Giacomo Balla (Turin 1871 – Rome 1958), Spatial lines – study
Tempera on paper cm 10 x 10 datable to around 1920. Lower left: FUTUR BALLA (sic BALLA). The work presents an authentication/certification issued in 2003 by Elena Gigli, director of the Balla archive.
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Casa Balla (Agenda: n. 685 “Study for the painting Spatial lines tempera and pencil on white cm 9 x 9 signature lower left. Propriety prof. Enrico Fiorentino Rome”). Giuseppe Campaiola, Rome. Private collection.
Spatial lines that intersect each other in a play of yellow, pink and lilac colors: it is the theme that Balla analyzes and develops in this 1920 tempera. The subject is that of lines that outline the space composing itself according to the mentality of Pessimism and optimism or Sincere-False: struggle of two opposing forces and forces both necessary (for these masterpieces of the 1920s see List 1982 nn. 703, 889).
The work analyzed here is a small but complete study for the large oil “Space lines” of 1920 already exhibited by Balla in 1952 in Florence (Galleria delle Grazie) and subsequently to the great retrospective of 1963 in Turin (curated by E. Crispolti). Enrico Prampolini writes: “The fundamental character that Balla was able to reveal and impress on painting can be defined as a constructive summary of abstract plastic equivalents that identify themselves in a two-dimensional spatial-chromatic synthesis” (Introduction to the exhibition, Florence 1952). The delicate tempera comes from Casa Balla (number on the back) and belonged to Professor Enrico Fiorentino, doctor of the daughters Elica and Luce Balla.
Born in Turin in 1871, Balla was a painter, sculptor, scenographer and author of enormous importance, capable of guiding Italian artistic trends throughout the first half of the twentieth century. After being one of the first national protagonists of divisionism, Balla’s creative activity was attracted to the futurist movement, of which he soon became a prominent exponent. Together with Marinetti, he signed the posters that sanctioned their theoretical aspects, interpreted literally in the well-known painting “Dog on a leash”, now kept in the Goodyear collection in New York. As part of his adhesion to futurism, Balla became the artist of fascism par excellence. In 1933 he made Marcia su Roma, which tradition wants to have been commissioned by Mussolini himself. Subsequently, Balla moved away from futurist activities and was shelved from the official culture, remaining in the shadows until the recent revaluation of his art.