Carlo Carra (1881-1966)
Carlo Carra (1881-1966)

Studio per La donna al balcone

Carlo Carra (1881-1966)
Studio per La donna al balcone
signed and dated 'C.D. CARRA 912' (lower right)
pencil on paper laid down on canvas
16¾ x 13 3/8 in. (42.5 x 34 cm.)
Drawn in 1912
Massimo Carrà, Milan.
Anon. sale, Sotheby's, London, 30 November 1994, lot 168.
Anon. (acquired at the above sale); sale, Christie's, London, 21 October 2003, lot 1.
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.
P. Bigongiari, L'opera completa di Carrà, dal futurismo alla metafisica e al realismo mitico 1910-1930, Milan, 1970, p. 88, no. 29a (illustrated).
M. Carrà and F. Russoli, Carrà Disegni, Bologna, 1977, p. 133, no. 55 (illustrated).
Boccioni 1912 Materia, exh. cat., Fondazione Mazzotta, Milan, 1995, p. 263 (illustrated).
Newcastle, Hatton Gallery and Edinburgh, Royal Scottish Academy, Italian Futurism, 1909-1919, November 1972-January 1973, no. 76.
Hanover, Kestner-Gesellschaft, Carlo Carrà, Zeichnungen, February-March 1981, pp. 42 and 141, no. 7 (illustrated in color, p. 43).

Lot Essay

Executed in 1912, Studio per La donna al balcone is a highly finished drawing for one of the finest of Carrà's early Futurist paintings (fig. 1). The works from this period reveal Carrà beginning to develop his own unique visual idiom. Impregnating Cubism with a dynamism of motion in order to create a true Futurist style, Carrà was now able to convey movement through a picture, adding time as a fourth represented dimension where Cubism had limited itself to three. The degree of care he has taken in this study gives some indication of the importance he attached to his innovations during this period.

Even after his initial participation in the Futurist movement, Carrà had retained much of the Divisionist style that had previously developed in his painting. However, in order to broaden his horizons, he was sent to Paris in 1911 by Filippo Marinetti, the founder and leader of the movement. This trip was intended as a means of acquainting the Futurists with the French avant-garde--and vice versa. Indeed, Paris made more of an impact on the Futurists than the Futurists on Paris, and Carrà would return the next year, and many times after. Cubism, which was still an absolute visual revolution, kindled in Carrà an intense interest in the potentials of representation. Rather than merely become a Cubist, Carrà adapted Cubism's innovations and bent them to his own uses. Studio per La donna al balcone shows a vague Cubist flavor, especially in its use of the contrast between the near subject and the space stretching behind it. This is reminiscent of the compositional explorations of the Cubists, who often presented the viewer with a still life in the foreground, with a background punctuated by a window or door, adding another dimension to the space. However, Carrà gives a sense of movement, of motion, that has little to do with the still life paintings and portraits produced at this time by Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso.

(fig 1.) Carlo Carrà, Simultaneità--La donna al balcone, 1912. Private collection. Barcode 29175925

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