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Libero Andreotti

(b Rovereto, Dec 10, 1896; d Milan, Sept 26, 1982).

Italian architect, stage designer and painter . After studying at the Scuola Reale Elisabettiana, an applied arts school in Rovereto, he joined the Futurist movement, headed locally by Fortunato Depero. After serving in World War I, he enrolled at the Scuola Superiore di Architettura del Politecnico, Milan, graduating in architecture in 1922. He then spent four years (1922–6) in Berlin working as a stage designer and frequenting the avant-garde milieu around Max Reinhardt, Erwin Piscator and Oskar Kokoschka. He returned to Italy in 1926 and set up his own practice. His first important commission, the remodelling of the Bar Craja (1930; with Figini and Pollini) in Milan, with its handsome glass and steel interior, established Baldessari’s reputation as an innovative designer. He collaborated again with Figini and Pollini on the De Angeli-Frua office building (1931–2) in Milan, a fine example of Italian Rationalism at its most restrained. Baldessari’s architectural masterpiece of this period was, however, the Press Pavilion (...

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

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

Andrea Nulli

(b Boretto, Reggio Emilia, Jan 2, 1887; d Genoa, July 31, 1969).

Italian designer, draughtsman and architect. After graduating from the Accademia di Belle Arti of Parma (1913), he worked as a draughtsman in Milan until World War I. The influence of Futurism and, particularly, the work of Fortunato Depero were fundamentally important in his cultural formation. His success as a draughtsman was established at the Primo Esposizione Internazionale delle Arti Decorative in Monza (1923), but he continued to diversify, designing fashion accessories such as handbags and shawls and poster advertisements for famous names such as Campari and Martini. During the 15 years after World War I Nizzoli demonstrated his remarkable talent for handling the most diverse forms of the avant-garde movements, from Futurism to Cubism, from the Viennese Secession style to Novecento Italiano, adapting them to the taste of his cultivated middle-class clientele. Nizzoli had already designed (with Fausto Melotti) mannequins for Baldessari’s early Rationalist Craja Restaurant (...

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

Vincenzo Fontana

(b Como, April 30, 1888; d Monte Hermada, Gorizia, Oct 10, 1916).

Italian architect and draughtsman. He attended the technical school at Como and moved to Milan in 1905, where he worked as a draughtsman for the Villoresi canal company and for the municipal engineering department, which was working on dams, hydro-electric plants, service networks and other infrastructures for Milan, the new industrial metropolis. In 1909 he enrolled at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera in Milan but graduated as an architect in 1912 from the Accademia di Belle Arti in Bologna. He came into contact with Symbolist and decadent artistic culture, with Giovanni Segantini’s Divisionism, but above all with the Munich, Berlin and Vienna Secessions. With his friend, the sculptor Gerolamo Fontana, he may have visited the Klimt Room designed by Josef Hoffmann at the Venice Biennale of 1910, and he certainly owned several issues of the review Die Wagner Schule with photographs of sketches for monumental buildings by Emil Hoppe and Otto Schönthal. In ...

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

Emily Braun

(b Sassari, Sardinia, May 12, 1885; d Milan, Aug 13, 1961).

Italian painter, sculptor, architect, stage designer and illustrator. He was brought up in Rome where his family moved in 1886. In 1902 Sironi enrolled in the Engineering Faculty of the University of Rome, but after a long illness abandoned his studies to devote himself to painting. In 1903 he attended the Scuola Libera del Nudo at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Rome and frequented the studio of Giacomo Balla. Following a short spell in Milan in 1905–6, he travelled to Paris in 1906 and shared a room with his close friend Umberto Boccioni. Several family and self-portraits painted in a divisionist technique (see Divisionism) date from this period. Sironi also visited Germany several times between 1908 and 1911, where he was exposed to contemporary Expressionist currents. He lived in Rome from 1909 until he moved to Milan in late 1914 or early 1915.

Sironi experimented with Futurism from ...