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Giacomo Balla

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Giacomo Balla (July 24, 1871 - March 1, 1958) was an Italian painter.

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Giacomo Balla

Born in Turin, in the Piedmont region of Italy, the son of an industrial chemist, as a child Giacomo Balla studied music. However, by age twenty his interest in art was such that he decided to study painting at local academies and exhibited several of his early works. Following academic studies at the University of Turin, Balla moved to Rome in 1895 where he met and married Elisa Marcucci. For several years he worked in Rome as an illustrator and caricaturist as well as doing portraiture. In 1899 his work was shown at the Venice Biennale and in the ensuing years his art was on display at major Italian exhibitions in Rome and Venice, in Munich, Berlin and Düsseldorf in Germany as well as at the Salon d'Automne in Paris and at galleries in Rotterdam in the Netherlands.

Influenced by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, Giacomo Balla adopted the Futurism style, creating a pictorial depiction of light, movement and speed. He was signatory to the Futurist Manifesto in 1910 and began designing and painting Futurist furniture and also created Futurist "antineutral" clothing. In painting, his new style is demonstrated a the 1912 work titled Dynamism of a Dog on a Leash. Seen here, is his 1914 work titled Abstract Speed + Sound (Velocità astratta + rumore). In 1914, he also began sculpting and the following year created perhaps his best known sculpture called Boccioni's Fist.

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Abstract Speed + Sound by Balla

During World War I Balla's studio became the meeting place for young artists but by the end of the war the Futurist movement was showing signs of decline. Nevertheless, in the 1920s Giacomo Balla was still a commanding influence on young Futurist artists that helped keep the movement alive until the end of the decade. Balla and Fortunato Depero (1892-1960) were primarily responsible for the artistic development of Futurism in its post-war phase. Like many Futurist members who had politicized the movement and moved it towards Fascist ideals, Balla did too and would be forever stigmatized by this philosophy. By the 1930s, his art had moved towards abstraction and eventually into figuration. He continued to exhibit throughout Europe as well as in the United States and in 1935 was made a member of Rome's Accademia di San Luca.

Giacomo Balla died in Rome on the 6th of March, 1958. In 1988, Maurizio Fagiolo Dell'Arco, an author of books on the Futurists, published Balla:The Futurist.de:Giacomo Balla it:Giacomo Balla nl:Giacomo Balla sv:Giacomo Balla

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