Fortunato Depero

/Works and biography


Portrait of Gilbert Clavel (Ritratto di Gilbert Clavel), 1917
Oil on canvas, 70 x 75 cm
Gianni Mattioli Collection
Long-term loan to the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice
© Fortunato Depero, by SIAE 2008

Fortunato Depero joined the Futurist movement in 1913. He was considered the prime exponent of the second generation of Futurists and played a major part in transmitting Futurist ideas and imagery to a younger generation of artists. Nevertheless this painting reveals Depero's distance form the first generation of Futurist painting—characterized by the exaltation of movement, the interpenetration of planes and the Cubist fragmentation of forms. Influenced instead by the current explorations of the Metaphysical painters and the refined, decorative two-dimensionality of the Viennese Secession, he portrayed Gilbert Clavel, Swiss poet and art critic, simultaneously in profile and from the front, with flattened and stylised forms. Clavel resembles a wooden marionette painted with the lively colors one might expect of a toy. Like an actor on the stage, frozen in a bizarre perspective framework whose colors render ambiguous the relations between flatness and depth, Depero's Clavel seems the true contemporary of Carlo Carrà's mannequins and of Fernand Léger's figures.

credits: Hangar Design Group