Gino Severini. Dynamic Hieroglyphic of the Bal Tabarin. 1912

Gino Severini Dynamic Hieroglyphic of the Bal Tabarin 1912

  • The Museum of Modern Art, Floor 5, Collection Galleries

Severini was fascinated by the dancehall as a subject for the opportunity it offered for the depiction of multisensory experience. Here he pictures a woman with brown curls and a white, blue, and pink flounced dress as she dances to music in the Paris nightclub Bal Tabarin. Different elements of the work point to current events—the Arab riding a camel refers to the Turco-Italian War of 1911, and flags convey sentiments of nationalism. In his depiction of Bal Tabarin the artist merges the Futurists’ interest in capturing the dynamism of motion with the integration of text and collage elements, such as sequins, influenced by his study of French Cubism. Severini was a fervent Italian nationalist, but he insisted that his fellow Futurists come to Paris, as he had, to learn about the latest developments in modern art.

Gallery label from 2009.

Here a woman with brown curls and a white, blue, and pink flounced dress dances in the Paris nightclub Bal Tabarin. Elements of the work point to current events—the Arab riding a camel refers to the Turco-Italian War of 1911 and flags indicate sentiments of nationalism. In his depiction of Bal Tabarin the artist merges his interest in capturing the dynamism of motion, shared with fellow Futurists, with the integration of text and collage elements, such as sequins, influenced by his study of French Cubism.

Gallery label from On Line: Drawing Through the Twentieth Century, November 21, 2010-February 7, 2011.
Medium
Oil on canvas with sequins
Dimensions
63 5/8 x 61 1/2" (161.6 x 156.2 cm)
Credit
Acquired through the Lillie P. Bliss Bequest (by exchange)
Object number
288.1949
Copyright
© 2019 Gino Severini / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris
Department
Painting and Sculpture

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This work is included in the Provenance Research Project, which investigates the ownership history of works in MoMA's collection.

On consignment to Filippo Tommaso Marinetti (1876-1944), Milan, until c. 1925 [1]. Richard Wyndham (1896-1948), London, by 1935 [2]; Estate of Richard Wyndham, 1948; sold through Sotheby's, London to the Museum of Modern Art, New York, November 24, 1948 (Acquired through the Lillie P. Bliss Bequest) [3].
[1] Per Daniela Fonti, with Maurizio Fagiolo dell'Arco, Gina Severini Franchina, et al., Gino Severini: catalogo ragionato, Milan: A. Mondadori, 1988, pp. 128-129, no. 107: "Milano, collezione Marinetti (in deposito fino al 1925 c)." Severini stated in an artist's questionnaire issued by the Museum of Modern Art that he first sold the painting to Léonce Rosenberg, Paris, who subsequently sold it to Richard Wyndham (Collection files, Department of Painting and Sculpture, The Museum of Modern Art, New York). The questionnaire is undated. Though it is correct that Severini signed a three-year contract with Rosenberg in 1919, the provenance information given by the artist could not be confirmed so far.
[2] Ibid. Lender to the Seconda Quadriennale d'Arte Nazionale, Rome, Palazzo delle Esposizioni, February-July 1935.
[3] Auct. cat. Fine Modern Paintings & Drawings Including the Well-known Collection Formed by the Late Major Richard Wyndham, M.C., Sold by Order of the Executors […], Sotheby's, London, November 24, 1948, no. 153: Le Bal Tabarin.

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