Gino Severini (Cortona, 1883 - Parigi, 1966)
Born in Cortona in 1883, Severini, moved to Rome in 1899 where he met Boccioni and Balla. Through them he came in contact with the post-impressionist and divisionist schools. He attended life drawing classes at the Academy and the evening drawing classes at the Villa Medici. In 1905 he and Boccioni together organised, in the foyer of the Costanzi Theatre, an ‘Exhibition of the Rejected’ in protest at their exclusion from the “Amateurs and Connoisseurs” exhibition.
In 1906 he moved to Paris where he became involved with the artistic and literary avant-garde and made the acquaintance of artists such as Picasso, Modigliani and Braque.
In February 1910 he signed the Manifest of Futurist Painting, along with Martinetti, Boccioni, Balla, Carrà and Russolo. In 1912 he took part in an exhibition of futurist painters in Paris at the Bernheim-Jeune Gallery, and was present at subsequent futurist exhibitions in Europe and the United States. In 1916 in Paris he showed cubist and futurist works inspired by themes of war. In the Twenties he received various public commissions to decorate churches, and divided his time between Paris and Rome.
In 1923 he attended the Roman Biennale; he took part in two Milanese exhibitions of twentieth century Italian work (1926 and 1929) and one in Geneva (1929). In 1928 he returned to Rome. During this period elements of the remains of ancient Rome began to appear in his work, next to the motif of masked figures. From the Thirties, due to a need to return to his trade, he became interested in mosaic making, a technique that characterised all his subsequent artistic production.
In 1930 he attended the Venice Biennale, along with the other “Italians of Paris”; he was also involved in the Quadriennales of 1931 and 1935. During these years he also created backdrops and costumes from various theatrical occasions. Throughout his career, Severini published important theoretical essays and books on artistic themes. He died in Paris on the 26th February 1966.