Gino Severini. Armored Train in Action. 1915

Gino Severini

Armored Train in Action


Oil on canvas
45 5/8 x 34 7/8" (115.8 x 88.5 cm)
Gift of Richard S. Zeisler
Object number
© 2016 Gino Severini / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris
Painting and Sculpture
This work is on view on Floor 5, in Painting and Sculpture I, Gallery 3, with 12 other works online.
Gino Severini has 8 works online.
There are 2,242 paintings online.

Painted in 1915, the year Italy entered World War I, this work reflects a Futurist declaration of the same year: "War is a motor for art." Although poor health prevented Severini from enlisting in the military, he was obsessed by this first fully mechanized war. Living in Paris, he witnessed the city's bombardment, and from his studio he had an aerial view of the Denfert-Rochereau station and trains transporting soldiers, supplies, and weapons. Here, five faceless figures crouch in a militarized locomotive car, aiming their rifles in unison. Smoke from gun and cannon fire eclipse the natural landscape. Severini celebrated war, which the Futurists believed could generate a new Italian identity—one of military and cultural power.

Gallery label from 2009

Provenance Research Project
This work is included in the Provenance Research Project, which investigates the ownership history of works in MoMA's collection.
The artist, Paris. 1915 - 1917
On consignment with Alfred Stieglitz, New York. October 1916 - March 1917
John Quinn (d. 1924). Purchased from Stieglitz, March 1917 - 1924
Estate of John Quinn, 1924 - 1927
Quinn auction, American Art Galleries, New York, February 1927, cat no. 265
Mr. and Mrs. Charles J. Liebman, New York . Purchased from Quinn auction, 1927 - still by 1949 [until 1955?]
Auction sale, Parke-Bernet Galleries, December 7, 1955
Richard S. Zeisler, New York. Purchased at Parke-Bernet, December 1955 - 1986 (Rose Fried as agent)
The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of Richard S. Zeisler, 1986

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