Giacomo Balla (Turin 1871 – Rome 1958), Blue Grotto’s peaches
Oil on panel cm 39 x 48 datable to 1946 about signed (BALLA) upper left, with original frame cm 51 x 60. On the back: PESCHE DELLA \ GROTTA AZZURRA \ DI G.BALLA VIA OSLAVIA 39 \ ROMA
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Provenance: Giacomo Balla, Rome. Sig.ra Giuseppina Orsini, Rome . Eredi Orsini, Rome.
Bibliography. E. Balla, Con Balla, Multhipla Edizioni, Milano 1986, vol. III, pag. 252.
Giacomo Balla is in Rome when he writes in a memo from 1900: «Simplicity is the basis of beauty according to which it is always produced by the perfect truth of the elements, and all great works are manifested by very simple technical means. The complete painter who loves the eternal truth in the expression of NATURE, when he is pictorially influenced by it, the transmission currents are naively devoid of any school, method, rule, manner, etc. and I am verginally sincere, NATE only because they have found the data very special senses or nerves scrupulously suited to artistic creations».
In this period Balla analyzes the trees of Villa Borghese with a divisionist spirit, experimenting with futuristic analysis the running of the girl on the balcony or the flight of the swifts or the car running in via Nazionale; with the forms of “Feu d’artifice” (for the Russian Dances, Rome 1917) he returns to study the nature modified by the sensations of his state of mind, interprets the light that radiates from the center in the paintings of the Balfiori to create an art pure in absolute realism.
«Animals, plants, seas, mountains, sky, earth, seasons, countries, cold climates and heat, joyful and sad days, etc. in short, everything becomes art – NEW – immutable », writes the painter born in Turin at the beginning of the Twentieth century, always attentive to everyday reality, almost with an intonation of neo-realism. Balla paints his NEW unchanging art: the city that advances from the bank of the Tiber like the pines of Villa Borghese, the Pears of Colonna on the table at home resting on the table where we now find the peaches.
As in this table: protagonists five peaches from Capri: three inside the plate and two on the green table with a knife and fork, behind the left the empty transparent glass. Everything is placed on top of the “usual” square table present in many live natures painted by Balla during the last years spent in his Roman house in Via Oslavia: in particular, in the archive edited by the writer, are listed several works with a similar composition with the table, the placemat and the white curtain in the background. Again, we now have the blue velvet in the background: they are living natures, as Elica tells us in bringing back the definition of the father regarding the theme of “still life”.
The work comes from Mrs. Giuseppina Orsini, to whom Giacomo Balla made a portrait in 1946. Elica Balla writes in her third volume dedicated to her father: “There is still a portrait to be done: Mrs Orsini in full light from the window that lights up his beautiful arm and face; Giuseppina Orsini a bit ‘haughty and melancholy lends itself to an effect so original in which it turns out its very clear skin on the velvet blue suit. My father is passionate about making that contrast of light and shadow and works conversing with the lady we have known for many years. Kind and educated she admires Balla’s art as well as her husband, they bought a picture of roses and my father painted velvety peaches with the bleu background that the lady lent for this work “(pp. 251-252).