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Futurism Catalogue

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Catalogue I did for the Futurism project.

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Page 1: Futurism Catalogue
Page 2: Futurism Catalogue
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Art and design is where it is today because of

its past. Without daring experiments, the pushing of

boundaries, the breaking of rules and the ability to

think critically and conceptually, the art of art would

have faded with time. Like anything else, art has

evolved. It changes with time, people, culture and

situations and although some may disagree there

is no wrong way to create it. Art is expression and

expression is volatile and limitless. Art demonstrates

that every single one of us sees the world differently

and that beauty truly lies in the eye of the beholder.

Futurism is no exception. In the bigger picture

of art Futurism is often overlooked and forgotten

simply because it lacks the fame that some of the

other “isms” have. However, it deserves the proper

recognition because its ideals introduced a new way

of thinking and its artists were heavy influences on

later forms of art such as Suprematism and Con-


Futurism came about during a time of dras-

tic change. Europe and North America were in the

middle of an industrial revolution. The idea of mass

production and the use of heavy machinery to per-

form difficult tasks was becoming a reality. It was a

time of fear, rejection, shock, upheaval and war. The

world was moving faster than it was a decade earlier

and many people rejected the change. Futurism

embraced the change. Futurists were fascinated with

the idea of speed, motion, rhythm and the growth

of the city. They supported the rejection of the past,

the acceptance of the future and the idea that war

was a good way to solve problems and clean up

the world. Futurism often illustrated the turmoil of

change that was occurring, the battle between man

and machine. It also was another stepping stone

toward non-objective art and the idea that emotion

could be expressed through line and color.

This exhibit features ten Futurist painters. Five

of them are Russian women and five of them are

Italian men. This group of artists demonstrates how

different expression can be between gender and

culture. All of these artists are classified as Futurists,

however they all have a different style and view. Al-

though Futurism is not as well known as some other

stylistic movements, it is imperative we remember it

and learn from it. It is part of the chain reaction that

got us to where we are today and it deserves to be

recognized as so.

-Annmarie Barlow


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Alexandra ExterNatalia GoncharovaLiubove PopovaOlga RozanovaNadezhda Udaltsova

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Alexandra Exter was born in the Ukraine and

grew up in Kiev. She also attended art school in Kiev

and although she moved around a lot in her life she

always returned there. The city of Kiev was a large

influence on Exter’s work. Throughout her life there

Exter developed a love for Ukranian folk culture,

which she studied, promoted and even exhibited.

In the fall of 1907 Exter went to Paris. At the

time, Cubism was becoming a notable style and Ex-

ter recognized its potential. She had the opportunity

to meet artists Picasso and Braque. In her encounters

with Braque and Picasso Exter discovered partial

answers to problems surrounding the relationship

between surface and volume, form and texture and

composition and rhythm. However, Exter did not

agree with how Cubists used color.

Color was extremely important to her Exter’s

work. Exter did not introduce the term “Cubo-Futur-

ism” and was not even around Russia when the term

was coined. Nevertheless Exter utilized “Cubo-Futur-

ism” and tried to adapt it to the demands of Russian

art. At the time Russian art leaned toward the artis-

tic styles of Gleizes, Metzinger and Le Fauconnier.

Therefore Exter’s art became a mixture of Cubism

and Futurism combined with Russian and Ukrainian

subject matter.

Although Exter acknowledged the value of Ital-

ian Futurism, she did not fully embrace its doctrine.

Exter was not interested in the “vehicle hurtling

through space that so fascinated Boccioni and his

colleagues”. Exter’s work is characteristic of explo-

sive color and dynamic movement, yet her paintings

do not feel chaotic. Instead, her paintings feel like

careful arrangements of form and color based off of

aesthetic principals.

In Still-Life with Eggs we see that careful ar-

rangement and Exter’s love for Ukrainian folklore.

There is the spirit of folk murals, traditional em-

broideries and Easter table decorations painted in

a non-objective Futurist manner. Exter also heavily

influenced the art of stage and costume design by

bringing Cubism into the discipline of theater.

Ester was more than an artist; she was an

inventor, a discoverer, an intellectual and a teacher.

She was not afraid to go looking for new things

but never forgot where she came from. She will be

remembered not only for her art but also for her

versatility and ambition.

Page 6: Futurism Catalogue


Natalia Sergeevna Goncharova was born on

June 21, 1881 in the village of Nagaevo. Her father

was an architect and her immediate family was well

educated. Growing up, Goncharova was educated by

her mother and grandmother. When Goncharova was

twelve she attended the Fourth Women’s Gymna-

sium until she graduated in 1898. Goncharova tried

several different career paths including history, zool-

ogy, botany and medicine. She eventually decided

to become a sculptor and she attended the Moscow

Institute of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture in

the fall of 1901.

Spending time in both the country and city,

Goncharova was torn between the two. The contra-

diction between the fast paced urban life of Moscow

and the slow simple life of the country was a heavy

influence on Goncharova’s work. Goncharova’s early

work with pastels and painting reflect the rural

environment of her family’s countryside estate. She

was most intrigued by the peasants and servant’s

daily activities.

Goncharova had training in the visual arts at

both the art institute and in independent studios.

She withdrew from the Moscow Institute in 1909.

However, she completed the studio exercises she

would have needed to finish her schooling at the

Moscow Institute. While at the Moscow Institute

she met Larionov who became her most influential

instructor and eventually her husband many years

later. Larionov showed Goncharova the advent-garde

exhibitions organized in Moscow.

Goncharova’s work as whole incorporated both

Eastern and Western traditions and it initiated mul-

tiple movements and manifestos including Cubo-Fu-

turism. The Cyclist is oil on canvas done in 1913 and

it is regarded as a very conventional Futurist painting

in both Goncharova’s body of work as a whole and in

Russian art of the early 1900s. It has typical Futur-

ist features such as repetition, displacement of the

shapes of the figure and the injection of fragmented

street signs. It differs from Italian Futurism because

the composition of the painting is both horizontally

and vertically balanced.

Goncharova was extremely influential artist in

not only Russian Futurism, but also in Russian Art

because she was more than just an artist of her time.

Her ideals and aesthetics were carried on and her

work is still honored and admired today.

Page 7: Futurism Catalogue


Liubove Popova grew up in a well-educated mer-

chant family. Popova always had a strong interest in

art and particularly Italian Renaissance painting. Her

interest in Italian Renaissance painting is seen in her

abstract paintings from 1916 to 1917. Renaissance

characteristics in her abstract paintings include a

highly accurate sense of up and down, frontal focus

in the structure of form, and close attention to fore-

ground and/or surface. The center of Popova’s com-

position is often fixed and relationships are defined

by proportion. One of the most impressive attributes

of Popova’s work was the way she combined the

style of Russian art with the style of Italian Renais-

sance painting.

At the same time she visited St. Petersburg to

study Italian Renaissance painting she also visited

the ancient cities of Russia including Kiev, No-

vogorod, Pskov, Yaroslavl, Rostov and Suzdal. After

studying both styles of art, Popova discovered, using

her own logic based off of color contrast and numer-

ical relationships, that the art of Old Russia and Ital-

ian Renaissance painting shared classical logic on an

abstract level. Popova was inspired by not only the

common logic, but also the religious subject matter,

the wooden boards on which the art was painted,

nature and the human figure. The human figure and

nature underwent rigorous transformations in her

work. However, Popova’s method changed after she

saw Cubo-Futurist paintings such as Malevich’s The

Knife-Grinder and Goncharova’s The Bicyclist.

Popova was extremely interested in the way

those two paintings conflicted two different forms

of energy and combined the perception of the object

with its environment. She began to experiment with

abstract patterns and rhythms and created her on

Cubo-Futurist works. In Popova’s Cubo-Futurist

works we see an adequate balance between the

“centrifugal” and the “centripetal”. These paintings

also demonstrate an agreement between body, ob-

ject and negative space, which set them apart from

French Cubism.

The Pianist demonstrates the difference in

interpretation of Cubist form and space between the

Russians and the French. The Pianist has a fron-

tal view of the face while the hand is shown from

the side and the keyboard is shown from above.

Popova’s work eventually evolved into a Supremist/

Constructivist style in the same way the Malevich’s

did. However her work maintained the “centrifugal”

and “centripetal” nature that was characteristic of

Cubo-Futurism. Popova’s work changed several

times in her life and her diverse body of work stands

today as a reflection of her versatility as both an art-

ist and a person.

Page 8: Futurism Catalogue




Giacomo BallaUmberto BocciniCarlo CarraLuigi RussoloGino Severini

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Giacomo Balla was a Futurist but his work

belongs in a category all its own. He was ahead of

his time experimenting with artificial light and its

association with machinery, an attribute that would

become symbolic of Futurism style. In his work we

see everything from pictorial components to the

introduction of an abstract language, all under the

category of Futurism.

Balla was not affected nor inspired by Cub-

ism, nor was he interested in the conflict between

man and machine. He was strictly concerned with

“presenting one fragmented episode in a continuum

of motion. He concentrated on how a dachshund

scurries, a violinist plays and a girl runs”. In his work

you see “units of progression” used to illustrate the

particular activity. Balla was very precise in determin-

ing which elements needed to be repeated and over-

lapped to express “motor activity”. He had a much

more “sensory” approach to imitating force lines as

opposed to an emotional or intellectual one.

Force lines were a standard of Futurism that

Balla had not fully accepted. Patriotic Demonstration,

one of his interventionist paintings of 1915 “brought

a new abstract language to the service of the Futur-

ist desire to capture the simultaneity of everyday

life focused on political aspirations”. Girl Running

on Balcony illustrates Balla’s studies on “how light

dematerializes bodies in action”. The blocks of color

poured over the surface give the painting a mosaic

look. Here we see Balla’s style of repeated fragments

with a serious of repeating heads, legs, railing and

skits. The color blocks distract the viewer from notic-

ing the precise position of the girl’s sprint. Every-

thing that is happening in this scene is occurring

simultaneously, there is no elapsed time. However,

this is contradictory because we as the viewer know

that this event took place over a period of time. As

a result, Balla creates a “generalized space, neither

illusively deep nor palpably flat, lacking planes yet

avoiding openness”.

Balla never fully accepted all the fundamentals

of Futurism but rather molded the fundamentals

of Futurism to meet his stylistic needs. This ability

allowed him to push the boundaries of Futurism as

both a style and a way of thinking.

Page 10: Futurism Catalogue


Umberto Boccioni is often associated with and

known for his sculptures. However, his sculptures,

although beautiful and impressive, were not his only

contribution to Futurism. His triptych States of Mind

is among his body of work as a Futurist painter.

States of Mind shown at the first Futurist exhibi-

tion in Paris in 1912 alongside seven other pieces

by Boccioni. The intention of these pieces was to

illustrate the feeling and movement of a crowd using

non-objective shapes. They were done in a Neo-

Impressionistic style. The pieces play off the Futurist

fundamental of simultaneity. Boccioni “renewed

the Futurist enterprise: it was no longer a matter of

merely depicting the speed of a machine or the ef-

fects of light, but of transcribing the movements of

the soul at the heart of a separation punctuated by

three related circumstances”.

The three circumstances that are referred to are

The Farewells, Those Who Go and Those Who Stay,

each one painted on a separate canvas. The railway

station, he train and the journey are all Futurist

themes that show the interaction of man and the

mechanized world. These themes also evoke the

bittersweet emotions associated with leaving. After

the exhibition in Paris, Boccioni painted the second

rendition of States of Mind in a much more Futurism

style. In his second set of paintings there were force

lines and “dynamic compenetration of planes”. How-

ever, there is still implied movement. In his second

version of The Farewells Boccioni created volumes

that appeared to revolve and outline the space oc-

cupied by a couple embracing, the presence of a

sitting locomotive and the heart-wrenching feeling

that often comes with saying goodbye.

In the second versions of both Those Who Go

and Those Who Stay there is a blanket of lines in the

forground creating “prismatic” forms, which hide

the characters. In Those Who Go the diagonal blue

lines produce motion traveling from left to right.

We see the dim lights inside the railway car and the

city fading into the distance through a window. The

painted faces are those of sleeping passengers, and

their expressions reflect sadness. Those Who Stay

is almost monochromatic. The static nature of the

figures is expressed through the use of vertical lines.

The string of figures stretches from the bottom left

corner to the top right indicating the perspective of a

person riding away on the train.

Boccioni’s sculptural contributions to Futur-

ism were masterpieces and were very influential to

the style as a whole. However, one cannot forget

Boccioni’s paintings and his ability to express a vast

array of emotions on a single canvas.

Page 11: Futurism Catalogue


Nadezhda Udaltsova was surrounded by a lot of

tragedy in her life. Her mother died when she was

twenty-seven, her father was killed by the Bolsheviks

and her husband was killed also. The only thing

that kept Udaltsova going was her passion for art.

Udaltsova was born in 1885. In 1995 at the age of

twenty she enrolled in the art school of Konstantin

Yuon and Ivan Dudin. A few years later in 1908

Udaltsova visited the Shchukin collection. In that

same year she attempted to get into the Moscow

Institute of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, but

was not accepted. The following year Udaltsova stud-

ied at La Palette in Paris under the direction of Henri

Le Fauconnier, Kean Metzinger and Andre Dunoyer

de Segonzac. At La Palette Udaltsova studied the

“grammar” of Cubism.

She returned to Moscow in 1914 at the age of

29 where she debuted with fellow Russian Futurist,

Liubov Popova, at an exhibition in Moscow called

Jack of Diamonds. Udaltsova’s education in Cubism

helped her tremendously and she accepted Cubism

as a new way of thinking, making and interpreting

art. Udaltsovas treatment of space in her paintings

from 1914-1915 sometimes resembled beehives.

She stood close by her aesthetic principles. The

Restaurant for example shows Udaltsova’s ability

to incorporate form and lettering, light and shade

and relief and plane without sacrificing the

art of painting.

Although Udaltsova was a Russian artist, the

art of painting which was a European tradition,

remained very important to her throughout her

career. She painted in terms of precise, conceptual,

immense compositions. Udaltsova dwelled in Russia

for the majority of her life, but her love for European

art shows heavily in her work. A particular European

style that Udaltstova was receptive to was French

Cubism. Restaurant is an example of Udaltsova’s

Russian Cubo-Futurism work. However, it is said that

Restaurant has a “distinctive fan-shaped composi-

tion, echoing the volumetric-spatial structures of

Cubism”. Restaurant also has fragmented text, which

is “introduced into the painting with the intention of

evoking a series of sensations associated with life,

noise, pulse and constantly changing impressions of

a large city “. These attributes are characteristic of

Italian Futurism once again we see Udaltsova’s love

and admiration for European art.

Page 12: Futurism Catalogue