Thursday, January 16, 2020

Giacomo Balla, Former Futurist

Not long ago I wrote about Giacomo Balla (1871–1958), the Italian Futurist painter.

I noted that: "Hard-core Futurism and other 1900-1914 modernist movements had lost much of their fizz by 1920, and Balla's style drifted back towards conventional representation by the 1930s."

Since then, thanks to a publication related to this exhibit, I discovered that Balla formally broke his ties with Futurism in the mid-1930s. Some digging around the Internet revealed that he had been painting representational images in the early 1920s along with his Futurist output. It seems that he justified his 1930s work as being inspired by cinema, fashion photography, and other ways of depicting the modern age, analogous to what Futurism initially had done. More likely, he simply might have seen Futurism as something of a dead-end, finding representation more interesting, and came up with an excuse.

Below are examples of his post-1920 representational work.


Chiacchierì - 1934
This image, "Chatting," was in my post cited above. The subject is Balla's daughter Luce. Many of his representational paintings were of Luce and her sister Elica.

Veli rosa (Luce) - 1922
Luce would have been about 18 years old at the time, if the date is correct.

Ritratto femminile - c. 1922
Sketchy portrait of an unidentified woman.

Autocaffe - 1929
Self-portrait similar to the one he had submitted to the Uffizi gallery in Florence.

Fanciulla iridescente
Fanciulla was the subject of several Balla paintings, but I don't know if she was a hired model or held some other status.

La Figlia del sole - 1933
"Daughter of the Sun" -- in this case, Balla's daughter Luce.

Colorluce - 1933
Luce again.

Andiamo che è tardi - 1934
"Let's go, it's late" is a rough translation. That might be Luce at the left.

Le quatttro stazioni in rosso (Autunno) - 1940
"The Four Seasons in Red (Autumn)." One of a series of four paintings.

Ritratto di Elica Balla - 1947
Balla's younger daughter at about age 33. Both became artists.

Photo of Balla and his family, 1936. This was near the time he broke with Futurism, and both Futurist and representational paintings can be seen.

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