Stoppenback and Delestre, London;
Private Collection, United Kingdom
Gino Severini was born on 7th April, 1883, in Cortona, Italy. He studied at the Scuola Tecnica in Cortona before moving to Rome in 1899, where he attended art classes at the Villa Medici. By 1901 Severini had met Umberto Boccioni, who had also recently arrived in Rome, and who would later would be one of the theoreticians of Futurism. Together, they visited the studio of Giacomo Balla, where they were introduced to painting with “divided” rather than mixed colour. After settling in Paris in November 1906, Severini studied Impressionist painting and met the Neo-Impressionist Paul Signac.
Severini moved to Paris in 1906 and studied Impressionist painting and would become friends with Neo-Impressionist Paul Signac. He would later make the acquaintance of most of the Parisian avant-garde such Georges Braque, Juan Gris, and Amedeo Modigliani. He also came to know the French actor and director Lugné-Poë and his theatrical circle as well as the poets Guillaume Apollinaire, Paul Fort, and Max Jacob. After joining the Futurist movement at the invitation of Filippo Tommaso Marinetti and Boccioni, Severini signed the Manifesto tecnico della pittura futurista of April 1910, along with Balla, Boccioni, Carlo Carrà, and Luigi Russolo. However, Severini was less attracted to the subject of the machine than his fellow Futurists and frequently chose the form of the dancer to express Futurist theories of dynamism in art.
Severini helped to organize in 1912 the first Futurist exhibition at Galerie Bernheim-Jeune in Paris and participated in subsequent Futurist shows in Europe and the United States. In 1912, solo exhibitions of his works were also held at the Marlborough Gallery, London, and Der Sturm, Berlin. During the Futurist period, Severini acted as an important link between artists in France and Italy. After his last truly Futurist works—a series of paintings on war themes—Severini painted in a Synthetic Cubist mode, and by 1920 he was applying theories of classical balance based on the Golden Section to figurative subjects from the traditional commedia dell’arte.
After 1920, Severini divided his time between Paris and Rome. He explored fresco and mosaic techniques and executed murals in various mediums in Switzerland, France and Italy. In the 1950s, he returned to the subjects of his Futurist years: dancers, light, and movement. Throughout his career, Severini published important theoretical essays and books on art. Severini died on 26 February in Paris.