Lot 19
  • 19

GINO SEVERINI | Natura morta

400,000 - 600,000 GBP
586,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Gino Severini
  • Natura morta
  • signed G. Severini (lower right)
  • collage with corrugated card, pastel and crayon on paper laid down on board


Jean van Berchem, Geneva (acquired from the artist circa 1928; until at least 1976) Paolo Baldacci

Mario Valentino, Naples (acquired from the above in 1985)

Thence by descent to the present owner


Romont, Musée de Romont, Gino Severini en Suisse, 1974, no. 2 Dortmund, Museum am Ostwall, Gino Severini, 1976, no. 39 or 40

Alessandria, Palazzo Cuttica, Gino Severini, dal 1916 al 1936, 1987, no. 20, illustrated in colour in the catalogue


Gino Severini, prima e dopo l'opera (exhibition catalogue), Palazzi Casali, Cortona, 1983-84, fig. e, illustrated p. 33 (as dating from circa 1915) Daniela Fonti, Gino Severini, catalogo ragionato, Milan, 1988, no. 351, illustrated p. 291; illustrated in colour p. 338

Catalogue Note

A leader of Italian Futurism, Severini was living in Paris in 1912 when Pablo Picasso (fig. 1) and Georges Braque began to paste pieces of cut paper onto their Cubist works. These papier-collé or collage experiments were soon absorbed into the art historical narrative of Synthetic Cubism, a style which Severini was quick to adopt at the end of his Futurist period. In his series of collages, blocks of geometric forms overlap or are elided to construct still-life elements. In the present work a jug serving as a vase for daises - outlined against a vibrant blue - a glass, a newspaper and peaches are all set on an angular background, which can be read as an abstracted or schematised table or architectural setting. The subject is rendered through a range of materials: pieces of brown paper of various shades and textures, corrugated cardboard, black paper, all drawn upon with chalk and coloured crayons. The black paper is especially significant in its function to serve as a negative space, creating depth and contrast in the composition. The present work was executed in 1918, and during the same year Severini had a brief residence in Aix-les-Bains, where he was immediately struck by a decorative element and naïve elegance in his new home: 'in that home I had found the walls decorated with a special type of wallpaper that I enjoyed very much, giving me useful elements inspiring a few works. What had interested me the most of such wallpaper was the use, against a warm grey tone, of small black dots and white dots' (quoted in D. Fonti, op. cit., p. 36, translated from Italian). Natura morta is a wonderful and rare example of flattened, fragmented form, and a testament to the artist's innovative approach to pictorial language.

The first owner of this pair of collages by Severini (see lot 20) was the Swiss artist Jean van Berchem. A member of Groupe de Saint-Luc, van Berchem came into contact with a variety of artists including Severini and Maurice Denis. He acquired these two works directly from Severini, who was staying in Switzerland in the 1920s while working on frescos for the church at Semsales.