taught and began working as a graphic artist in 1925, producing illustrations for many magazines under the pseudonym ...

Article

Laural Weintraub

(b Milan, Oct 24, 1907; d Milan, Sept 29, 1998).

Italian sculptor, painter, film maker and designer. His artistic ambition was influenced by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti whom he met in Milan in the mid-1920s. Munari formally allied himself with the second generation of Futurists in 1927 and continued to exhibit with them into the 1930s (see Furttenbach [Furtenbach; Furttembach], Josef [Joseph], the elder and Aeropittura). Few works of Munari’s remain from this period, as most were made from transient materials. One extant work in tempera from 1932 (see Tanchis, p. 13) suggests that Munari had fully adopted Futurist aesthetics. Several other examples from the 1930s, however, show a clear debt to Surrealism.

In his sculpture from 1930 Munari adopted a different attitude. Aerial Machine (1930; see Tanchis, p. 21), for example, indicates a move towards a Constructivist aesthetic. This elegant object is a precursor of his Useless Machines, the first of which was executed in 1933. Constructed of painted cardboard and other lightweight materials, they served to liberate abstract forms in three dimensions. Moreover, they were meant to integrate with the surrounding environment through their kinetic action....

Article

Italian, 20th century, male.

Born 20 April 1894, in Modena; died 1956, in Rome.

Painter, sculptor, draughtsman (including ink), collage artist, scenographer. Figures, portraits, landscapes, interiors, still-lifes. Stage costumes and sets, marionettes, wall decorations, furniture.

Futurism, Dadaism.

Groups: Cercle et Carré, Abstraction-Création, Group 40.

Enrico Prampolini studied briefly with Diulio Cambellotti at the Accademia di Belle Arti in, Rome, but was expelled in 1913. He wrote his own manifesto, ...

Article

Piero Pacini

(b Modena, June 20, 1894; d Rome, June 17, 1956).

Italian painter, decorative artist, stage designer, architect, sculptor and writer. He studied at Lucca, Turin and Rome, where he briefly attended the Accademia di Belle Arti, and his work earned the appreciation of his teacher Duilio Cambellotti (b 1876). In 1912 he joined the studio of Giacomo Balla and belonged to a Futurist art collective through which he met the leaders of the movement. In April and May 1914 he exhibited with other Futurists at the Galleria Sprovieri in Rome and, shortly afterwards, in Prague. Figure+Window (1914; Rome, priv. col.; see Menna, 1967, fig.) exemplifies the experiments he was carrying out at the time. He was particularly interested in the use of combinations of different materials and in theoretical speculation, writing in 1915 the manifestos Scenografia e coreografia futurista, Scultura dei colori e totale and Architettura futurista.

Prampolini met Tristan Tzara in Rome in 1916 and took part in the international ...

Article

Roberta K. Tarbell

(b Cleveland, OH, May 10, 1885; d New York, Jan 14, 1964).

American sculptor and painter. Robus studied painting with Henry G. Keller (1869–1949) at the Cleveland School of Art (1903–7) and with Emil Carlsen and Edgar M. Ward (1839–1915) at the National Academy of Design, New York (1907–9). Robus supported himself by designing ivory and gold jewellery in the Cleveland Arts and Crafts Workshop of Horace Potter (1873–1948). In Paris (1912–14), Robus saw the Futurist exhibition in 1912, and studied clay modelling with Emile-Antoine Bourdelle at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière. He lived near Morgan Russell, Stanton Macdonald-Wright, and František Kupka and discussed with them their non-representational paintings. After 1918 Robus divided his time between New York and New City, NY, an artists’ colony. He depicted speed in Train in Motion (c. 1917–20; Washington, DC, Smithsonian Amer. A. Mus.) with parallel chevrons of saturated colours typical of his Cubo-Futurist paintings. In New York he taught design and painting at the Modern Art School (...

Article

Shin’ichiro Osaki

(b Tokyo, May 4, 1904; d Yokohama, June 13, 2001).

Japanese painter and sculptor. Self-taught as an artist, in the 1920s he met David Burlyuk and others involved with such movements as Futurism, Constructivism and Dada. From 1931 Saitō concentrated on a career as an artist, initially producing Constructivist reliefs. At that time a celebrated incident occurred when he refused to exhibit pieces at the Nikakai (Second Division Society) exhibition on the grounds that his pieces were neither painting nor sculpture: he was first chosen for the Nikakai exhibition in 1936. In 1938, together with Jirō Yoshihara and Takeo Yamaguchi (1902–83), he established the ‘Room Nine Society’ (Kyūshitsukai) with artists of the Nikakai whose works tended towards abstraction. He collaborated on Toro-wood, a series of reliefs (c. 1939) destroyed in World War II (for reconstruction see 1984 exh. cat., p. 54). During the war he was persecuted by the military authorities for his avant-garde activities....

Article

Italian, 20th century, male.

Born 12 May 1885, in Tempio Pausania, Sardinia; died 1961, in Milan.

Painter (gouache), illustrator, draughtsman, decorative designer, sculptor. Figures, portraits, urban landscapes. Murals, stage sets.

Futurism, Novecento Italiano.

Milanese School.

Mario Sironi was studying mathematics in Rome with the intention of becoming an engineer when he decided to enrol in the academy of fine art. He met Severini and Boccioni who introduced him to Balla. After 1914, he moved to Milan, his parents' home town. He was not only an artist but also a writer on art and an architect.Sironi's paintings depict a variety of subjects, often including faces, and seek to portray the wretchedness of the human condition in urban society. He was only briefly associated with Futurism, in 1915. Often using a collage technique applied to coloured paper, he produced works with broad contrasting planes 'on the modern myths of machines and speed' with titles like ...