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Details & Cataloguing

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Paris

Gino Severini
1883 - 1966
I TULIPANI
signed Severini (lower right)
oil and sand on canvas
61,2 x 50 cm; 24 1/8 x 19 3/4 in.
Painted in 1916.
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Provenance

Leonide Massine, Paris (acquired directly from the artist and until at least 1961)
Maria Duckett Pospisil, Venice
Glickstein Foundation, New York
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (gift from the above in 1982 and sold: Sotheby's, London, October 21, 1999, lot 6)
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner

Exhibited

Hartford, CT, Wadsworth Athenaeum, Salute to Italy, 1961
Venice, Palazzo Grassi, Futurismo e Futurismi, 1986, illustrated in the catalogue
Munich, Haus der Kunst, Mythos Italien - Wintermärchen Deutschland, 1988

Literature

Daniela Fonti, Gino Severini, Catalogo ragionato, Milan, 1988, no. 274, illustrated p. 255

Catalogue Note

After the Futurist experiment (1910-1915), of which Severini was one of the leading figures, alongside Giacomo Balla, Umberto Boccioni and Carlo Carrà, he returned to Cubism in 1916, the year he painted I Tulipani. That year, which coincided with his move to Paris, was a turning point for Severini. It was in 1916 that Juan Gris introduced him to Léonce Rosenberg, the famous Cubist dealer, which would play a decisive role in the Italian painter’s stylistic development. But 1916 was also the year in which he met Matisse, whose expressive use of colour had a profound effect on him. These various encounters prompted the new aesthetic Severini developed, which is sometimes classified as “Futuro-Cubist”, since  it seems to bridge the gap between the different avant-garde movements of the period.

I Tulipani is part of this synthesized approach, representing a link between Futurism and Cubism, combining the rigour of construction with the dynamism of colour. Painted in late 1916, it belongs to a series of paintings of the same size with the same stylistic motifs. In particular, the same Scottish tartan tablecloth can be seen in some of them, giving the composition structure and reinforcing the impression of flatness that is characteristic of this new period. In this series, the artist draws inspiration from the papier collé techniques of the great Cubist masters and strives to create skilfully arranged compositions, a far cry from the hectic, colourful compositions of the Futurist years. As a work that straddles various influences involving the interaction of structure and colour, I Tulipani is particularly representative of Severini’s aspirations, in reference to which the art historian Bernard Dorival said: “He was – and this is what made him original, or even a genius – the bridge between Futurism and Cubism.”

Modernités

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Paris