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Entries in Futurism (5)

Monday
Nov262018

Carlo CarrĂ : From Movement to Mystery

Carlo Carrà - Funeral of the Anarchist Galli - 1911 - oil on canvas - 198.7 x 259.1 cm - MoMA, New York (click photo for larger image)Futurism was a modernist movement based in Italy celebrating the technological era. It was largely inspired by the development of Cubism. The core preoccupations of Futurist thought and art were machines and motion. The movement didn’t really catch on elsewhere, but its Italian practitioners did produce some amazing works of art. The movement died out with the onset of World War I.

Carlo Carrà (1881-1966)  studied painting briefly at the Brera Academy in  Milan, but he was largely self-taught.

In 1909, Carrà met the poet Filippo Marinetti and the artist Umberto Boccioni, who converted him to Futurism, which exalted patriotism, modern technology, dynamism, and speed. Carrà’s most famous painting (featured here), The Funeral of the Anarchist Galli, embodies Futurist ideals with its portrayal of dynamic action, power, and violence. It includes abstract-representations of humans and horses baring black banners. A red casket is carried at the center beneath a shining sun.

In this painting Carlo Carrà commemorates the death of Angelo Galli during a strike in Milan and the subsequent funerary parade to the cemetery, which erupted into violence between anarchists and the police. Carrà lived in Milan and was involved with anarchist groups; he was at the funeral and recalled the event in his memoirs La mia vita (1945).

Carrà became one of the founders of Metaphysical painting, along with artist Giorgio de Chirico. These artists often used very realistic but incongruous imagery that viewers would find disquieting.

In 1918 Carrà broke with de Chirico and Metaphysical painting Throughout the 1920s and ’30s, he painted figurative works based on the monumental realism of the 15th-century Italian painter, Massaccio. Through these works and his many years of teaching at the Milan Academy, Carrà greatly influenced the course of Italian art between the World Wars.

Wednesday
Mar042015

Futurism: A Surging Incoherence of Forms

Umberto Boccioni Street Noises Invade the House - 1911 - 100 x 107 cm (39 1/4 x 42 in) - Sprengel Museum - Hannover - Germany (click photo for larger image)Interest in—and appreciation of—machinery was clearly in the air in the early decades of the 20th century. For a group of young Italian artists, the progress offered by machinery epitomized their increasing fascination with dynamic speed and motion. Though they translated this idea of progress into a frenetic exultation of the glory of war and the destruction of museums, their visual understanding of motion remained exciting. The Italian Futurists—like the members of Die Brücke in Germany—aimed to free art from all its historical restraints and celebrate the new beauty of the modern age. Umberto Boccioni (1882-1916) and other of his contemporaries wanted to express the onrush of events in the world with pictures of motion, dynamism, and power. In the work featured here, Boccioni attempts to provide this sensation and succeeds remarkably well. Noise becomes something seen, something literally invasive of privacy. Boccioni said of the painting, “…all life and the noises of the street rush in at the same time as the movement and the reality of the objects outside.” The surging incoherence of the forms is both chaotic and ordered—a true mark of Futurism, as a movement.

Monday
Oct072013

Carlo CarrĂ : Futurist

Carlo Carrà - Jolts of a Cab - 1911 - Oil on canvas - 20 5/8 x 26 1/2" (52.3 x 67.1 cm) - Gift of Herbert and Nannette Rothschild - Museum of Modern Art (MoMa) - New YorkCarlo Carrà (1881-1966) was an Italian painter, critic and writer who was a prominent figure in the early 20th century movement of Futurism. His own words reveal a great deal about the character of his day.

“But that was the Golden Age of modern art. We were still a small group of pioneers, the Paris Cubists and Fauvists, the Italian Futurists, the London Vorticists, the Blue Rider group in Munich, the Expressionists in Berlin and Dresden, Larionov and his friends in Russia. Nationalism was quite unknown to us, and we were all friends, each ready to recommend the others to the few gallery owners, collectors and critics likely to be interested in our work.

"After the First World War, we found ourselves committed in each country to an absurd patriotism. It had become unpatriotic for a Paris painter, even if he were foreign-born, to know anything about contemporary German art or to praise an Italian artist. Overnight, Picasso seemed to have forgotten all about Kandinsky, Chagall behaved as if he had never heard of Larionov, and only a few personal friends of mine in Paris could remember any of my pictures.”

Carlo Carrà, 1959, quoted by Edouard Roditi

Tuesday
Jan082013

Gino Severini - A Modern Synthesizer

Gino Severini - Italian, Festival in Montmartre, 1913, Oil on canvas - 35 x 45 3/4 in. (88.9 x 116.2 cm) - Bequest of Richard S. Zeisler, 2007.281, Art Institute of Chicago (click photo for larger image)Gino Severini was an Italian Cubist/Futurist Painter, 1883-1966, who synthesized the styles of Cubism and Futurism. Futurism refers to a modern art movement originating among Italian artists in 1909. The movement lasted until the end of World War I--but only caught real hold in Italy. The Futurists hoped to wrench Italy from what they saw as her languid, retrospective dream of an antique and Renaissance past into the shrill, dynamic realities of the industrial present. To accomplish this aim, they needed to develop a style as aggressive and contemporary as their new urban environment. Thus, futurism was a celebration of the machine age, glorifying war and favoring the growth of fascism. Futurist painting and sculpture were especially concerned with expressing movement and the dynamics of natural and man-made forms. Some of these ideas, including the use of modern materials and techniques, were taken up later by Marcel Duchamp (French, 1887-1968), as well as by the Cubists, and the Constructivists.

Friday
Jan292010

A Work of Futurism...PLUS!

Gino Severini, Abstract Rhythm of Madame M.S., c. 1915, oil on canvas, 83x65 cm, Mizne-Blumental Collection, Tel Aviv Museum of Art

The Museum of Tel Aviv holds numerous works by important Italian artists, several of which are presently on exhibit there. Gino Severini is represented by one of his famous Futurist paintings from c. 1915, featured here. Severini (1883-1996) was an Italian painter, born in Cortona. In 1901 he moved to Rome, where he met painters Umberto Boccioni and Giacomo Balla (who gave him lessons in Divisionism). Severini moved to Paris in 1906, and forged friendships with such figures as Picasso, Apollinaire, and Max Jacob. While living in Paris, however, he remained in close contact with his Italian associates, and joined the Futurist movement in 1910 . Although much of his Futurist work remains influenced by Divisionism, from c. 1912 forward his work also shows a strong awareness of Cubism, a movement he highly recommended to his fellow Futurists. Futurism developed primarily in Italy, in around 1910. Its objective was to express the energy and values of the machine age.