Giacomo Balla - The Great Wonderful: 100 Years of Italian Art New York Wednesday, May 13, 2015 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Casa Balla
    Galleria Gian Ferrari, Milan

  • Exhibited

    Edinburgh, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Balla the Futurist, June 6 - July 19, 1987, then traveled to London, Riverside Studios (August 26 - September 27, 1987), Oxford, Oxford Museum of Modern Art (October 25 - December 6, 1987)
    Milan, Palazzo Reale, Balla: La Modernità Futurista, February 15 - June 2, 2008
    Milan, Palazzo Reale, Futurismo 1909-2009: Velocità+Arte+Azione, February 6 - June 7, 2009

  • Literature

    Balla the Futurist, exh. cat., Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, 1987, p. 37
    Balla: La Modernità Futurista, exh. cat., Palazzo Reale, Milan, 2008, no. II 45, p. 108 (illustrated)
    Futurismo 1909-2009: Velocità+Arte+Azione, Palazzo Reale, Milan, 2009, no. 117 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    Born in 1871, Giacomo Bella was an early practitioner of Italian Futurism, a movement that sought to capture the energies of an increasingly mechanized society. In 1910, he was one of several artists to contribute to the Technical Manifesto of Futurist Painting. A veritable clarion call, it set out a program for aesthetic innovation in which motion was a central concern. With rhetorical bombast, the young artists proclaimed “the gesture which we would reproduce on canvas shall no longer be a fixed moment in universal dynamism. It shall simply be the dynamic sensation itself.” (Technical Manifesto of Futurist Painting, 1910)

    Balla’s work was integral to this project, and instrumental in developing a painterly vocabulary that could successfully apprehend and describe movement. Like many of his Futurist contemporaries, he often took vehicles as his subject. In his celebrated work Velocità astratta - l'auto è passata, 1913, a series of intersecting arches describe the path of a moving car. Linee di velocità dates from the same year as Velocità astratta - l'auto è passata and, although rendered in different media, shares its vitality. It too sees a flurry of activity: arches interlock, dynamic lines emerge, and space is displaced. Using charcoal, Balla deftly traces movement across the page. Yet, as is typical of his work, this energy tends towards the graceful; amidst sharp peaks, lines arc and curve. Written atop one such curve in the bottom left corner of the work is a signature that reads “FUTUR BALLA.” Here the artist proudly casts himself with a nascent movement, asserting the modernity of his composition. This energy has endured, and Linee di velocità remains a dynamic and striking work.


Linee di velocità

charcoal on paper
24 3/4 x 27 3/8 in. (63 x 69.5 cm)
Signed "FUTUR BALLA" and stamped with "Pugno di Boccioni" along the lower edge.

$450,000 - 550,000 

Sold for $545,000

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New York
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Carolina Lanfranchi
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The Great Wonderful: 100 Years of Italian Art

New York 13 May 2015 4pm