Festival a Montmartre (1913)

Severini, Gino (1883-1966)

Festival a Montmartre (Festival in Montmartre)
Oil on canvas, 88.9 × 116.2 cm
Art Institute of ChicagoChicago

Gino Severini was a member of the Futurists, a group of Italian artists that announced its existence with a manifesto published in 1909 on the front page of Le Figaro. The Futurists urged others to ignore the past and focus on the aesthetic power of modern life. Their paintings celebrate modernity—the speed, thrill, and especially the danger of factories, airplanes, automobiles, locomotives, and steamships. Their style blended Divisionism and Cubism to render “dynamic sensation” and the interpenetration of objects and their environment by superimposing different chromatic planes and lines of force. Severini’s work focused on Parisian entertainments, nightlife, and street activities. In Festival in Montmartre, he depicted the centrifugal motion of a carousel and the liberating, yet destabilizing, effects of color, speed, and sound. The artist presented this work in his first solo exhibition in 1913, writing in the catalogue, “My object has been to convey the sensation of a body, lighted by electric lamps and gyrating in the darkness of the boulevard. The shapes of the pink pigs and of the women seated on them are subordinate the whole, the rotary movement of which they follow while undergoing displacement from head to foot and vice versa.” (AIC)

See also:

• Montmartre | Paris (France)