Giacomo Balla Biographies

GIACOMO BALLA
Turin 1871 – Rome 1958

Giacomo Balla was born in Turin on 18 July 1871 of Italian parents, Lucia Giannotti and Giovanni, a waiter with a passion for chemistry and photography.

A great self-taught artist, he attended drawing lessons in Turin and a photography workshop.

Biographie Giacomo Balla Italian Artist
Giacomo Balla
Self Portrait 1894

From 1886 to 1889, Giacomo Balla studies under Giacomo Grosso at the Royal Albertina Academy where he receives a medal for a ing achieved outstanding results.
He meets several young artists such as: the sculptor Giovanni Allot (Turin 1878 – 1964), the painters Romolo Bernardi (Barge 1876 – Turin 1956) e Pilade Bertieri (Turin 1874-1965).
On 1895 Giacomo Balla arrives in Rome with his mother Lucia.
For the first year he is a guest of his paternal uncle Gaspare Melchiorre Balla residing at the Quirinale as Keeper of his Majesty the King.
When he transfers to Via Piemonte 119, he encounters Alessandro Marcucci (1876 – 1968), Duilio Cambellotti (Rome 1876 -1960) and Serafino Macchiati, and, he is introduced to Elisa, Alessandro Marcucci’s sister and his future wife.

Biographie Giacomo Balla
Giacomo Balla
Landscape 1907

After a long stay in Paris in 1900, guest of the painter Serafino Macchiati, he discovered the applied arts and the work of Giuseppe Pellizza da Volpedo (Volpedo 1868 – ivi 1907).
Early practicing divisionism, he welcomed in his studio many young artists hostile to academism, including Gino Severini (Cortona 1883 – Paris 1966), Umberto Boccioni (Reggio Calabria 1882 – Verona 1916), and Mario Sironi (Sassari 1885 – Milan 1961 ).

Biographie Giacomo Balla
Giacomo Giacomo Balla
Villa Borghese Towers 1905

At the LXXXII Exhibition of the Amatori e Cultori Society, he shows five works: for Il Sentiero he receives an award for encouragement of 500 lire from the Ministry of Education.

Biographie Giacomo Balla
Giacomo Balla
May 1905

At the LXXXIII Exhibition of the Amatori e Cultori Society Giacomo Balla presents five portraits, among which his portrait of Virginia Mieli, wife of Major Nathan, excels.

Biographie Giacomo Balla
Giacomo Balla
Peggy Nathan’s Portrait
1919

It is also the debut of his students Gino Severini and Umberto Boccioni.

He visits the Fifth International Art Exhibition in Venice, where he exhibits the Portrait of Ettore Roesler Franz.

In 1910 at the invitation of his studentsUmberto Boccioni e Gino Severini, Giacomo Balla signed the Manifesto of Futurist Painters, togheter with Carlo Carrà e Russolo.

On April 11 of the same year he signs Futurist Painting Technical Manifesto at the same time, he exhibits at the Amatori e Cultori Society the majestic triptych Affetti

Biographie Giacomo Balla Italian Artist
Giacomo Balla
Affetti 1910

On but while he developed a modern theme, with a divisionist touch, how you can see with the opera Lampada ad arco.
In this period his style is marked by his adherence to the humanitarian principles of socialism.
Togheter with Alessandro Marcucci e Giovanni Cena, he becomes involved in the literacy amongst peasants in the Roman lands: in 1911 he takes part in the Mostra dell’Agro Romano aimed at sensitizing public opinion towards farmers poor life condition. In a real hut designed by Duilio Cambellotti, Giacomo Balla exhibits twelve paintings depicting peasants from Agro Romano and views of Villa Borghese

Biographie Giacomo Balla
Giacomo Balla
Villa Borghese Eucaliptus

Starting from the observation of cars at full speed, he creates a series of paintings where the graphic synthesis of the kinetic event reaches the abstraction of geometric shapes.

Biographie Giacomo Balla Italian Artist
Giacomo Balla
Model Betwenn Two Landscapes 1905

Actually, these crystallize the effects of light and movement.
In 1914, he launched the manifesto The futuristic Male Garment and produced his first typographic compositions.
With Fortunato Depero (Fondo 1892 – Rovereto 1960) he started the creation of kinetic abstract sculptures.

Biographies Giacomo Balla
Giacomo Balla
Parco dei Daini 1910

In 1917, he produced a scenography of abstract volumes and colored lights, for the Stravinsky Fireworks that Diaghilev mounted in Rome.
He approached, in the early twenties, the geometric abstraction, in the climate of “mechanical art” and participates in the exhibitions organized by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti (Alessandria d’Egitto 1876 – Bellagio 1944).

Biographie Giacomo Balla
Giacomo Balla
The Mad Woman 1905
Detail

Anyway, in 1937, he refused to follow the latter’s ideological options, and definitively separated from Futurism.
He then returns to a figurative painting which takes the opposite of the rhetoric of painters enslaved to fascism.

Biographie Giacomo Balla
Giacomo Balla’s Signature