March 02, 2014


February 21, 2014 - September 1, 2014

February 21, 2014 - September 1, 2014
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum presents Italian Futurism, 1909 - 1944: Reconstructing the Universe, the first comprehensive overview in the United States of one of Europe’s most important 20th-century avantgarde movements. Featuring over 360 works by more than 80 artists, architects, designers, photographers, and writers, this multidisciplinary exhibition examines the full historical breadth of Futurism, from its 1909 inception with the publication of Filippo Tommaso Marinetti’s first Futurist manifesto through its demise at the end of World War II. The exhibition includes many rarely seen works, some of which have never traveled outside of Italy. It encompasses not only painting and sculpture, but also the advertising, architecture, ceramics, design, fashion, film, free-form poetry, photography, performance, publications, music, and theater of this dynamic and often contentious
movement that championed modernity and insurgency.
The exhibition is organized by Vivien Greene, Senior Curator, 19th- and Early 20th-Century Art, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. An international advisory committee composed of eminent scholars from many disciplines provided expertise and guidance in the preparation of this thorough exploration of the Futurist movement, a major modernist expression that in many ways remains little known among American audiences.
The Leadership Committee for Italian Futurism, 1909 - 1944: Reconstructing the Universe is also gratefully acknowledged for its generosity, including the Hansjörg Wyss Charitable Endowment; Stefano and Carole Acunto; Giancarla and Luciano Berti; Ginevra Caltagirone; Massimo and Sonia Cirulli Archive; Daniela Memmo d’Amelio; Achim Moeller, Moeller Fine Art; Pellegrini Legacy Trust; and Alberto and Gioietta Vitale.
Futurism was launched in 1909 against a background of growing economic and social upheaval. In Marinetti’s “The Founding and Manifesto of Futurism,” published in Le Figaro, he outlined the movement’s key aims, among them: to abolish the past, to champion modernization, and to extol aggression. Although it began as a literary movement, Futurism soon embraced the visual arts as well as advertising, fashion, music and theater, and it spread throughout Italy and beyond. The Futurists rejected stasis and tradition and drew inspiration from the emerging industry, machinery, and speed of the modern metropolis. The first generation of artists created works characterized by dynamic movement and fractured forms, aspiring to break with existing notions of space and time to place the viewer at the center of the artwork. Extending into many mediums, Futurism was intended to be not just
an artistic idiom but an entirely new way of life. Central to the movement was the concept of the opera d’arte totale or “total work of art,” in which the viewer is surrounded by a completely Futurist environment.
More than two thousand individuals were associated with the movement over its duration. In addition to Marinetti, central figures include: artists Giacomo Balla, Benedetta (Benedetta Cappa Marinetti), Umberto Boccioni, Carlo Carrà, Fortunato Depero, and Enrico Prampolini; poets and writers Francesco Cangiullo and Rosa Rosà; architect Antonio Sant’Elia; composer Luigi Russolo; photographers Anton Giulio Bragaglia and Tato (Guglielmo Sansoni); dancer Giannina Censi; and ceramicist Tullio d’Albisola. These figures and other lesser-known ones are represented in the exhibition.
Futurism is commonly understood to have had two phases: “heroic” Futurism, which lasted until around 1916, and a later incarnation that arose after World War I and remained active until the early 1940s.
Investigations of “heroic” Futurism have predominated and comparatively few exhibitions have explored the subsequent life of the movement; until now, a comprehensive overview of Italian Futurism had yet to be presented in the U.S. Italian art of the 1920s and ’30s is little known outside of its home country, due in part to a taint from Futurism’s sometime association with Fascism. This association complicates the narrative of this avant-garde and makes it all the more necessary to delve into and clarify its full history.
Italian Futurism unfolds chronologically, juxtaposing works in different mediums as it traces the myriad artistic languages the Futurists employed as their practice evolved over a 35-year period. The exhibition begins with an exploration of the manifesto as an art form, and proceeds to the Futurists’ catalytic encounter with Cubism in 1911, their exploration of near-abstract compositions, and their early efforts in photography. Ascending the rotunda levels of the museum, visitors follow the movement’s progression as it expanded to include architecture, clothing, design, dinnerware, experimental poetry, and toys.
Along the way, it gained new practitioners and underwent several stylistic evolutions—shifting from the fractured spaces of the 1910s to the machine aesthetics ( or arte meccanica ) of the ’20s, and then to the softer, lyrical forms of the ’30s. Aviation’s popularity and nationalist significance in 1930s Italy led to the swirling, often abstracted, aerial imagery of Futurism’s final incarnation, aeropittura. This novel painting approach united the Futurist interest in nationalism, speed, technology, and war with new and dizzying visual perspectives. The fascination with the aerial spread to other mediums, including ceramics, dance, and experimental aerial photography.
The exhibition is enlivened by three films commissioned from documentary filmmaker Jen Sachs, which use archival film footage, documentary photographs, printed matter, writings, recorded declamations, and musical compositions to represent the Futurists’ more ephemeral work and to bring to life their words-in-freedom poems. One film addresses the Futurists’ evening performances and events, called serate, which merged “high” and “low” culture in radical ways and broke down barriers between spectator and performer. Mise-en-scène installations evoke the Futurists’ opera d’arte totale interior ensembles, from those executed for the private sphere to those realized under Fascism. Italian Futurism concludes with the five monumental canvases that compose the Syntheses of Communications ( 1933 – 34 ) by Benedetta ( Benedetta Cappa Marinetti ), which are being shown for the first time outside of their original location. One of few public commissions awarded to a Futurist in the 1930s, the series of paintings was created for the Palazzo delle Poste (Post Office) in Palermo, Sicily.
The paintings celebrate multiple modes of communication, many enabled by technological innovations, and correspond with the themes of modernity and the       “ total work of art ” concept that underpinned the Futurist ethos.
You may read whole manifesto from to click below link Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum's web page.


Oil on Plywood Panel 
Dimensions: 187 x 131 cm. 
Private collection 
© 2014 Artists Rights Society - New York / SIAE, Rome. Photo: Luca Carrà

The swirling, sometimes abstracted, aerial imagery of Futurism’s final incarnation, aeropittura ( painting inspired by flight ), arrived by the 1930s. Aeropittura emerged from the Futurists’ interest in modern aircraft and photographic technologies. Propelled by Italy’s military preeminence in aviation, their fascination with the machine shifted focus from the automobile to the airplane. In flight the artists found disorienting points of view and new iconographies to explore in painting, photography, and other mediums.
Evidenced by the work of Tullio Crali, Gerardo Dottori, and Tato, aeropittura represented a novel painting approach that allowed the Futurists to address nationalism, speed, technology, and war, providing radical perspectives that exalted these concepts. Benito Mussolini equated his Fascist regime with the Roman Empire at its peak; not coincidentally, many artworks from the 1930s incorporated imagery from Roman antiquity. Tato’s Flying over the Coliseum in a Spiral ( Spiraling (1930) depicts an airplane soaring over an iconic Italian structure, the circles of the plane’s path echoing the ancient building’s form. The Futurists’ engagement with the aerial quickly expanded beyond painting to other fields, including ceramics, dance, and experimental photography.


Oil on Panel 
Dimensions: 141 x 151 cm. 
Casa Cavazzini, Museo d' Arte Moderna a Contemporanea, Udine, Italy
© 2014 Artists Rights Society -  New York / SIAE, Rome 
Photo: Claudio Marcon, Udine, Civic Musei E Gallerie di Storia e Arte


Oil on Panel 
Dimensions: 80 x 60 cm. 
Collection of Luce Marinetti, Rome 
© 2014 Artists Rights SocietyNew York / SIAE, Rome. Photo: Studio Boys, Rome

Oil on Canvas 
Dimensions: 80 x 80 cm. 
Ventura Collection, Rome . Photo: Corrado De Grazia

Gelatin Silver Print
Dimensions: 23.9 x 17.3 cm. 
Collection of Giorgio Grillo, Florence

Photomontage, Gelatin Silver Print 
Dimensions: 24 x 18 cm. 
Rovereto, MART, Archivio del ’900, 
Fondo Mino Somenzi. Photo: © MART, Archivio del ’900

Gelatin Silver Print 

Dimensions: 24 x 31.5 cm
Touring Club Italiano Archive

Inspired by Henri Bergson’s philosophical ideas on dynamic movement, in late 1911 the Futurist painters began to freely adapt the photographic motion studies of French biophysicist Etienne - Jules Marey and Anglo-American photographer Eadweard Muybridge. Seeking to revitalize painting, Futurist Anton Giulio Bragaglia worked with his brother Arturo Bragaglia, an accomplished photographer, to develop a method of capturing movement they called photodynamism. The pictures on which the Bragaglia brothers collaborated plot the movement of a figure, usually from right to left, with intermediary sections of motion blurred.
Despite their proclaimed interest in new technologies, the Futurists largely neglected photography after these early experiments until the 1930s. In the 1930 “Futurist Photography: Manifesto,” F. T. Marinetti and Tato declared photography to be a powerful tool in the Futurist effort to eliminate barriers between art and life. With the camera, they could explore both “pure” art and art’s social function. Also a designer, graphic artist, and painter, Tato was a leader in Futurist photography and used the camera for diametrically opposed goals; his works express his ideological support of the Fascist regime and reflect his engagement with the absurd.
Futurist photography exhibitions of the 1930s presented avant-garde images that not only reveal an awareness of international modernist currents but also demonstrate strategies specific to the Italians. Futurist photographic techniques include the layering of multiple negatives, perspectival foreshortening, and photomontage. While the 1930s exhibitions included photographs by Bragaglia, the manifesto suggested that the newer photographers’ superimpositions achieved a simultaneous representation of time and space that moved beyond Bragaglia’s photodynamism.
The 1930s also saw the merging of photographic technology with other Futurist art forms, especially dance, painting, and performance inspired by mechanized flight. Meanwhile, photographers Filippo Masoero and Barbara developed novel conceptions of space by photographing Italian cities from an airplane’s cockpit.

Gelatin Silver Print
Dimensions: 11.9 x 16.7 cm. 
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 
Gilman Collection, Gift of the Howard Gilman Foundation, 2005 
© 2014 Artists Rights Society , New York / SIAE, Rome
Image source: Art Resource, New York © The Metropolitan Museum of Art


Gelatin Silver Print
Dimensions: 17.5 x 23 cm. 
Galleria Civica di Modena, Italy 
© 2014 Artists Rights Society -  New York / SIAE, Rome. Photo: Francesca Mora

Photomontage, Gelatin Silver Print
Dimensions: 15 x 20 cm.
Rovereto, MART, Archivio del ’900, Fondo Mino Somenzi.
Photo: © MART, Archivio del ’900

Oil on Canvas With Sequins, 
Dimensions: 61 x 46 cm. 
Gianni Mattioli Collection, on Long - Term Loan to 
the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice 
© 2014 Artists Rights Society - New York / ADAGP, Paris


The years leading up to World War I are often called Futurism’s “heroic” phase. In this era colored by optimism, the Futurists worked in a mature avant-garde language; their compositions edged toward abstraction and they reinvented traditional artistic forms. The group also acquired members beyond the initial Milan–Rome axis. In Florence, for example, Giovanni Papini and Ardengo Soffici became involved with the movement. Their journal Lacerba (1913–15) published history-making exchanges on Futurism.
Futurist visual artists agreed that the representation of dynamism and simultaneity was tantamount, but were divided on how to achieve this. Giacomo Balla examined trajectories of movement. The Iridescent Interpenetrations, which are thought to illustrate light’s movement in electromagnetic waves, are his attempt to portray the universal dynamics that permit speed. These explorations informed his later Abstractions of Speed, a series prompted by the reflections of passing cars in shop windows. Balla realized his own visual vocabulary for velocity by combining the Futurist principles of dynamism and simultaneity with allusions to light, sound, and smell. On the other hand, Umberto Boccioni and Gino Severini sought to represent the distorting effects of motion on a subject. Boccioni looked to the action of the athletic body, merging figure and ground in his activated renderings of a rider on a galloping horse and of a cyclist racing through a landscape. Severini’s exposure to Parisian cafes, cabarets, and dance halls compelled him to study movement through dance, painting fragmented, whirling forms.
Revolutionary literary and architectural experiments also occurred in these years. The Futurists pioneered a style of visual poetry they called parole in libertà, or “words-in-freedom.” Introduced by F. T. Marinetti, words-in-freedom was seized upon in the 1910s by Futurist painters and writers who produced confrontational, unorthodox sketches (tavole parolibere) on modern themes. In 1914 the architects Mario Chiattone and Antonio Sant’Elia each created a series of utopian (and unrealized) designs for the contemporary city. Incorporating new materials and accommodating rapid transport, they reenvisioned urban existence through a vanguard aesthetic based on technology.


Oil on Canvas
Dimensions: 198.7 x 259.1 cm
Credit: Acquired through the Lillie P. Bliss Bequest (by exchange)
© 2019 Carlo Carrà / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / SIAE, Rome

The Museum of Modern Art, New York, Gift of Nelson A. Rockefeller, 1979.
Those Who Stay - 1911. 
Oil on canvas, 70.8 x 95.9 cm. 
 © The Museum of Modern Art / Licensed by SCALA / Art Resource, New York

The Museum of Modern Art, New York, Gift of Nelson A. Rockefeller, 1979.
From top: The Farewells - 1911. 
Oil on Canvas, 70.5 x 96.2 cm; 
Those Who Go - 1911. 
Oil on canvas, 70.8 x 95.9 cm; 
Those Who Stay - 1911. 
Oil on canvas, 70.8 x 95.9 cm. 
 © The Museum of Modern Art / Licensed by SCALA / Art Resource, New York


The Museum of Modern Art, New York, Gift of Nelson A. Rockefeller, 1979.
Those Who Go - 1911
Oil on Canvas 
Dimensions: 70.8 x 95.9 cm 
© The Museum of Modern Art / Licensed by SCALA / Art Resource, New York

The Museum of Modern Art, New York, Gift of Nelson A. Rockefeller, 1979.
From top: The Farewells - 1911. 
Oil on Canvas 
Dimensions: 70.5 x 96.2 cm
© The Museum of Modern Art / Licensed by SCALA / Art Resource, New York


Oil on Canvas
Dimensions: 100 x 65 cm. 
Gianni Mattioli Collection, on long-term loan to
the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice, used by permission

Tempera on Paper, Mounted on Canvas 
Dimensions: 49 x 68 cm. 
Gianni Mattioli Collection, on Long - Term Loan to 
the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice 
© 2014 Artists Rights Society , New York / SIAE, Rome


An internationally renowned art museum and one of the most significant architectural icons of the 20th century, the Guggenheim Museum in New York is at once a vital cultural center, an educational institution, and the heart of an international network of museums. Visitors can experience special exhibitions of modern and contemporary art, lectures by artists and critics, performances and film screenings, classes for teens and adults, and daily tours of the galleries led by museum educators. Founded on a collection of early modern masterpieces, the Guggenheim Museum today is an ever-evolving institution devoted to the art of the 20th century and beyond.
In 1943, Frank Lloyd Wright was commissioned to design a building to house the Museum of Non-Objective Painting, which had been established by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation in 1939. In a letter dated June 1, 1943, Hilla Rebay, the curator of the foundation and director of the museum, instructed Wright, “I want a temple of spirit, a monument!”
Wright’s inverted-ziggurat design was not built until 1959. Numerous factors contributed to this 16-year delay: modifications to the design (all told, the architect produced 6 separate sets of plans and 749 drawings), the acquisition of additional property, and the rising costs of building materials following World War II. The death of the museum’s benefactor, Solomon R. Guggenheim, in 1949 further delayed the project. It was not until 1956 that construction of the museum, renamed in Guggenheim’s memory, finally began.
Wright’s masterpiece opened to the public on October 21, 1959, six months after his death, and was immediately recognized as an architectural icon. The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum is arguably the most important building of Wright’s late career. A monument to modernism, the unique architecture of the space, with its spiral ramp riding to a domed skylight, continues to thrill visitors and provide a unique forum for the presentation of contemporary art. In the words of critic Paul Goldberger, “Wright’s building made it socially and culturally acceptable for an architect to design a highly expressive, intensely personal museum. In this sense almost every museum of our time is a child of the Guggenheim.”
Wright’s original plans for the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum called for a ten-story tower behind the smaller rotunda, to house galleries, offices, workrooms, storage, and private studio apartments. Largely for financial reasons, Wright’s proposed tower went unrealized. In 1990, Gwathmey Siegel & Associates Architects revived the plan with its eight-story tower, which incorporates the foundation and framing of a smaller 1968 annex designed by Frank Lloyd Wright’s son-in-law, William Wesley Peters.
In 1992, after a major interior renovation, the museum reopened with the entire original Wright building now devoted to exhibition space and completely open to the public for the first time. The tower contains 4,750 square meters of new and renovated gallery space, 130 square meters of new office space, a restored restaurant, and retrofitted support and storage spaces. The tower’s simple facade and grid pattern highlight Wright’s unique spiral design and serves as a backdrop to the rising urban landscape behind the museum.
In 2008, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum was designated a National Historic Landmark; in 2015, along with nine other buildings designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, the building was nominated by the United States to be included in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage List.
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation was founded in 1937, and its first New York–based venue for the display of art, the Museum of Non-Objective Painting, opened in 1939. With its exhibitions of Solomon Guggenheim’s somewhat eccentric art collection, the unusual gallery—designed by William Muschenheim at the behest of Hilla Rebay, the foundation’s curator and the museum’s director—provided many visitors with their first encounter with great works by Vasily Kandinsky, as well as works by his followers, including Rudolf Bauer, Alice Mason, Otto Nebel, and Rolph Scarlett. The need for a permanent building to house Guggenheim’s art collection became evident in the early 1940s, and in 1943 renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright gained the commission to design a museum in New York City. The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum opened on October 21, 1959, and in 2019, celebrates 60 years as an architectural icon and “temple of spirit” where radical art and architecture meet.



The collection that Solomon R. Guggenheim (1861–1949) gave to his foundation between 1937 and his death in 1949 included hundreds of artworks from the most vibrant and dynamic styles of European modernism, including over 150 works by Vasily Kandinsky. The museum that bears his name was made possible by his inspired collecting of the art of his time. Yet, notably, Guggenheim only turned to contemporary, abstract art later in his life. He once said, “As it grew on me . . . I wished others to share my joy.”
Solomon Guggenheim and his wife, Irene Rothschild Guggenheim, began collecting art in the 1890s. At first the Guggenheims collected works expected of the refined members of the upper class: old masters, the French Barbizon school, American landscapes, Audubon prints, and manuscript illuminations. It was not until 1927, when he was in his late 60s, that Solomon started collecting modern art, when he met German abstract painter and collector Hilla Rebay, whom Irene had commissioned to paint his portrait.
Rebay’s studio near Carnegie Hall was decorated with works by artist Rudolf Bauer, her on-and-off romantic partner and longtime artistic collaborator. Guggenheim took an interest in these pieces—which were “nonobjective,” as Rebay referred to them, and dramatically different from the art he had previously experienced. The two formed a friendship, and Rebay encouraged him to collect some works by Bauer; this was the starting point of a personal and professional relationship that would last the rest of Guggenheim’s life.
In 1930, the Guggenheims traveled with Rebay to Europe to see, study, and collect art—one of several such trips they would make. In Dessau, Germany, they met Kandinsky while he was teaching at the Bauhaus, and Guggenheim purchased Composition 8 (Komposition 8, 1923). For the remaining twenty years of his life, Guggenheim, with Rebay’s input, systematically collected nonobjective art, purchasing works from Bauer and Kandinsky, as well as Robert Delaunay and László Moholy-Nagy. He expanded his collection in other aspects of modern art, with works by Marc Chagall, Albert Gleizes, Fernand Léger, and Amedeo Modigliani. During this time, he also had dealings with gallery owner Karl Nierendorf, whose private collection would ultimately become part of the Guggenheim Foundation’s holdings.
“I wished others to share my joy.”
Of his collecting at this time, Guggenheim said, “Everybody was telling me that this modern stuff was the bunk. So as I’ve always been interested in things that people told me were the bunk, I decided that therefore there must be beauty in modern art. I got to feel those pictures so deeply that I wanted them to live with me.”
Live with him, they did. Beginning in the early 1930s, the Guggenheims used several suites that they occupied at the Plaza Hotel to showcase the growing collection, which was open to the public by appointment. Guggenheim’s collection also decorated his country home at Trilora Court in Sands Point, Long Island.
Guggenheim and Rebay envisioned something even greater for the collection’s display; in 1936, Rebay organized the first museum exhibition of the Guggenheim collection at the Gibbes Memorial Art Gallery (now the Gibbes Museum of Art) in Charleston, South Carolina, near the Guggenheim’s farm and hunting retreat in Cainhoy. In 1937, Solomon founded the Guggenheim Foundation with Rebay as its curator and director. Further exhibitions were mounted at the Philadelphia Art Alliance in 1937; at the Gibbes again in 1938; and at the Baltimore Museum of Art in 1939. Rebay later recounted that Guggenheim wanted to open a grand museum as soon as possible, but that she encouraged him to start on a smaller scale and build an American public for nonobjective art.
Together, they contracted young architect William Muschenheim to design a gallery for the Museum of Non-Objective Painting, which opened in 1939 on East 54th Street. The unusual space corresponded to Rebay and Guggenheim’s notions of a “museum-temple” for the deep contemplation of the spiritual and utopian aspects of nonobjective art. It had pleated-velour-covered walls and carpeted floors, incense filled the air, and music by Johann Sebastian Bach and Ludwig von Beethoven played in the gallery. All of these elements were meant to enable the general public to “live” with these works.
After several years of increasing attendance for the Museum of Non-Objective Painting, Guggenheim and Rebay commissioned Frank Lloyd Wright to design a museum for a lot that Guggenheim had acquired on Fifth Avenue. The site was just blocks from other institutions with wealthy industrialist patrons—the Frick Collection and the Metropolitan Museum of Art—but the new museum’s architecture and purpose were to be very different indeed. Wright’s now-iconic spiral design opened to the public in 1959, ten years after Guggenheim’s death. Toward the end of his life, Guggenheim said of the project that he never regretted his “intuitive decision nor my great faith in this [nonobjective] Art.”
Through the institutions that he founded, Guggenheim was able to provide a public home and ongoing preservation, archival, and curatorial support for his collection as well as those of his colleagues and contemporaries, Rebay, Justin K. Thannhauser, Nierendorf, Katherine S. Dreier, and eventually, his niece Peggy Guggenheim. Those institutions continue to collect, preserve, and showcase the most relevant modern and contemporary movements and works from artistic communities around the globe.




Tempera, Pen, Mica Powder, Paper Glued on Cardboard
Dimensions: 38.5 x 30 cm
Gianni Mattioli Collection, on Long - Term Loan to the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, 

Venice © 2014 Artists Rights Society - New York / SIAE, Rome
Photo: Courtesy Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York


In one of their pivotal inventions, the Futurists conceived a style of free-form, visual poetry called parole in libertà, or “words-in-freedom.” Following F. T. Marinetti’s example, the Futurists liberated words and letters from conventional presentation by destroying syntax, using verbs in the infinitive, eliminating adjectives and adverbs, abolishing punctuation, inserting musical and mathematical symbols, and employing onomatopoeia. Words-in-freedom poems were read as literature, experienced as visual art, and performed as dramatic works. The Futurists published them in multiple formats and declaimed them at the Futurist serate (performative evenings).
While Marinetti introduced the form, many Futurists contributed their own interpretations. A group of pictorially, verbally, and aurally imaginative sketches for words-in-freedom (called tavole parolibere) originated in the revolutionary period of the 1910s. Giacomo Balla invented phonovisual constructions, while Fortunato Depero devised an abstract language of sounds he called onomalingua. Francesco CangiullosLarge Crowd in the Piazza del Popolo (1914) engages the themes of the city, the crowd, and upheaval. The circular structure of Carlo Carrà’s Chronicle of a Milanese Night Owl (1914) captures the sensory whirlwind of voices, sounds, and figures he encountered during a nocturnal walk in Milan.

India Ink on Paper 
Dimensions: 16 × 16 cm. 
Private collection © Benedetta Cappa Marinetti,
Used by permission of Vittoria Marinetti and Luce Marinetti's heirs. 
Photo: Luca Carrà

F. T. MARINETTI - AIR RAID ( n. 67 ) 1915 - 1916
Ink and Pencil on Paper 
Dimensions: 21.5 x 27.5 cm. 
Collection of Luce Marinetti, Rome 
© 2014 Artists Rights Society - New York / SIAE, Rome. Photo: Studio Boys, Rome

Program For the Theater of Futurist Pantomime
Illustrated Leaflet (Paris: M. et J. De Brunn ), 

Dimensions: 27.5 x 22.7 cm
Fonds Alberto Sartoris, Archives de la Construction 

Moderne–Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland - 
Photo: Jean-Daniel Chavan

Watercolor, Gouache, and Pencil on Paper 

Dimensions: 58 x 74 cm
Private collection © 2014 Artists Rights Society - New York / SIAE, Rome

In The Evening, Lying on Her Bed, She Reread the 
Letter From Her Artilleryman at the Front 1919 (Detail)

In The Evening, Lying on Her Bed, She Reread the 
Letter From Her Artilleryman at the Front 1919

Words-in-Freedom Book ( Milan: Edizioni Futuriste di Poesia, 1914 ), 
Dimensions: 20.2 x 14 cm. 
The Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles 
© 2014 Artists Rights Society New York / SIAE, Rome

Ink on Paper 
Dimensions: 27 x 20 cm. 
Private collection © 2014 Artists Rights Society 
New York / SIAE, Rome. Photo: Luca Carrà

Book ( Milan: Edizioni Futuriste di Poesia ), 
Dimensions: 26.5 x 18.8 cm. 
The Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles 
© 2014 Artists Rights Society - New York / SIAE, Rome


Tempera and Encaustic on Canvas 

Dimensions: 324.5 x 199 cm
Il Palazzo delle Poste di Palermo, Sicily, Poste Italiane
© Benedetta Cappa Marinetti, used by Permission of Vittoria Marinetti 

and Luce Marinetti’s heirs - Photo: AGR / Riccardi / Paoloni

Oil on Canvas 

Dimensions: 56 x 78.3 cm
Estorick Collection, London
© 2014 Artists Rights Society - New York / SIAE, Rome

Painted Wood

Dimensions: 36.5 x 23 x 10 cm
Private collection © 2014 Artists Rights Society (ARS), 

New York / SIAE, Rome - Photo: Vittorio Calore

Futurismo 2, no. 32 (Apr. 16, 1933) - Journal (Rome, 1933), 
Dimensions: 64 x 44 cm
Fonds Alberto Sartoris, Archives de la Construction Moderne–Ecole Polytechnique 
Fédérale de Lausanne EPFL), Switzerland - Photo: Jean-Daniel Chavan

Wolfsoniana - Fondazione regionale per la Cultura e lo Spettacolo, Genoa
By permission of heirs of the artist - Photo: Courtesy Wolfsoniana 
Fondazione regionale per la Cultura e lo Spettacolo, Genoa

In 1915 Giacomo Balla and Fortunato Depero wrote the seminal manifesto “Futurist Reconstruction of the Universe.” Using characteristically aggressive language, they call for a reenvisioning of every aspect of the world, even demanding Futurist “toys.” These ideas fed the Futurist conception of the opera d’arte totale (total work of art), an ensemble that surrounds the viewer in a completely Futurist environment. Balla, Depero, and others soon put their ideas into practice, opening case d’arte (art houses) to market their decorative arts designs. Balla converted his home in Rome into a showroom of sorts, designing nearly everything in the residence. Depero established an artisanal studio in his native town of Rovereto. Balla made screens, which often shared concerns with his speed-related paintings, and other furniture. Both artists designed waistcoats that reflect the aesthetics of their paintings. Depero fashioned his brightly colored vests expressly for the Futurists to wear with their bourgeois suits to signal their radicalism. Balla conceived a coffee service (recalling his 1916 sketches for a tea set) that was produced in majolica in Faenza in 1928, and many other Futurists experimented with ceramics, especially in the 1930s. Some Futurist artists secured commissions to design elaborate interiors for homes, restaurants, and cabarets.

Pencil and Ink on Paper 
Dimensions: 27.9 x 20.9 cm. 
Pinacoteca Civica di Como, Italy
Photo: Courtesy Musei Civici Como

The Futurists celebrated the modern city. Rejecting historicism and seeking to revolutionize urban life, architects Mario Chiattone and Antonio Sant’Elia proposed utopian visions for cities of the future in two series of drawings: Buildings for a Modern Metropolis and Città Nuova (both 1914). Embracing new materials and industrial methods that would alleviate the need for internal load-bearing systems, these designs feature soaring, narrow structures outfitted with thin, lightweight facades. External elevators and viaducts shoot up the spare, windowless planes. The Futurist emphasis on speed is accommodated by unimpeded transportation systems, including facilities for both air and rail travel (see Sant’Elia’s Station for Trains and Airplanes and Tullio Crali’s later plan for a similar center). While Chiattone never defined himself as a Futurist, Sant’Elia outlined the goals of this style in a text that was subsequently edited by Marinetti and issued as “Futurist Architecture: Manifesto” ( 1914 ). These early forays into architecture stressed rhetoric rather than execution and pictorial imaginings took precedence over the specifics of implementation. Sant’Elia died in World War I in 1916 and Chiattone moved in another direction, and their Futurist designs were never built.
By the 1930s, the Fascist state was erecting new public buildings in the clean, spare parlance of Rationalism or the Stile Littorio (which references classical Roman architecture). Neither the complex modern metropolis envisioned by architects such as Chiattone and Sant’Elia nor the theatrical urban buildings dreamed up by Virgilio Marchi were realized. Their successor, Alberto Sartoris, also built few of his designs, and he vacillated between Futurism and Rationalism, exhibiting the same plans under both banners. While he aligned himself with Futurism conceptually, he leaned toward functionalist aesthetics. Sartoris’s axonometric projections eschew superfluous forms in favor of structures that alternate massed volumes with empty space. Crali, better known as a visual artist, also imagined modern envelopes for practical structures, as in his multipurpose Sea Air Rail Terminal. Among the few Futurist structures to be built were temporary ones for fairs, such as those conceived by the multifaceted artist Enrico Prampolini.

Tempera on Canvased Paper
Dimensions: 130 x 145 cm. 
Private collection, Switzerland


India Ink on Paper 
Dimensions: 32 x 52.5 cm. 
MART, Museo di Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto, Italy. 
Photo: © MART, Archivio Fotografico

Oil on Panel 
Dimensions: 280 x 150 cm. 
Museo Storico dell’Aeronautica Militare, Rome 
© 2014 Artists Rights Society - New York / SIAE, Rome. Photo: Massimo Napoli

The Futurists had been a long time formulating their theories and were determined to maintain their identity by standing firm in the storms of innovation that were sweeping over the art world. While all the Futurists agreed to this separation, it was upheld especially by those best informed about the international scene—Marinetti, Severini, and Boccioni. Severini had moved to Paris in 1906, and he had become the link between the Futurists and the artistic and cultural world outside Italy. He moved in the circles that championed the most avant-garde tendencies and knew many literary figures. He would marry the daughter of Paul Fort, the prime despoètes, and Apollinare, Max Jacob, Blaise Cendrars, Braque, Picasso, Raoul Dufy, and Suzanne Valadon were among his friends. In 1910 Severini accepted his friend Boccioni's invitation to sign the first Manifesto of Futurist Painters and thenceforth kept the band informed of the latest news in Paris through long letters which remain of great interest. In 1911, during their first officiai showing as a group (an exhibition held in Mìlan in the former premises of the Ricordi music publishers), they were vigorously attacked by Ardengo Soffici, the Fiorentine champion of Cubism who accused them of using worn-out forms and iconography made irrelevant by the Cubists. Soffici's articles in the review La Voce about Picasso, Braque, and the other Cubists stirred the newly formed group to confront the French challenge. For the Futurists the renewal of Italian culture was a matter of international as well as national import. To break through the limitations of a vocabulary stili tied to a pronounced idealism, they needed to under stand just what their artistic rivals were up to. The theoretical texts they wrote cìearly distinguished their aesthetic from that of the Cubists, a definition that was as necessary for their development as for the public's.
The first significant contact with Cubist ideas carne from a lengthy letter that Severini wrote to Boccioni in 1911. It read in part: "The most modem [painters] can be divided into Cubists, Picassoans, and Independents. I give the latter that name because I don't know what other to give a number of individuai who propose to turn out painted canvases following only their minds' impulses but with neither aim nor direction. They say they don't want to confuse their fellow creature by giving him the illusion of something true by means of paint. When they have produced a nude woman, for example, they say: 'This is canvas and these are the colors, but I did not set out to produce a laughing woman or, better, I made this woman as my brain wished it and not as my eyes and everyone else's have seen her in life.' In landscapes some of them attempt to present trees and houses from the greatest possible number of sides; indeed, their aim is to present objects from ali sides, and in that they are in direct contact with the Cubists but with the difference that the Cubists resolve the problem directly by showing half the object in perspective and the other half immediately alongside, sectioned like an engineer's blueprint, whereas these others compose bizarre perspectives that at the most give the impression of seeing the objects in a bird's-eye view from above. Those who strictly speaking are Cubists do not even know why they are called thus. Perhaps it is because of the geometrie forms that predominate in their pictures. Their endeavor is certainly heroic but infantile. I allude to the goal they have set themselves to achieve: painting an object from several sides or dissected. The engineers have resolved that question in a more complete fashion, and there is no need to go back to it. Some Cubists become decorators and caricaturists, but then their sincerity is open to doubt."
Severini distinguishes between the Cubists and Picassoans by explaining, according to his own point of view, how much the process of abstraction practiced by Picasso and
Braque differs from the self-styled Cubists* fanciful and even arbitrary tricks of perspective. (This distinction between Picassoans and Cubists, with the latter term reserved for painters like Metzinger, Gleizes, Le Fauconnier, and Lhote, refleets the general criticai position of the time.) His observations sum up the polemics that raged around the Salon des Indépendants which opened at the end of April 1911. In Room 41, the focus of much heated debate, there were works by Le Fauconnier, Gleizes, Metzinger, and Delaunay, all of them artists strenuously defended by Apollinaire in the pages of L'intransigeant. In an article published on April 21 the poet stressed the force of these works and the modernity of their style, though with out denying that they looked very much stripped down to basics and sometimes overly rigid. All of these artists made an obvious effort to solve the problem of reducing and concentrating form, a problem Picasso and Braque had resolved with a considerably greater intensity of synthesis. But the latter pair demonstrated an aristocratic aloofness in their refusai to participate in the officiai exhibitions, and in any case during this period their efforts were increasingly concentrated on issues of spatiality and on the dialectic between image and reality.
Since 1910 Severini had been living at 5 Impasse Guelma in Montmartre, the same building in which Braque had his studio. There he observed his French colleague's development firsthand and discussed the problems that had concerned him for some time, notably the relation between form and movement that was the cornerstone of the Futurist aesthetic.
Severini wrote further: "If you say to them that a chair has no inherent movement, they reply that because man can impart one to it, they consider [the chair] as a thing endowed with movement. However, sometimes they fix on an object constituting part of the picture, for example, a dice cube or a drawer handle, and they put a good deal of emphasis on that detail. If you ask them why, they will tell you that a die does not have the same movement as a drinking glass or a bottle or a chair; and if you tell them that this affirmation is purely gratuitous and is a rather obvious contradiction, they reply: 'There are so many things like that that one can't explain!' And then they pretend they are not intuitive! Some of their theories come fairly dose to our truths. For example: If you look at a man, you can see him circumscribed within a definite plastic form because now you have to see him in connection with all the movements he can make and in all the deformations resulting from the movements. Yet they do not accept that one can give the impression of movement by giving a man in motion more arms or more legs, because by that means one would arrive at most at an impressionistic physical truth to the detriment of the plastic and pictorial point of departure which, for them, is the same as that adopted by the masters, from Rembrandt right up to Corot. "
"In front of one of his pictures," Severini went on, "I made Braque confess that his art was in principle descriptive, and once I got this assertion out of him I pointed out that by the force of things it became anecdotal. And so very anecdotal that to depict a table you use the kind of walnut stain sold in corner paint shops and applied to ordinary soft wood to make it look like walnut. And the same for ebony and rosewood. In that way, he says, it works out to be much simpler and less arty. "
The young Futurist was trying strenuously to grasp the basic principles of the Cubist method, but the significance of the structural intuition Braque and Picasso relied on eluded him, as did their fundamental credo that their images had nothing to do with empirical reality. He did, however, recognize the importance of their efforts to simplify forms and to render the image in simultaneous views. He saw too that, while the paintings of Braque and Picasso were strikingly similar in this period, each painter was in fact exploring entirely different aspects. Picasso aimed at his own kind of pictorial truth by confronting the problems of spatiality and looking deeply into the reality of the objects he represented. Braque was more concerned with the relation between things and colors, and he concentrated more on the problem of their relationship with the space around them (whence the charge of illusionism that Severini brought against his paintings).
Severini continued: "They make a show of a great distaste for the nobility of colored material and for painting in general. When I tried to remind Braque that the Greeks insertedhairs into a sculptured head to create a beard, he said that he himself was following thisprinciple but that the Greeks had turned away from it because they aimed at an expression of beauty whereas he did not wish his painting to be beautiful. . . . This exaggerated repugnance of theirs for beauty has an explanation in something their friends told me: It seems they are convinced and fervent Christians. For that reason they make use of the humblest materials in order to enhance a kind of intimate modest beauty, something perhaps inherent in them [the materials]; this constitutes their ultimate goal in art, quite outside any contemporary metaphysical problem."
Severini's reference to the placement of a realistic element, convincingly naturalistic in appearance, into an obviously unrealistic context is of special interest, above all in light of the future development of both Cubism and Futurism and the revolutionary innovation of collage. Even more significantly it anticipates the introduction of real-life materials into sculpture which Boccioni himself would practice beginning in 1912.
Severini's long letter reveals the gulf that, from the outset, separated Futurist and Cubist aesthetics. On the one hand, Futurist painting: compounded out of light and color, based on the dynamic decomposition of forms—forms broken down not for analysis of their structure and components but in consequence of their motion in space and the associated emotion—and accentuated by a fierce and pure-toned coloring. On the other, Cubist painting: exploration of tonai modulations conceived in relation to the forms as such. While the Futurists' approach was based on the harsh clash of pure colors and a palette emphasizing complementary colors, Braque and Picasso looked to analogies of tones, not contrasts, within a limited variety of colors. "I should like my colors to be diamonds," Severini wrote, echoing an idea developed at length in the Technical Manifesto of Futurist Painting of Aprii 11, 1910, "and to be able to use them abundantly so as to make my pictures more dazzling with light and richness. Before siding once and for ali against Picasso and his comrades, I want to continue the analysis of them and their works. Certain of their theories appear to have a good deal of truth in them and cannot be condemned a priori: Indeed, certain of them are indisputable truths. The only thing is, I am not in rapport with their artistic expression.
"In a portrait, they say, there is no need to work out exactly the physical harmony that exists between the eyes, the nose, and the mouth, but one does need to understand the moral link between those details of the face; and that moral harmony can be understood and must be conveyed despite all the deformations imprinted on them by movement. If you tell them that they are drifting into caricature, they reply that their deformations are in rapport with their conception of what a picture is, that is, quite outside the physical harmony everybody understands and sees, whereas in caricature the nose is always placed beneath the eyes and the mouth beneath the nose." But "moral harmony" was exactly what the Futurists were denying in this first phase of their activity.
"The art of the Cubists," Severini observed, "beginning with Léger and up to Le Fauconnier and Metzinger traces no new path nor will it leave any trace despite the numerous imitators and the few admirers. They are stili too attached to the bygone laws of plasticity to enter into the field of abstract painting or purely metaphysical expression. In fact, in some of their canvases they do not go beyond Impressionism, applying it to communicate some anecdote or other. They have their origin in Derain whose figures without chiaroscuro (Matisse fashion) seem to glorify the grotesque, but a deliberate and consciously infantile grotesque. The Cubists say they base their work on the ethics of Corot, but they follow the aesthetics of Cézanne. "
This passage anticipates Guillaume Apollinaire's affirmation in Les Peintres Cubistes (1913) that André Derain was the real precursor of the Cubist aesthetic. But while Derain pursued a course that began with the study of Cézanne and would lead him in about 1906 to concentrate on the transposition of forms, he never analyzed subjects structurally. Yet both Severini and Apollinare seem to have intuited that Derain's particular approach played a fundamental part in the discovery of the aesthetic possibilities of African art, its primitive imagery and its reduction to essentials. Certainly Apollinaire and Severini saw much of each other in 1911 and may well have exchanged opinions on the burning issues of the day.
As Severini saw it, "only Picasso and Braque, who only recently broke with the Cubists, have a formidable, new boldness. They truly take as little as possible from nature and break away from ali the laws of art accepted till today. They do not paint forms and colors but sensations, and because of their total renunciation of the laws of art, I believe they are closer to literature than to painting. In fact, if it is true that artistic expression needs to be liberated from atavistic slavery to form, and that form must be subjected to ali the sensations and deformations due both to movement and to the almost simultaneous succession of different impressions on the retina, it is also true that (to remain in the field of painting) certain artistic principles must be retained to reveal the cause of the sensation the painter expresses. Those principles are moreover exclusively intuitive, and therefore often confuse the sensation with the cause that produced it. And perhaps this is why those two artists, and Picasso in particular, are often suspected of bluffing, and their sincerity is questioned by the majority of people. They can also be accused of being one-sided because both of them, with an identical manner of coloring and with the same rhythm ofline, always express the same sensation.
"Be that as it may, they are the most interesting artists of our age, and their art is one of our Futurist verities. . . . One needs to be grateful to the Cubists for the formidable slap in the face they have given the Academy and the public that enjoys commonplace expressions that cali for no effort. They aspire to lead the public toward a new aesthetic and in that respect are admirable. They want no more landscapes with dazzling colors. Nature is too materially beautiful and kind to the eye. To our tormented souls ali that healthy delight in color and line is as irksome as the laughter of children amusing themselves while we are gnawed by doubt. If a modem painter wishes to spare modem spirits, who seek new and profound sensations in art, the noisome impression of that importunate laughter, he must garner in life other beauties than the physical ones of color and form; color and form should no longer exist save in the guise of sensations and not as goal in themselves. Here is our point of contact with the truth of Braque and Picasso, whom I classify with the name of neo-artists. "
When Boccioni received Severini's long letter he had very likely not yet written the text for the lecture he would give in May 191 1 at the Circolo Artistico in Rome. Certainly his friend's ideas and his highly detailed descriptions of the current innovations in the Paris art world must have come as a boon. The letter, along with Soffici's article on Braque and Picasso in La Voce, must have played a large part in persuading Boccioni to make a sorde to the French capital, which he did in October.
A previously unpublished letter (now in the Museum of Modem Art, New York) by Boccioni dated October 15, 1911, indicates that he arrived in Paris some ten days after the Salon d'Automne opened: "I have already seen the modem painters who interested me. I will continue to study them, but I see that I had already intuited virtually everything about them and it is merely a certain outward look they have (due to the enormous incredible influence of Cézanne and Gauguin and others) that makes the ideas of some of them appear more daring than they really are. Of the Cubists I have not yet seen Picasso, Braque, and a few others. Of those I have seen—Metzinger, Fauconnier, Léger, Gleize [sic], etc. —only the first is really venturing into an unexplored field . . . but what metaphysics!! Everything I myself have done in the way of metaphysics (physical transcendentalism) is stili something of an absolute reality ...

"It is strange how nothing, absolutely nothing, has escaped me of what goes to make up the complex of aspirations of the finest modem painting! I say strange because, thinking of Italy, I marvel that I haven't died there of drowning …. And now that I am about to touch shore I think with infinite tenderness of the person who helped me keep afloat in that sad sea of social and intellectual mediocrity which is Italy today! I have a great longing to return. I have to work like a madman, even if it kills me, but it is sad to think that I will have to spend my entire life sweeping up Italy's trash and refuse! Here I am extremely well known among the young artists and my incognito under my mother's name Forlani has given me a lot of amusement.
"At the Bai de la Gaiette last evening word got around among a band of Italian painters that I was there, and throughout the evening they ali buzzed about our group. Finally one of them carne up to me and asked if I was Boccioni. I replied yes but that having left in Italy ali my ideas about painting, I wanted to have a rest and avoid all discussion. There were introductions, and a Genoese painter with a horrific look of bohème poured out ali his woes to me .... The young man ruling the roost here now is Picasso. There is much talk about him, and the dealers put his tiniest and most insignificant pen-and-ink sketches in their Windows in huge sumptuous and even antique frames and, underneath, with great ostentation: Picasso(\). It is a real and marvelous launching, and the painter scarcely finishes a work before it is carted off and paid for by the dealers in competition with each other."
Boccioni had been in Paris only two days but had already seen the works of most of the Cubists who interested him. His first reaction was defensive. He claimed he had already intuited what the artists were up to from Severini's description; this was not an idle boast, as can be seen in the text of the lecture he had given five months earlier. His letter indicates that the indebtedness to Cubism some find in him has been asserted much too strongly and at times too uncritically. Cubism was, of course, extremely important in the forging of the Futurist aesthetic, but it is also true that for years Boccioni had been developing new ideas that only needed to be put to the test—therein lies the importance of his trip to Paris in the fall of 1911.
This was not Boccioni's first visit. He had been in Paris for a few months in 1906 when he was overwhelmed by the look and feel of that great city. Rome had a population of five hundred thousand—a village compared to the Parisian megalopolis. "Think of the thousands of carriages," he wrote to his family on April 17, 1906, "and the hundreds of omnibuses, horse-drawn, electric, and steam-driven trams, all double-deckers, and the motorized taxicabs in the streets; think of the Metropolitan, an electrified railway that runs under all of Paris and the tickets are bought by going down into great underground places entirely illuminated by electric light; the ferry boats, exactly like those in Venice and always packed with people. It is something simply past believing. In the midst of all this movement put thousands of bicycles, lorries, carts and wagons, private automobiles, delivery bicycles …. The streets are full of advertisements; signs even on the roofs; cafés by the thousands all with tables outside and all of them packed; in the midst of all this three million souls who rush about wildly, run, laugh, who work out deals, and so on and so on as much as you want ….
"I have seen women such as I never imagined could exist! They are entirely painted:
hair, lashes, eyes, cheeks, lips, ears, neck, shoulders, bosom, hands and arms! But painted in a manner so marvelous, so skillful, so refined, as to become works of art. And note that this is done even by those of low station. They are not painted to compensate for nature; they are painted for style, and with the liveliest colors. Imagine: hair of the most beautiful gold topped by little hats that seem songs in themselves—marvelous! The face pale, with a pallor of white porcelain; the cheeks lightly rosy, the lips of pure Carmine shaped clearly and boldly; the ears pinkish; the neck, nape, and bosom very white. The hands and arms painted in such a way that everyone has very white hands attached by the most delicate wrists to arms lovely as music" (Birolli 1971, pp. 332-38).
In October 1907 Boccioni again visited Paris, this time for a week. When he returned to Milan, he was exhausted and racked by doubt. He was seized by violently religious and metaphysical emotion and felt impelled to delve into the depths of the spiritual and physical worlds. Between late 1909 and early 1910 the discouraged young artist met the self-styled "caffeine of Europe," Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, poet by trade and firebrand by inclination. The encounter infused Boccioni with a new vitality. While the works he produced at that portentous moment of his life do not depart from traditional pictorial formulas, they push to an extreme a Divisionism marked by intense color and complex brushwork.
With the parturition of the Futurist movement the troubled artist would suddenly win greater assurance. He would throw himself into a life outside his narrow world, open himself to the risks of unrestrained emotion. He would move ever further away from a traditional conception of form and, at last, venture into the exploration of himself and his art that he had been contemplating for years. In 1910, when he began work on The City Rises (no. 50), he would declare that he had meditated on the idea of the picture for four full years, that he had worked painfully and obsessively on that whirling frenzy of colors which, originai as it is, stili bears the stamp of a markedly Symbolist approach.
For years he had been pondering the problem of how to represent modem life, and it was in large measure the contact with the great urban world of Paris that finally moved him to create more modem, more timely expressive forms. The adventure of Futurism, launched in 1910 with an intense theoretical program formulated in its manifestos, unleashed the twenty-eight-year-old's pent-up aggression. For ali the new movement's determination to stir up an Italy stili dreaming of its past, Paris was the artistic heart and center of the world, and Paris would be the Futurists' touchstone and lodestar.
When Boccioni went off to Paris in October 1911, he was already pondering the ideas that underlie States of Mind (no. 56), the canvases he completed in the months just before they were shown at the Galerie Bernheim-Jeune. If Boccioni's conception was tainted by a certain evocative Symbolism, it nonetheless already involved a dynamic element that is unrelated to the Cubists' frigid and static optic. The works by Le Fauconnier and Gleizes that Boccioni saw at the Salon d'Automne and mentioned in his letter were perhaps too descriptive for the budding Futuristi, and Léger's canvas had in fact been criticized by Apollinare as a modest product of a stili unripe pei sonality. Room 8 in the exhibition which housed those artists had been dubbed "Cubist" by the poet-critic who made much of the fact that they had now truly taken on the character of a school. In Room 8 there were also works by the brothers Marcel Duchamp and Jacques Villon whose acquaintance Boccioni would make a few months later on the occasion of the Futurist exhibition at the Galerie Bernheim Jeune. Duchamp was then working on Nude Descending a Staircase, a painting which, criticized by Gleizes, would be refused by the Salon des Indépendants in March 1912.
In Souvenirs: Le Cubisme 1908-1914, the memoirs he wrote during World War II, Gleizes recalled the excitement of the exhibition opening: "The ensemble no longer presented the homogeneity ofRoom 41. The representatives of orthodox Cubism—Le Fauconnier, Léger, Metzinger, and myself—found themselves side by side with artists having only remote resemblances to them, who did not have the same point of departure and who would for a long time or forever deny any connection with Cubism. ... In any case, despite that lack of homogeneity, the ensemble had a fine provocative air about it. In those painters one sensed an air of battle. . . . Very curious, that rush of visitors denser in that year of 1911 than in earlier years because they had been alerted by items in the newspapers announcing the participation of the 'Cubists' whose appearance, six months earlier, had been a surprise."
Boccioni arrived in Paris just as the new movement was taking off. Picasso and Braque, who did not choose to show with the other artists, were not, however, classified as Cubists, and in fact Gleizes and Picasso would not meet until after the inauguration of the Salon d'Automne. Boccioni declared that the artist who impressed him most was Jean Metzinger, because his theoretical position was both more advanced and clearer than that of the other Cubists (Picasso and Braque as always excepted). Metzinger had published articles on the relationship between the new art and the classical tradition and, in addition, called for a "totality" in painting that would synthesize all possible views of the object represented. Apollinaire's review of the Salon d'Automne stressed Metzinger 's richness of imagination and profound culture, noting that he had finally shaken off the influence of Picasso so conspicuous in his earlier paintings. His compositional structures, once very similar to Picasso's, were now being simplified and resolved in a manner less volumetrie and more confined to the picture surface. Unlike works from the same time by the first Cubists, his paintings treat the decomposition of the image without aiming at three-dimensionality. He emphasized instead the intersection of planes without overly stressing the feeling of form. In Metzinger's works of this period there is a certain effort at abstraction, but he stili appears the most naturalistic of the Cubist group. The abstraction of the forms, which may have been what appealed to Boccioni in Metzinger's work, was based on very different values from his. For Boccioni the new form and the new color, as he had proclaimed in his lecture of the preceding May, must arise out of the emotion aroused by the subject itself.
Boccioni met Apollinaire in the fall of 1911. "I have not yet seen any Futurist pictures, " the critic wrote in the Mercure de France in November, "but if I have understood correctly the point of the new Italian painters' experiments they are concerned above all with expressing feelings, virtually states ofthe soul (this is an expression used by M. Boccioni himself), and with expressing them in the most forceful manner possible. These young people also desire to move away from naturai forms and claim to be the inventors of their art." With a tone of half-amusement half-irony Apollinaire also made much of Severini's whim of wearing socks of different colors. Fernande Olivier, Picasso's mistress at the time, also mentioned this detail and described Boccioni's first meeting with Picasso: "During the winter after the return from Céret—Picasso had spent the summer of 1911 there together with Braque working in isolation—the Italian Futurists burst upon Montmartre convoyed by Marinetti whom Apollinaire was simply dotty about. Naturally enough they carne to Picasso's. Severini as well as Boccioni who died in the war were hot-headed fanatics who dreamed of a Futurism dethroning Cubism. They made a great thing out of their professions of faith …. They tried to give themselves bizarre airs, attempting to stand out physically at least, to create a sensation, but their means were mediocre and they often made themselves ridiculous. Boccioni and Severini, leaders among the painters, had inaugurated a Futurist fashion which consisted in wearing two socks of different colors but that matched their ties" (Olivier 1933).
Even before their introductory exhibition the young Futurists elbowed their way into the Parisian art scene spoiling for a fight. To impress that (presumably) hostile (or merely indifferent?) world, no weapon was neglected: rhetoric, dialectic, debate, demonstrations, unmatched socks. No surprise then that these foreign artists were greeted with a certain wariness. If nothing else, with their theories and their pictures (it is difficult to say which were more disturbing) they were introducing stili greater confusion into a situation already far from clear-cut. Having prepared a bumpy way for themselves, they made their officiai bow before the Parisian public in February 1912. The preface to the catalogue of their show at the Galerie Bernheim-Jeune was written in the aggressive language characteristic of their manifestos. Though the preface was signed by the Futurist quintet Boccioni, Carrà, Russolo, Balla, and Severini, a note made it clear that the ideas expressed had been propounded by Boccioni in his lecture ofMay 1911. The stand they took against the Cubists was harsh and unequivocal, and their shrill tone antagonized critics and artists alike.
From their first programmatic pronunciamentos the Futurists had brandished the banner of Modernism. The time, they announced, was overripe for new aesthetic canons, and they were prepared to invent them. Modernism called for new and regenerating ideas, for broadly comprehensive images for which reality was a source of inspiration but not the measuring rod. The Futurists were the first to declare the aesthetic of the machine and of speed as the single ali-decisive principle for a cultural ideology. In his lecture of 1911 Boccioni had grappled with the dilemma ofhow one could represent modem life. To be truly modem a work of art had to mirror the urgent and relentless rhythms of the new times, had to strip away every trace of concern with the object as such which had made fleeting phenomena cold and lifeless.
Theories not with standing, in the works Boccioni showed in Paris the relationship with reality was stili very strong and was rendered in a contradictory manner. The objective fact, the given, the point of departure constantly broke through to the fore no matter how it was swept along in the impetus of the movement and deformed by force-lines. The Futurists' extrovert art, which shone—glared—with violent colors and swift, aggressive images was completely different from the introverted experiments of the Cubists who conceived of a work of art as an object in itself whose form obeyed no laws outside itself. With their tense straining toward the future and toward a modem ideal, the Futurists transformed the very meaning of the object, while for the Cubists the object was a stable point on which to build their reflective vision.
The theory of physical transcendentalism—of moving beyond the physical properties and limitations of "real" things—that Boccioni seems to pit against Cubist theories was based on an absolutism that arose from the Symbolist sensibility. The philosophical ideas of Henri Bergson—which stressed reliance on intuition and held that individual consciousness was superior to ali closed systems and rigid mental categories—had been circulating for some time in French and Italian intellectual circles (his L'Evolution créatrice had appeared in Paris in 1907); Boccioni could certainly have been influenced by him.
"All objects," according to the catalogue of the first Futurist show in Paris, "in line with what the painter Boccioni felicitously calls physical transcendentalism tend toward the infinite by theirforce-lines whose continuity is measured by our own intuition. " This statement sums up the fundamental difference between the Futurists and the Cubists. But when the Futurists (Boccioni in particular) attacked Cubism, their opposition was directed mainly toward the pictorial illusionism and the emphasis on the flatness of the canvas that were characteristic of the second generation of Cubists. While insisting on their profound ideological differences from Picasso and Braque, the Futurists maintained a respectful attitude toward those two artists, which increased over the years (this is especially notable in Boccioni's admiration for Picasso).
Gertrude Stein knew every corner and secret of the French art world, and her greatest admiration was reserved for her friend Pablo Picasso. It was through him that she met and entertained the Futurists in the rue de Fleurus: "It was about this time that the futurists, the italian futurists, had their big show in Paris and it made a great deal of noise. Everybody was excited and this show being given in a very well known gallery everybody went. Jacques Emile Bianche was terribly upset by it. We found him wandering tremblingly in the gardens of the Tuileries and he said, it looks alright but is it. No it isn't, said Gertrude Stein. You do me good, said Jacques-Emile Bianche. The futurists ali of them led by Severini thronged around Picasso. He brought them all to the house. Marinetti carne by himself later as I remember. In any case everybody found the futurists very dull" (Stein 1946, p. 82).
While Stein was strenuously championing Picasso's talent and conception of form, Apollinaire was beginning to turn his back on all that and to campaign for a brand of Cubism he baptized "Orphic" and whose boldest representative was Robert Delaunay. At this time Metzinger and Gleizes brought out their book Du Cubisme which proposed an aesthetic based on the approach to form practiced by Cézanne and Derain.

In the midst of these more or less open disputes the Futurists carne in search of a corner for themselves in the crowded, unsettled Parisian art scene. It was refused them. Only Gustave Kahn and Félix Fénéon, longtime friends of Marinetti, praised the new movement though less for the right reasons than because of the residue of the Symbolist spirit in Futurism which characterized their own approach. (A generous selection of reviews of the Futurist exhibition is found in Lista 1986.) For Apollinaire, Futurism was merely an Italian imitation of the French schools, in particular of the Fauves and Cubists. He criticized the Futurists' dispersion of the image and their insistence on representing various aspects of reality filtered through emotions without taking into account the element of time. Against that approach he held up that of the Cubists who brought together in a single object all the various perceptions and reduced them to a single phenomenon. But Delaunay remained for him the artist who could best express the modem spirit. Delaunay 's colored volumes and rejection of the laws of perspective were entirely apt, Apollinaire thought, for subjects based on a new reality, such as the paintings of the Eiffel Tower he began in 1909. For Delaunay the Eiffel Tower was his compotier, his substitute for the standard fruit dish painted over and over by one Cubist after another. Quite unlike the Picasso or Braque stili lifes, here was a subject aggressive in character and symbolic of the new industriai era. Delaunay's dogged and obsessive repetition of the theme would lead him to disaggregate the forni and to burst it asunder in an explosion of violent colors.
Around 1912 Delaunay began to paint the "simultaneous contrasts" that enchanted
Apollinaire. Because of Delaunay's use of the word "simultaneity" there ensued a long and interesting debate with Boccioni which went on into early 1914. For Delaunay color had both a dynamic and a constructive value and represented at one and the sanie time forni and subject. As the "Heresiarch of Cubism" (Apollinaire's sobriquet for Delaunay) would explain later in writing, his painting took its departure technically from color and then developed through time, though the whole of it could be perceived simultaneously in a single glance. Color thus became in itself a function of space.
Boccioni felt betrayed by Apollinaire. While the critic had never sided with the Futurists, and indeed energetically attacked certain aspects of their approach, he had none theless shown a certain curiosity, if not a veiled interest, and had even confided to Severini that he was preparing a book in which he would include the Futurists as "Orphics." For all their irreconcilable differences the theories of Boccioni and Delaunay had certain key words in common, most notably the term "simultaneity." For Boccioni this signified simultaneous representation of states of mind, toward which end he strove to reproduce the plastic sensations of the subject and its setting in a single profoundly unified vision. A painting must be a synthesis of "what is remembered and what seen" (a phrase that was used in the introduction to the catalogue of the Futurist exhibition at Galerie Bernheim-Jeune) and involve an intersection and interpenetration of lines and forms which, through the image's movement, would draw the viewer toward and into the picture's center. Simultaneity, for Boccioni, expressed the exaltation of speed, the affirmation of modernity. Place, time, form, and color coexist in a single composition conceived to bring out the object's dynamic reality through a simultaneity not limited to the simple unfurling of an action in time but embracing ali the elements that could convey the sensation of speed visually. While Delaunay's theories, translated into paint, ended up by canceling out ali the phenomena of exterior reality and achieving a total formai abstraction, Boccioni never lost the feel of (and for) the object, and it is this, filtered through the emotions, that gave rise to the rhythm of the signs and the vibration of the forms in his paintings.
The Futurist manifestos circulated quickly and were widely read and discussed. Propaganda was the group's most effective weapon, especially in the early period when their pictures were more in their minds than on canvas. Nonetheless this does not explain why groups and artists of a very different stripe should have held ideas so dose to theirs. There is, for one, an astonishing similarity between Boccioni's theories and those Kandinsky propounded in The Spiritual in Art, which he published in Munich in late 1911. To begin with, the cultural climate in which the Futurists and Kandinsky developed their ideas was much the same. Whether Italian or German (or, like Kandinsky, a Russian émigré), artists were not likely to have escaped or ignored the discussions on philosophical materialism, the polemics against the positivistic scientific approach, and the scientific discoveries that were overturning traditional notions in physics and in other fields of knowledge. Einstein's theory of relativity, first formulated in 1905, upended the traditional conception of an unrelated absolute space and absolute time. The discovery of radioactive phenomena by W. K. Rontgen, A. H. Becquerel, and Ernest Rutherford meant that the idea of the atom as the ultimate physical particle had to be reconsidered and that a new science had to be established that would take into account hitherto unknown forces of radiation. Max Planck, with his quantum theory, threw open to discussion the wave theory of light. In philosophy the crisis that attended the birth pangs of the new century was sensed and expressed in a diversity of approaches: in an outburst of interest in spiritualism and the occult, in the various currents of methodological and criticai investigation proposed by German thinkers, in a new psychology allowing for both conscious and unconscious factors as against the schematic explanation and positivist determinism of a Bergson.
Kandinsky maintained that nothing is absolute and that art is born out of the principle ofinner necessity. A marked mystical strain runs through his writings: Painting, defined as pure art, is one of the manifestations of the divine; the artist's subjectivity is subordinated to an inner voice that harmonizes oppositions and contradictions. These theoretical principles are the origin of Kandinsky's visual compositions, constructed out of chromatic notes that spread like sonorous vibrations, like music, across the space of his canvases: abstract com positions that are entirely without a material objective model and that exist precisely and only because forms and colors have value in themselves.
In his 1911 lecture Boccioni expressed a very similar concept: "Only that painting will be Futurist whose colors can represent and communicate a sentiment with the minimum possible recourse to the concrete forms that gave rise to it." Nonetheless, for Boccioni, abstraction proceeds out of reality itself. Because the artist aims to represent the becoming, the developing, of the object, his intuition will transform elements from the external world into a creation manifesting a sense of universality. Whereas Kandinsky with his philosophical reflections immersed himself in the spiritual substance of the universe, and the Cubists sought to capture the essence of things by means of intellectual investigation, Boccioni strove to penetrate reality by contemplating the relativity of phenomena and the way they manifest themselves in relation to the absolute. This was a tortuous and difficult quest in an age of increasingly concrete thinking which impelled him to seek, as he would himself state, a new finite "symbol of our conception of the infinite."
In March 1912 the Futurists exhibited in Berlin in Herwarth Walden's Galerie Der Sturm where Delaunay and Kandinsky had shown on other occasions. Kandinsky now asked Walden not to promote these Italian artists: "You know my opinion of them. And the last manifesto (painting of noises and odors—without gray! without brown! etc.) is even more frivolous than those preceding it. Do not take this badly, dear Herr Walden, since for me likewise it is not something pleasant to talk about. But art is something sacred that should not be treated with such flippancy. And the Futurists merely play with the more important ideas they bring up every so often, though everything is thought through so little and so little felt. These things pain me. I know that ali of this is part of our present-day life, which is infinitely varied and creates with an unprecedented multiplicity of manners. But I have none the less the right to withhold my support from elements I find antipathetic. It will be enough that I do not fight against them" (letter 137, dated November 12, 1913, Staats bibliothek, Berlin).
It is obvious that the chief concerti of ali artists of whatever stripe was to safeguard their personal field of action, their small corner in the vast world of art. The game consisted (as it does today) in setting up a policy of alliances and oppositions which in an instant, virtually without warning, could shift out ofeither conviction or expediency. Such a change transformed the virtually fraternal bond between Delaunay and Apollinare. As early as mid-1913 their accord was showing signs of strain. It was then that Apollinare issued his own manifesto, L 1Antitraditionfuturiste (dated June 29, 1913), which aimed to reconcile the Cubist and Futurist positions; he also took steps to heal the breach with Boccioni which had opened during the dispute about simultaneism. A postcard (private collection, Padua) Apollinare sent to Boccioni early in 1914 testifies to the cordiality with which the contact was renewed: "Dear friend, Forget about Delaunay and work well; soon we shall put together an issue with reproductions of the Futurists. When do you come to Paris?"
The great mobility in the cultural would—new arrivals, upheavals, reversals, quick successes and quicker failures—induced each group to conduct its discussion in its own way. Certainly the manner the Futurists adopted topped all the others in violence and white-hot polemics. If in one sense that constituted their strength, in another it created their isolation.
On February 17, 1913, the Armory Show opened in New York. For the first time the American public was brought face to face—emphatically, even violently—with the works of those European artists who, particularly in the preceding decade, had overturned and transformed the vocabulary of traditional and academic forms in painting and sculpture. All in ali the venture proved thoroughly worthwhile and had important consequences: in Europe because of the debates raging in those months over such artistic and literary currents as Cubism and its heretics, Futurism, and the "spiritualism" of a certain Russian and German tendency; in the United States because those stimulating controversies were extended to a new and fertile terrain and, above all, because on a practical piane a new and as yet unexploited market was opened up for both foreign and domestic art.
The Armory Show offered a selection from those currents that had most appealed to the organizers who, only a few months before, scarely knew more than the general talk about a Picasso or a Braque. Not everyone was satisfied. In an article titled "Evolution and Revolution in Art" published in The International Studio in Aprii 1913, the critic Christian Brinton noted that the exhibition failed to provide a comprehensive and unified view of the latest tendencies. "One was not a little disconcerted to discover Klimt, Bilgas, Marc, Mestrovic, Minne and Burljuk, while such significant groups as the Dresdener Brùcke, the Berliner Neue Sezession, the Mùnchener Neue Vereinigung, and the Stockholm Eight, not to mention Severini and the Futurists, were substantially or wholly without representation."
With Braque, Delaunay, the Duchamps, Kandinsky, Léger, Picabia, and Picasso present in the Armory Show, even if represented by only a limited number of pieces, why were the Futurists excluded? Their name at least was known, however much misinterpreted and misused. The term "futurist" appears again and again in the blizzard of articles the Armory Show elicited; it was almost always used erroneously to describe, usually pejoratively, anything considered to be avant-garde. No end of Cubist works were labeled "futurist," and it was the adjective most frequently applied to Marcel Duchamp's Nude Descending a Staircase.
The appearance in America of the artists who were legitimately termed Futurists was eagerly anticipateci. The organizers of the Armory Show had offered the Futurists a room in which their works could be shown together and thereby avoid confusion with the lowercase "futurists." Why did the group decline the invitation? In November 1912 the organizers met in Paris with Severini and Boccioni, who was making a brief visit to that city. In a letter that seems to date from that month Boccioni wrote to his fellow Futurist Carlo Carrà asking him what Futurist projects were planned and what agreements had been reached concerning the exhibitions in which members could or should take part. Boccioni turned to Carrà for this information because Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, the literary and artistic capo of the Futurist movement, was in the Balkans as a war correspondent. Marinetti's Milan home had become the Futurists' headquarters and meeting place, the site of their discussions and debates, and the place they received their mail. Its "officiai" status is confirmed by the fact that its address appears on ali the Futurist manifestos put out in those years.
As it happened, shortly before the approach from the American organizers, the group had been invited to participate in a Rome exhibition, one whose title constituted a program and, for Italy, a challenge: the First International Roman Secession Exhibition. Planned to run from March 31 through June 30, 1913, its aim was to extend Italian artistic debate into a broader, European context like that created in Austria and Germany by the Sezession exhibitions. Among those already committed to lend Impressionist works were the same Parisian galleries that had promised their collaboration to the Americans, including Galerie Bernheim-Jeune where the Futurists had already shown.
The Rome exhibition was designed as a homage to Impressionists and Divisionists with emphasis on Italian Symbolists with French antecedents; paradoxically the latter represented a more advanced position than the D'Annunzio-influenced approach of the Italian official and academic painters. The selection committee included Giacomo Balla, onetime teacher of Boccioni and Severini and himself a signatory of the Futurist manifesto on painting. An influential member of the committee, he saw to it that his Futurist comrades were invited to take part in what was planned to be a major event in Rome.
If the Futurists opted to show in Rome, however, they could not join in the Armory Show since the dates overlapped. In his letter to Carrà mentioned above, Boccioni instructed him to "go to Marinetti's and have them show you his correspondence. From the envelopes, I hope, you will be able to see if there is a letter from Balla or from the Secession committee. If you find a letter, write and teli me what it says. . . . Wire [Rome] to get a categorical reply about the exhibition at the Secession. In any case and as soon as you have any news write or wire me at Severini's. AH of this because we are invited to show in New York with Picasso, Braque, the Cubists, Cézanne, etc. . . . The matter would be of no interest to me if one of my friends had not written to Severini that he has heard about a forthcoming Futurist show in New York. This (I imagine) is the work of Dr. Borchardt who for purposes of outright speculation, with the paintings bought at half price, is moving ahead of us and despoiling ali the most important cities in the world. Our triumphal entry into ali the capitals is completely compromised! This really annoys me and will annoy Marinetti even more to whom I am writing right away. . . . Besides, we are committed to Amsterdam, I think, with the contract for Aprii 1913" (Archivi del Futurismo 1962, voi 1, pp. 246-47; corrected following originai in Carrà archives, Milan).
Immediately after their first show in Paris at Galerie Bernheim-Jeune in February and
March 1912, the Futurists were, as mentioned above, given another exhibition, this one in Berlin at the invitation of Herwarth Walden, the German poet and journalist who had recently taken to promoting new art. The Futurists' show was only the second such under taking of this enthusiast. Long interested in Symbolist and Expressionist currents, he was now championing somewhat more innovative trends in both literature and the visual arts through his review Der Sturm and the Galerie Der Sturm in Berlin. On the face of it the Berlin show was an unexpected success. A single collector, the Wolfgang Borchardt mentioned in Boccioni's letter to Carrà, bought twenty-one paintings, almost ali of those on view, as a block. This windfall was, however, a far from unmixed blessing. The transaction was compieteci very slowly because the purchaser found it difficult, he said, to pay the artists in full. (It cannot be ruled out that this apparent Maecenas was fronting for Walden, whose promotion of the avant-garde may have been a crass scheme to profit from the craze for the very latest in the arts.) The Italian artists were suspicious of such a conspicuous, almost whole sale purchase of their works (stili of untested commercial value), and Boccioni's concern about Borchardt's injudidous and badly timed presentations of Futurist art in all the major centers was doubtless justified.
"If I had not been in Paris," Boccioni wrote further to Carrà, "Severini would have known nothing about previous commitments or anything else, and everything was heading toward disaster with commitments and counter-commitments. Anyway, if Marinetti wants well-staged entries (and he is right) he ought to see to them himself: War is beautiful, just looking at it is better, but our and my future matters more to me …. Write me what you think about New York. The whole thing is free. A hall 16 meters by 8 [52V2 by 26Vi feet]: shipment December 7. Only drawbacks: lack of [separate] Futurist entrance, Rome exhibition: Amsterdam exhibition. "
Marinetti returned to Milan just about the time Boccioni wrote to Carrà. The capogruppo reacted strongly to Boccioni's complaints about Borchardt's raids on the Futurists' potential European market and, notably, its German sector. On November 15, 1912, the fiery, Machiavellian impresario wrote to Walden: "We are very angry with you for not letting us know about the various exhibitions of Futurist painting you have organized with Dr. Borchardt. It would have been useful to do so, in the interest of those exhibitions themselves …. We are extremely angry because in your lectures you havejumbled together the Futurists with the Expressionists and others who have nothing to do with our movement. I have written a long letter to Dr. Borchardt on this subject. I beg you to read it with due attention. No one among the Futurist painters , those truly Futurist, that is, thefounders Boccioni, Carrà, Russolo, Severini, has exhibited in the Salon d'Automne. But in that Salon there are a good many Cubist, Post-Impressionist, and other painters who imitate the Futurists. They are ali epigones, as you yourself cali them, who are now turning away from cold and static Cubism and are making a great effort to produce pictorial dynaniism, compenetration ofplanes, anàpainting of states of mind, etc. We are therefore ali the more distressed to see that you, our great friend and such a brilliant connoisseur of art, are increasing the confusion the worid press is creating by considering as Futurist ali those who imitate our movement in painting.
"We therefore wish to be informed about the exhibitions you are preparing, and we want those exhibitions to include exclusively genuinely Futurist pictures. Write me immediately if it is true that you are preparing an exhibition in New York, because in that case I would pian to give lectures in that city" (Archivi del Futurismo 1962, voi. 1, p. 253).
Marinetti's letter makes it clear how strenuously he was prepared to defend the position of his quintet of artists and to brook no confusion with other artistic trends. He was more and more convinced that the group's success depended on maintaining its individuality and autonomy.
On November 15, the same day he wrote to Walden, Marinetti wired Boccioni in Paris: "Hope to receive telegram from Rome tomorrow. Will advise you by telegram. Waiting for reply Walden about New York. We are ali absolutely against exhibition with Cubists New York. Wire me if remaining in Paris for long. Greetings to Severini …. Yours Marinetti" (private archive, Padua).
Marinetti's chief reasons for refusing the invitation to the Armory Show must have been his protective feelings for his Futurist artists and his fear of compromising more interesting prospects. Consultation with Carrà and Russolo, the only members of the group then in Milan, could only have confirmed his own opinion that exhibiting alongside the rivai and even enemy group would only compound the existing confusion between Futurists and Cubists. There was no further discussion about Futurist participation in the American exhibition. Their refusai was a gallant or perhaps a provocative gesture, but it effectively cut them off from the potential support of the dealers, galleries, critics, and patrons across the Atlantic.
It did not take the Futurists long, interested as they were in self-promotion, to realize the chance they had missed. American collectors were snapping up the work of the other European avant-garde artists, and this was a market the Futurists could not afford to over look. It was proving difficult to make a place for themselves outside Italy; in France and Germany, where they had hoped to find an enlightened public, they were beginning to be regarded with a certain hostility. In Italy it would require a slow and patient effort to bring the national artistic consciousness into the twentieth century, and the moderation and tolerant persistence necessary was not in the Futurists' character. And there were subterranean rumblings in the European politicai and economie situation hinting of the world conflict that would explode in the summer of 1914 and would encompass Italy as well after a year of neutrality. Thus, although it was a time when their efforts were turned to urging Italian intervention against the Austrian "occupier" of Northern Italy, the group accepted the invitation that carne to them at the end of 1914 to show in San Francisco, at the Panama Pacific International Exposition celebrating the completion of the Panama Canal. Yet here again things would not go smoothly for the Italian group; a new international market would not be opened to them.
The Futurist works were probably transported to San Francisco from London where
they had recently been. After the Panama Pacific International Exposition closed on December 1, the paintings and sculptures remained in San Francisco for some months since the international section in which they were shown remained open until May. Whatever their expectations, the Futurists passed almost unnoticed. The war in Europe, which had entered a criticai phase, was a more absorbing topic than "modernistic" art, and many years would pass before American interest would quicken with regard to this art.

Essay quoted by book of ‘’ UMBERTO BOCCIONI - ESTER COEN ‘’. The Metropolitan Museum Exhibition Book.

Oil on Corrugated Board
Dimensions: 64.5 x 80.5 cm. 
Galleria d’Arte Moderna di Roma Capitale. 
Archivio Fotografico Galleria d’Arte Moderna di Roma Capitale
Photo: © Roma Capitale

Oil on Canvas 
Dimensions: 100 x 70 cm. 
Private collection, By permission of heirs of the artist. 
Photo: Courtesy Pozzo Heirs


Following World War I, Futurism gained new members and assumed different formal qualities, including those of arte meccanica (machine aesthetics). While mechanized figures and forms had appeared earlier (in the art of Fortunato Depero, for example), Ivo Pannaggi and Vinicio Paladini articulated the principles of this idiom in their 1922 “Manifesto of Futurist Mechanical Art.” Enrico Prampolini also adopted a mechanical language at this time, and he subsequently expanded and signed the manifesto, publishing it in his journal Noi in 1923.
Pannaggi’s Speeding Train (1922) demonstrates the Futurists’ sustained interest in the locomotive as a symbol of modernity, motion, and the machine. The painting depicts a powerful train barreling toward the viewer at a diagonal angle. Speeding Train suggests the total sensory experience of observing the daily trains passing through the small coastal towns along the Adriatic (the blur of the moving cars, the clamorous noise of the motor, the ear-splitting scream of the whistle).
Later, Pannaggi’s interest in machine aesthetics led him to integrate Constructivist elements such as beams, cubes, cylinders, and three-dimensional letters into his work. In 1932–33 he attended the Bauhaus in Germany, the only Futurist aside from Nicolaj Diulgheroff to do so.

Oil on Canvas

Dimensions: 100 x 120 cm
Fondazione Carima–Museo Palazzo Ricci, Macerata, Italy
Photo: Courtesy Fondazione Cassa di risparmio della Provincia di Macerata

Tempera on Paper 
Dimensions: 68 x 102 cm.
 MART, Museo di arte moderna e contemporanea di 
Trento e Rovereto, Italy © 2014 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/SIAE, Rome. 
Photo: © MART, Archivio Fotografico


February 21, 2014 - September 1, 2014