Mario Sironi

The Syphon

1916

Artist
Mario Sironi 1885–1961
Medium
Gouache and printed paper on paper
Dimensions
Support: 457 x 419 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Presented by Mr and Mrs Eric Estorick 1952
Reference
N06042

Not on display

Display caption

Sironi was associated with the first generation of Futurists who gathered in Milan before the First World War. They relished the complex experience of modern life, the speed of modern transport and the latest innovations of technology. This collage brings together typical objects that would have been found in a café at the time: a newspaper, glass and syphon. The fragmentary pieces of real newspaper carry reports from the front lines, introducing a dark counterpoint to the congenial atmosphere of the café.

Gallery label, August 2004

Catalogue entry

Mario Sironi 1885-1961

N06042 The Syphon 1916

Inscribed 'SIRONI' b. towards r.
Gouache and papier collé on paper, 18 x 16 1/2 (45 x 41)
Presented by Mr and Mrs Eric Estorick 1952
Prov: Mr and Mrs Eric Estorick, London (purchased from the artist)
Lit: Agnoldomenico Pica, Mario Sironi (Milan 1955), p.53

The artist was reported by the Galleria Il Milione in a letter of May 1953 as saying that he thought this was executed in the first months of 1915, but the newspaper cutting used in the collage was taken from the 11 June 1916 issue of the Corriere della Sera of Milan.

On the back is the left-hand section of a design for a canal or lock system drawn in plan and elevation, and with several short inscriptions of a technical kind. Sironi had studied civil engineering at Rome University for a year in his youth, before deciding to devote himself to painting.

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.689, reproduced p.689