Artist biography

Giacomo Balla 1871-1958

Italian Futurist painter, sculptor and designer. Born in Turin, son of a chemist and amateur photographer. Largely self-taught as an artist, except for studying at evening classes and for two months at the Albertina Academy. Moved in 1895 to Rome where he spent most of his life. His early works were portraits, landscapes and caricatures, partly influenced by the Italian Divisionists, whose humanitarian socialist theories he shared. Visited Paris 1900-1 and on return taught both Severini and Boccioni. Became increasingly interested in painting aspects of modern industrialised life. Signed the Technical Manifesto of Futurist Painting in 1910, but took no active part in the movement until 1912. Then rapidly became one of the most original and inventive of the Futurist painters, exploring plastic equivalents for motion, in which he adopted the serial images of cinephotography, and the dynamic expression of velocity in machine forms. After the war assumed leadership of the movement, whose centre shifted from Milan to Rome. First one-man exhibition at the Casa d'Arte Bragaglia, Rome, 1918. From 1931 reverted to an Impressionist-figurative style. Died in Rome.

Published in:
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, p.29