Collectors and Futurists

Mario Sironi | telegraphist

Mario Sironi, telegraphist, 1926.

Collectors and Futurists

Collectors and Futurists. The centenary of Umberto Boccioni’s death has awakened great interest in this important 20th century artist, but also in Futurism.
2016 have already been characterized by a strong interest in the exhibition dedicated to Boccioni himself at the Palazzo Reale in Milan (to which I dedicated the post Boccioni. Genius and Memory), and in the tour of the exhibition at the Museo del Novecento (the Museum of the 20th century) in Milan devoted to the “pre-futurist” season.

Futurism was obstructed for decades by critics who labelled it as a fascist artistic movement, and it wasn’t a matter for the debate about contemporary art in the second post-war period.
In addition, Futurism was ignored by collectors for a long time.
In fact, Futurist artists always aligned themselves, were politically active, and a lot of them joined Fascism, as I touched on in the post about Futurism.
Futurism was re-discovered only in the 1970s, and since then works by Futurists have become desirable objects for a lot of people.

Gerardo Dottori | sunset

Gerardo Dottori, sunset, 1932.

To determine when an artist or an artistic movement goes back to be appreciated is always complex.
Maybe for Futurism the time was ripe in the late 1970s, or maybe everything changed thanks to an exhibition entitled “Futurismo e Futuristi” (“Futurism and Futurists”) arranged at the Palazzo Grassi in Venice in 1986.
Anyway, the interest has grown more and more over the years, and collectors and museums have gone on the hunt of works by Futurist artists. 

The pioneer in collecting Futurist works was certainly Peggy Guggenheim, and in the latest movie about her life (I watched the preview of the movie and I talked about it in the post Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addicted) she herself touches up her friendship with Severini and Balla.
In the 1970s it was Alfred Barr, the first director of the MoMA in New York, who purchased wonderful Futurist works, such as the famous “Città che sale” (“The City Rises”) by Umberto Boccioni, which Italian museums weren’t interested to buy.
A very important auction took place in 1990 at Sotheby’s in New York and the Malbin Collection was come up for auction.
Lydia Winston Malbin in the 1950s collected several Futurist works and nobody thought that launching them in the market would arouse so great interest, and, in fact, some records were established and remained unbeaten for a long time.

Most of the works by Futurist artists now belong to the most important museums in the world, but, because of the dynamism of the market, you might find works on sale at auction at a low starting price (starting price € 300).
If you’re curious and want to try to attend the world of auctions, which isn’t inaccessible as it may seem, you can go to Rome to visit an exhibition featuring some Futurist works which will be sold by auction.
On April 28th 2016 Minerva Auction will hold a Modern and Contemporary Art Action at the Palazzo Odescalchi in Rome.

Before the auction you can visit an exhibition without buying any admission ticket (april 23 – 27, 2016), where you can admire the over 400 lots that will be put up for auction, but especially paintings, silkscreen prints, drawings, and Indian ink drawings created by the protagonists of Futurism.
Among the artists on show you will find Gino Severini, Giacomo Balla, Carlo Carrà, Fortunato Depero, Gerardo Dottori, Mario Sironi, and Enrico Prampolini.

And maybe you can afford to make your dream come true and buy a work by Severini or by Balla.

Fortunato Depero

Fortunato Depero, RIM, 1924.

Gino Severini | Portrait

Gino Severini, Portrait of Monsieur Eugène Roux, 1936.

Giacomo Balla | Futurfarfalla

Giacomo Balla, Futurfarfalla n. 2.

April 28, 2016 – 11.00 a.m. and 15.00 p.m.
Exhibition: April 23 – 27, 2016. Rome


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