Futurist Photography for Sale

the deLIGHTed eye: Modernist Masterworks from a Private Collection
Christie’s (New York) – April 4, 2013

fortunato_depero_message_with_self_portraits_1915_d5657822hFORTUNATO DEPERO (1892-1960)

Message with Self Portraits, 1915

3 gelatin silver prints and postage-stamped, handcolored envelope
Each with credit by the artist in red/black ink/watercolor (on the recto) and (on the primary mount); each with handcoloring and/or credit annotations in Italian in red/black ink/watercolor (on the reverse of the primary mount); accompanying envelope with annotation ‘Carra Milano Corso Venezia -61-‘ in red/black ink/watercolor (on the recto)

*Trained as a painter, Fortunato Depero joined the Futurist movement in 1915, six years after Marinetti issued its first Manifesto in Paris. Depero quickly abandoned painting for photography, however, and sent his Message with Self Portraits, one of his first photographic statements, to his fellow Futurist, the painter Carlo Carrà.

Always interested in connecting images with states of mind, Depero used each of his three self portraits to express Anger, Worry and Laughter, three attitudes to be adopted when dealing with the fast pace of the modern world.

Depero’s message is an exuberant illustration of Marinetti’s art-life-action formula, as well as incorporating the artist’s ideas about ‘free words’ where text becomes an object or may even emit sounds depending on the way it is written, colored or remodeled. Depero, who became a gifted typographer, energized his words with bold printing, clever placement and use of strongly contrasting black and red color washes. Despite the great popularity of photography with many of these second generation Futurists, their work is now extremely scarce and very rarely offered at auction.

Estimate: $50,000 – $70,000 REALIZED: $159,750

Provenance:
The collection of Giovanni Lista;
Sotheby’s, New York, Italian Futurist Photographs, November 9, 1982, lot 24

Literature:

Lista, Photographie Futuriste Italienne 1911-1939, Musée d’art moderne de la Ville de Paris, 1981; Modernist Masterworks to 1925 from ‘the deLIGHTed eye’, A Private Collection, International Center of Photography, New York, 1985, p. 8

Exhibited:

Photographie Futuriste Italienne 1911-1939, Musée d’art moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris, 29 October 1981-3 January 1982; Modernist Masterworks to 1925 from ‘the deLIGHTed eye’, A Private Collection, International Center of Photography, New York, May 15-June 16, 1985

anton_giulio_bragaglia_salutando_1911_d5657823hANTON GIULIO BRAGAGLIA (1889-1963)

Salutando, 1911

Gelatin silver print
Signed in white ink (on the recto); ‘Foto Bragaglia Roma’ credit stamp (on the verso)

*Another print of this image is in the Bokelberg Collection in Zürich.

Estimate: $60,000 – $80,000 REALIZED: $135,750

Provenance:
The collection of Giovanni Lista;
Sotheby’s, New York, Italian Futurist Photographs, November 9, 1982, lot 13

Literature:
Lista, Photographie Futuriste Italienne 1911-1939, Musée d’art moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris, 1981; Modernist Masterworks to 1925 from ‘the deLIGHTed eye’, A Private Collection, International Center of Photography, New York, 1985, p. 4; Happy Birthday Photography: Bokelberg Sammlung, Kunsthaus Zürich, 1989, cat. no. 100, there titled Saluto Fotodinamica Futurista.

Exhibited:
Photographie Futuriste Italienne 1911-1939, Musée d’art moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris, October 29, 1981-January 3, 1982; Modernist Masterworks to 1925 from ‘the deLIGHTed eye’, A Private Collection, International Center of Photography, New York, May 15-June 16, 1985

fedele_azari_aerial_view_of_lake_maggiore_1925_d5657824hFEDELE AZARI (1895-1930)

Aerial View of Lake Maggiore, 1925

Gelatin silver print
Blindstamped ‘F. Azari Photo Reportage Milano’ (on the recto)

*A member of the second generation of Futurists after the First World War, Fedele Azari was a pioneering practitioner of ‘l’Aerofotografica’, as well as a key figure in the ‘Aeropittore Futurista’ movement that followed.

One of several photographs that Azari took from his light plane over Lake Maggiore, the Cruz image powerfully conveys the photographer’s excitement of seeing the landscape from such a lofty vantage point. Fellow Futurist Marinetti was equally thrilled after his first flight in 1918, writing that ‘I feel in my veins the true Dionysian intoxication at the conquest of the azure.’

Azari committed suicide in 1930, cutting short a promising career and therefore making his prints extraordinarily rare.

Estimate: $25,000 – $35,000

Provenance:

The collection of Giovanni Lista;
Sotheby’s, New York, Italian Futurist Photographs, November 9, 1982, lot 7

Literature:
Lista, Photographie Futuriste Italienne 1911-1939, Musée d’art moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris, 1981

Exhibited:

Photographie Futuriste Italienne 1911-1939, Musée d’art moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris, 29 October 1981-3 January 1982

 

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