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By ANDRE TRIDON
Organizer of the 1'uturlst Society
' tt is not necessary to dispute the judg
ment jwssed by n Paris correspondent
r f TiieSun on Ihofuturlst paintings which
wo on view at tho Ucrnhelm Gallery.
Ho Judged thorn by tho accepted classical
rtamUrcls. Judged by the ncoepted
rlnsfleul standards thoy aro crudo, prim
itive, distressing. Krotenquo, too simple
or too complex.
And so wcro Rodin's statues and Wag
ner's operas judged by the accepted c&s
lirsil standards of twenty years ago.
Critics aro prono to characterize all
lnnor.it tens as art in its Infancy or in
lis decadence, while somo of them are
really a new form of art suffering from
It Is iillo to deplore a lack of technique
In futurist canvases when they are painted
According to an absolutely novel tech
nique. If the Italian poet and novelist Marl
netti had not coined the convenient
word 'futurism" the new an 1st to tendency
which reveals Itself In the works of Balla,
Boccionl, Carra, Russolo, Soverinl and
others might have leen awkwardly
designated as Post-Rodinlsm or Strauss
lam In painting.
The futurists believe with Rodin and
Strauss that there Is no limit to art 1st to
progress any more than there Is to sci
entific progress and that progress is
achieved only at the cost of numberless
experiments with now material.
Such a doctrine should be eminently
welcome la- tWa country. Wherever
Americans have forged ahead of tho Old
World they have done so not by imi
tating the Old World but by introducing
Innovations unknown t it
To give only one example: The mar
vellous skyscrapers erected In renew
Tears, which are at the sane time things
of beauty, of power and of practical
usefulness, and which not only are well
adapted architecturally to the needs of
giant cities but artistically speaking
fit thlr environment, owe nothing to the
Old World. The skyscraper fitly repre
sents the type of beauty dear to futurists,
tho beauty of feverish activity, of muni
fold interests, of simultaneous sensations,
of healthy power. Contemplation, sloth
fulness and death no longer Interest tho
modern man. Life in its myriad aspects
is the only thing that fascinates us.
Whatever has survived of ancient art.
whatover of the paintings and sculptures
of the past centuries still has a strong
appeal for modern art lovers and modern
mobs alike is whatever expresses living
What makes the "Venus de Mllo" and tho
Winged Victory" the favorites of visitors
to the Louvre? The extraordinary
vitality of the ono, the irresistible onrush
of the other toward a certain goal.
The fascination exerted by fast moving
trains, automobiles, flying machines,
dolls that roll their eyes nnd speak, hls
trlonism good or bad, moving picture
dims as against ox carts, pasteboard
dolls, printed plays and ordinary lantern
Flides is due to the universal craving of
human tietngs for the sight of life and
A desire to express this yearning
through the medium of clay was responsi
ble for the storm of abuse that greeted
Rodin when he first emerged, not so long
a go, from his comparative obscurity. In
his conversations with Gsell wo find
Rodin outlining the very art ideas which
ore at the Imats of the futurist doctrine.
"Vo part of a motion, Rodin said,
'can Fuggest tho rest of the motion;
trnreforn, in order to suggest motion in
vih single subject, on artist must attri
bute to each part of tho subject's body
oni fraction of the motion ho wishes to
represent. When there are soveral figures.
lhn process is much easier. After analyz
ing peroral composite sculptures or paint
ing 'full of action," Rodin noticed that
mi impression of mo they give comes
from tho fact that one motion has been
decomposed Into its various stages, overy
figure assuming one stage only. In Wnt
teuu's "(Embarkation for the Isle of Cy
thera," for instance, somo of the figures
are near the river, somo are coming down
Dm bank, some stand on the hill, some
i rising and the last pair aro still
atrd on the ground. The means matter
Utile so long as the illusion or life is
Ho convinced Is Rodin that life and
motion are the essentials of tho work of
irt that, Instead of hiring a model to sit
10 him and of copying a pose arbitrarily
fleeted, he spends hours observing men
nd women models who do not pose but
move uhout in one of his studios, assuming
tTfcctly natural poses, which never be
'oini) congealed from protracted immo
lullty Itr.ciin Isold, however, and none of the
futurists is over thirty-Jive. They natu
rally want to start where Rodin loft off.
I w ttiiM to tho futurist axiom, that yester
day will always be wrong as against to
morrow, they have no her o worship in their
What makes their works so distressing
w the layman is that they embody an en-
tlrely new conception of perspective and
dynamism. At the present time painters
invariably assume, when planning the
composition of a canvas, that they aro to i
represent only objects located In front or
them or which could bo seen through a
rectangular opening in a wall or a picture
frame held before the eyes.
And therefore It Is tho painters' per
spective, tho perspective of an individual
outside of the canvas, which causes ull
lines to converge toward the background.
Futurists declare that figures or groups
represented on a canvas will have no
Individuality unless wo see the world
through their oyes with the linos con
verging toward whatever Is for them the
background; in a word, with thoir own
Take, for inHtance, Russolo's "Street
Riot," which In reproduced twlco on this
page for the purpose of illustrating the
futurist idea of perspective. Standing
the canvas on its lower left hand corner
the streets and buildings are seen drawn
in obedience to the rules of "Past 1st"
or traditional perspective.
On tho other hand a man In tho mob
which Is rushing forward would see the
scene from an entirely different angle.
Hold your photographic camera about
five feet above tho ground, then tako a
snapshot of on object lying on tho street
level and all tho buildings will seem to
be toppling over while tho street will
rise toward the background with an ei
aggoratcd upward slaut.
In Russolo's "Street Riot" all tho riot
ers, having their eyos fooussed upon tho
sidewalk on tho left hand sido of tho
canvas, are bound to perceive deforma
tions of lines which escape the rain out
sldo of tho canvas.
A novelist or a playwright would ex
pose himself to bitter criticism If ho used
the characters of his novels or play as
raero mouthpieces voicing invariably
his point of view. Characterization con
sists, in fact, in lotting overy ono of the
characters see tho world with ills own
perspective from his own vlowpolnt.
Thereforo If wo wish to Impart to the
mob we are painting a character of strong
individuality, we must let that mob boo
the scene with Its own oyes and Its own
Furthermore, Futurists oonsidor that all
the resources of optical knowledge must
bo drawn upon by the modern painter,
who can legitimately make use of optical
The mad advance of the rioters is em
phasized in Russolo's canvas by tho fact
that the lines of tho trees and buildings
toward which tho mob is headed aro all
slanting toward tho right hand side, are,
so to speak, toppling over on the infuri
As far as dynamism Is concerned, Fu
turists differ from traditionalists in the
measure in which Wagner differed from
Bellini, Delllni's scores only treated one
motive or rather one melody at a tlmo.
Wagner, in order to represent mulolly
t ,. ., V ,.
a complex state of mind, interweaves tho
motivo of tho Valkyr's Ride, the Wal-
halla and tho Death Song motive.
Curiously enough, when Rossini first
tried to decipher ono of thoso complex
pages of orchestration he made exactly
tho remark which wugs are wont to utter
when looking at Futurist paintings:
"In order to understand this you must
hold it upside down.
Futurists believo in interweaving plo-
torial themes, for, except in the case of
inanimate objects, which they repudiate
as a source of inspiration, our visual per
ception of lifo is duo to many pictures,
following ono another In quick succession
on our retina, Living life is nothing but a
"Our growing hunger for truth," we
read In tho prefaco to tho catalogue of
tho Futurist exhibition, "can no longer
bo nppeased by form nnd color us they ure
understood to-day. What wo wish to
vizunllzo on canvus is no longer ono im
mobilized aspect of the uuiversul dynau
Ism. Wo aim at translating pictorially
dynamism Itself. For everything is ceuso
lessly revolving, advancing, being trans
formed at a swift pace. A profllo is never
at rest; It is continually appearing and
"Owing to the fact that every single
optical sensation continues to affect tho
rotlna for an appreciable frnotlou of u
second an object in motion seems to be
manifold, its shape seems to bo In con
tinuous process or change; it seems, so
to speak, to be running after Itself through
space, ror instance a galloping horso
does not seem to huvo four legs; it must
really have twenty or more or else it
couldn't give us the visual impression
"The sixteen people who are seated i
with you in a street oar aro successively
or simultaneously, as your glanco wun
dors over them, one, four, ten or twoi
persons. Some Jump off of tho cur nnd
are instantly annihilated by the sunlight;
others board tne oar and iit by your side,
COMERS in the
New Conception of Perspective and Dynamism Which Makes Their Paintings
Seem Odd When Judged by Ordinary Standards Aims and Methods
of the Futurists and Effects They Seek to Produce.
"Optically speaking spaoe does not
exist. Wo penetrate tho chairs on which
I we sit nnd the chain penetrate our lodios;
curs turning round u street corner rush
p into tho houses which hide them from
our view; the houses rush upon the cars
and swallow them up; for a fraction of a
second one pictorial macs will bo partly
Mreet car and partly hotio, until the oar
I has entirely tlixnppeuicd,
How much this reminds us of the ex-
amplo instanced by Rodin:
"Vou remember how in Dante's 'Inferno'
a snako coiling itself around I he body of a
man in graduully transmuted Into a man,
while the man begins to assume a snake
UUo fchae? Thus u work of art must
allow us to discern u part of what has
; been and u part of what is to le.
"My '.Saint John the JlaplWl' is repre
sented in the act of walking though both
feel nro flat on the ground. Now it U
probable that u snap thot of 11 model
performing inn samo motion would either
Bhow the left foot already raised abovo
tho ground, or if tho left foot of tho model
occupied tho muno position ns the left
foot of tho statue tho right foot would
Htill I o at a certain distunco from the
ground. Tho model would seoni us though
ho hud been buddonly turned to stone,
or Htruck motionless like tho retainers
of the Sleeping Beauty."
The majority of modern cartoonists
apply unconsciously tho futurist tech
nic when thoy endeavor to visualize
motion very realistically. When little
. Willy Is rolling down hluirs head over
heels, when tho street ur.ih is depicted
' twirling tho alley cut held by tho end of
her tall, tho illustrator surrounds Willy's
or the, cat's body with a halo of concent rio
lines. I hose lines are nothing after ull
but a crudo indication of the various
positions Willy and the cat nro burcivt-lvely
assuming whilo evolving through sixice.
Thus the motions of Soverini's "Dancer
ure biiggcsted by the various positions
I occupied by her head on the canvas and
'by the many waves of light and color
radiating in triangular masses from her
hips und shoulders.
The light fl.ishcd by electric bulbs or
nro lamps Is roprehcnttil In this and other
futurist canv;u.es not us a luminous spot
but, as it is in reality, h Mirntwhrn of lu
minous haloH whoso Intensity decreiiM's
as their distance from the source of light
Iu Boccioni's "Laughter wo have
several human beings bo convulsed by
(IM FUTUMST PERSPECTIVE)
fits of hilarity that their features, except
in the case of a stout and sluggish woman,
are no longer distinguishable and their
heads, hands, sleeves and coat lapels
describe through space the most fan
tastic maze of lines.
A painter applying the traditional
precepts to the treatment of tho subject
selected by Russolo, "Memories of a
Night," would have in all likelihood
Isolated artificially ono of the incidents
by which one special night is rememlered
and would have eliminated entirely all
As we remember scraps of life rather
than wholo periods of ife, one feature
of a face rather than every detail of tne
face, one Individual in a group rather
than the group, tho conventional artist
would have on one hand added things
he didn't remember and on the Other
subtracted things ho did remember.
Kndeavoring to vln alizo the Individual
mood, the individual atmosphero of one
certain night, Ruvsolo evoked all tho
incidents of that special night as they
were flashed ii)on the screen of his mem
ory the following day: A sinister shadow
projected ngahis, u wall; the hard, angular
face of u woman with haunting eyes; a
soft pioilln; tho tender ourve of a neck;
n ghost iv horse drawinr a phantom cab;
silhouettes or all-nlchters wheso gro
tesquely lengthened sliadows are thrown
on the wit puvemcnt. by the blinding
?laie or electric rtlobcs; flowers; buildings,
which the Jolt of n Bpoedln cab showed
to the passenger at an unnatural angle;
tho curious outline of a c,Iove (or Is it a
hand?); a cup of champagne. Ac.
Who can deny tho power of suggestion
which emanates from this jumble of
Ideas, shapes and colore? And t he whole
thing Is perfectly true to life. Tho mood
of one special night cannot be rendered
pictorially by isolating cither ono of the
female llgures or one of the night, prowlers
and devoting to It u whole canvas. Only
a composite picture attributing different
values to the different components of
our visual memory of the night will be
sincere and realistic.
Or isn't this means of suggestion as
legitimate as tho convention according
to which a blond girl is represented clasp
ing her pillow in her arms while a swarm
of little cupids is fluttering about her;
the title of this pictorial platitude being
"Dreams of Love."
After explaining the futurist theory
and offering exumples of its application.
hesitating, as groping as they may be.
wo must givo in lis emireiy ino aniouu
rrm n I foot o whleh wns drawn un two Years
ago by the futurist painters and which
was read to an audience of artists and
litterateurs gathered at the Uhlarolia
Theatro in Turin, Italy, on March 8, J010
We mnv mention tho fact that the meet-
ine at thoChiarclLi was enlivened by much
the same sort of incidents which made
'The Playboy performances notanie.
Tho poet Marinetti only succeeded In
silencing the howling mob by nn amusing
(UBpiay 01 coolness, no cuugJii. on wiu
fly an orange which was speeding past him
and. interrupting his address, pealed
it, quartered it annate it with the greatest
unconcern. That saved the day.
Here is tho manifesto tho reading of
which infuriated the audience that night
as only Latin and Irish audiences can be
MANIFESTO OF THE rCTBMST TAINTEnS.
We rontend: . u
I. Tliut evcrv form or Imitation must be
scorned and thst every form ot originality
must bo clorllled. ...
3. That we must hrenk away trom the
bondage or "harmony" and "good taste,"
overelastle terms with which one eould
easily condemn any of Rcmbrundt s, Goya's
or Kodln's works.
3. That art critics are useless If not harmful-
4. That we must make s clean sweep of
sit hackneved sutijdelR and express hence
forth the whirlwind llfo of our day. domi
nated by steel, egotUm, foverUh uctlvlly
Bl5. ifhat we must prle highly the title of
"cranks," that bub applied by Philistines to
the lips of innovators. ...
. Thut complementary subjeets and
colors ure as absolutely necessary In palnt
ine us blank verho is in poetry aud po
lyphony in musiu.
7. That the universal dynamism must be
rendered throtitth cunvnscs producing a
dynamic sensation. .... , , ...
s. That nature must be Interpreted with a
sincere and vircin mind. . .
0. That motion and light destroy the con
crete iibpoct of objects.
We disapprove: , .... ...
1. Ot tho bituminous tints by which
painters try to Impart to modern canvases
the pallna or age.
2. or the superllelal and primitive archa
ism which uses absolute colors and which,
in its imitation or the Lgyptlans' linear
drawings, reduces patntlne to a childish
and ridiculous synthesis.
3. or tho progrehslvo pretence or seces
sionists and Independents who havo en
trenched themselves behind academlo rules
as platitudinous und cousorvullvo as those
ot tho old neademios.
4. or the nude In palntlnir. ns nauseating
snd cloying us adultery in fiction,
BocriuNi, CauiiA. ltussot.o, Balla, Bkvkh-
Tho last paragraph is well worth no
ticing. Out of tho thlrty-llvo canvases
on viw t tho Bernholm Oallcry there
isn't ono representing a nude.
In one more way tho futurists who have
tho courago to paint for the sake of an ar
tistic prlnclplo perfectly unsalable can
vases navo proved their earnestness of
purpose. Mero mountebanks exhibiting
their wares In that city of Paris whero no
liho is drawn us to the choice of subjects
wouldn't have missed tho splendid op
portunity nudes supply of attracting
crowds and securing publicity.
Futurists declare honestly that In our
days the nudo is the most artificial of
subjects. Athenians appeared naked in
public; the Spartan youth of both sexes
gave gymnast io exhibitions in the nude;
Oreek hculptora were thereforo in a posi
tion to glorify in Btono tho beautiful
bodies of athletes, men and women.
In our days, on the other hand, we
new see the nude. Barring a fewnrtlstn
thenude attracts tho crowd for it s abnormal
if not for its ridiculous chuructcr.
And thereforo modern nrtlsts cannot
honestly or truthfully represent the nud
In action. A nude model id not "The
Nude." An exception might be tnado
for Rodin, who never poses nude models,
but keeps several of them at a time walk
ing about, talking or reading, in his studio,
Auy other artist painting iv nude Is, to
quoto Marinottl's words, merely flaunting
ids model's shaim on the. public
Wo domand. the futurist painters
declare In tho interpretation of their mani
festo, "tho abolition or the nude In art for
the next llfty years."
Bucli is (uturism in panning, u una
nothlnc in common wltl
It i Fost-imur
ulrMilxm nr l.'ublstn.
These two schools
are merely trying to Interpret stutiot
motionless life. Futurism only wishes
to see and to reproduce living life, ever
lastingly changing, and to watch to-day
the growth of the germ from which to
morrow will spring up.