• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 12294

    Impressionist & Modern Art

    24 June 2016, London, South Kensington

  • Lot 8

    Gino Severini (1883-1966)

    Danseuse abstraite

    Price Realised  


    Gino Severini (1883-1966)
    Danseuse abstraite
    signed 'G.Severini' (lower right)
    tempera on card
    25 5/8 x 19 ¾ in. (65.3 x 50.2 cm.)
    Executed circa 1958

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    The gesture which we would reproduce on canvas shall no longer be a fixed moment in universal dynamism. It shall simply be the dynamic sensation itself.
    Technical Manifesto of Futurist Painting, 1910

    In the years preceding the First World War, the appearance of industrial cities, cars, planes radically altered established public notions of time and space. Simultaneously, the Futurist movement emerged in Italy, reflecting the development of these new technologies and their impact on society. This radical artistic premise would go on to have critical importance to the international avant-garde.

    It was Filippo Tommaso Marinetti (1876-1944) who gave birth and first defined the movement by publishing the Futurist Manifesto in February 1909 in La gazette dellEmilia and Le Figaro. His praise of the notions of progress, speed and patriotism rallied many artists, writers and architects who were inspired by his bold exclamations, “We want no part of it, the past, we the young and strong Futurists!”. In 1910, the Italian painters, Umberto Boccioni (1882-1916), Carlo Carrà (1881-1966), Luigi Russell (1885-1947), Giacomo Balla (1871-1958) and Gino Severini (1883-1966) published the Manifesto of the Futurist Painters where they called the Italians to embrace modernity, destroy academic formalism and “bear bravely and proudly the smear of “madness””. A month later, the Technical Manifesto of Futurist Painting is published to define the “renovation” of painting by which they call all artists to express the dynamic nature of movement as experienced in their environment. Futurist painters expressed these developments by creating compositions made up of of repeating images in multiple perspectives; by employing powerful diagonal lines; and in breaking down colour into fields of dots and short brushstrokes.

    On account of the persistency of an image upon the retina, moving objects constantly multiply themselves; their form changes like rapid vibrations, in their mad career. Thus a running horse has not four legs, but twenty, and their movement are triangular.
    Technical Manifesto of Futurist Painting, 1910

    The following three Futurist works can each be seen to align with different elements of this movement. Danseuse abstraite by Gino Severini (lot 8)was executed during the latter part of his life when the artist returned to practice Futurism. Fields of colour, alongside the energy of strong, dark, diagonal, lines, construct a tension and movement that enliven and electrify the composition into three dimensions, defying its inherently flat surface. From this work, which first appears abstract, emerges the form of a dancer, thus Severini not only succeeds in translating her motion but also articulates the complexity of her movement. Idrovolanti Savoia Marchetti by Giulio d’Anna (lot 7) and Composizione futurista by Carlo Carrà (lot 6) both depict a product of modern society, machinery and planes. The movement in the former is accentuated with the bright, contrasting, fields of colour, graduated within angular lines and planes characteristic of D’Anna’s artistic style. The latter, by Carrà from 1910, is a work representing the true inception of the movement, having been created within its founding year. Here we encounter a seminal work from the period, displaying the truly radical new ideas of the new Futurism through energetic and repetitive line in dynamic monochrome.

    Special Notice

    Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.


    The artist's estate.
    Gozzano collection, Rome.

    Pre-Lot Text



    D. Fonti, Gino Severini, Catalogo regionato, Milan, 1988, no. 977 (illustrated p. 566).