cover image Balla


Rizzoli, Dell'arco, Maurizio Fagiolo Dell'arco. Rizzoli International Publications, $30 (151pp) ISBN 978-0-8478-0919-6

Dell'Arco, author of other books on the futurists, writes with simplicity and insight on one of the movement's leaders. With almost 300 illustrations, this handsome monograph concentrates on Giacomo Balla's (1871-1958) art and successes and lets the personal life emerge only through a lengthy critique of the career. At turns perplexing and beautiful, the paintings selected here represent the wide range of styles Balla employed. From the pastoral Villa Borghese and the striking Pessimism and Optimism to the dynamic Speed and Landscape , 46 paintings are reproduced large and in color. Many of the abstracts emanating from his studies of automobile and human movement and of light are included. Examples of Balla's work in other media, such as painted furniture, are also provided. Photographs, handbills, manifestos, notebook sketches, news clippings and other fruits of the author's scholarly investigation give a lesson on futurism and an impression of the fervent air of creation that surrounded Balla. Throughout, dell'Arco's analysis upholds the intellectual weight that Balla's work carries, balancing this with a light, accessible style; his text harmonizes with the illustrations. Balla's oeuvre, original and often misunderstood, has been excellently served by this penetrating study. (October)