Depero and Marinetti
As many other futurists, Depero without Marinetti, perhaps would never have become the artist we know.
If it was Giacomo Balla to notice and first discover Depero, looking at the drawings the young artist had in a folder he held tight, when, hungry, appeared on the door of the Galleria Sprovieri, in Rome, in February 1914 ,..it was undoubtedly Marinetti who made possible his fortune. Soon after that night Depero was introduced to Marinetti who immediately welcomed him as “one of us …, futurists”. And Marinetti invited him to participate in the Free Futurist Exhibition, which was to be held shortly thereafter, with Balla, Boccioni, Prampolini, Rosai, but also Kulbin and Kandinskij. And Depero was the only one to sell … all his seven works.
Back home in Rovereto he immediately sent Marinetti a handmade, tricolor, patriotic postcard, with, on one side, his picture attached and surrounded by the words ‘Depero futurista’ and, at the address side ‘Depero Futurismo Guerra’.
When he returned in Rome he underwent the severe examination of Boccioni who determined his official entry into the Futurist Movement, and, in March 1915, with Balla, published the famous theoretical manifesto ‘Futurist Reconstruction of the Universe’, which consecrated him among the most well-known futurists
From then on Marinetti would always be present on his side to support him morally and economically. After the First World War, with the deaths of Boccioni and Sant’Elia, the defection of Carrà, the return to France of Severini, and Russolo’s defilade , Depero Balla and Prampolini became the spearhead of post-war Futurism presented by Marinetti in a great exhibition in Milan in 1919. He reserved a huge space to Depero: over 130 works. Then, at the opening of Depero’s House of Futurist Art, Marinetti wrote an important text where he defined this undertaking as the ‘Magical House of Depero’, and in this sense he declined the new style of the artist, who, left behind the shoulders his puppets of the Tens, appeared as surrounded by a magical aura. It was a style on the border between Futurism and Magical Realism, which in some ways placed Depero in an eccentric position inside Orthodox Futurism, but in fact a position of his own, with an original and unique style.
“It is with a true magical power – wrote Marinetti – that Depero created with enthusiasm his works full of color … with a real magical power that he has achieved, without imitating anyone, what Boccioni has precisely defined solidification of Impressionism … with a true magical power that Depero has realized this ideal geometric and mechanical splendor that I glorified – in one of my first manifestos … “.
In 1923, at the Exhibition of Decorative Arts in Monza, Depero had a personal room in the center of which he realized a large construction in white-painted wood: a synthetic man, with a megaphone coming out from his face and a metallic heart coming out from his chest. It was Marinetti’s plastic glory that represented Marinetti while declaiming.
For the national honors to Marinetti held in Milan in November 1924, Depero produced his famous painting “Patriotic storm Marinetti”, also called a “psychological portrait” because, as Depero wrote, “with the psychological portrait I intend to give not the physical appearance, but the inner physiognomy of a person: his character, his temper … “. This is why Marinetti’s portrait shows “tricolor lightning with a metallic head; clouds-flags with a heart full of Italian electricity; arm-index; smashing-indicating bow ”. The painting was also provided with a dynamic and asymmetrical frame designed by Fedele Azari.
Still in 1924, on the occasion of the Futurist Theater tour, Depero created his famous waistcoats: in particular, one for himself and another for Marinetti. These colourful waistcoats were worn by the two futurists while strolling through the streets of the cities where they held the theatrical evenings, and always arose a great sensation.
Then, in 1927, Depero published his extraordinary bolted book, where he furtherly glorified the founder of Futurism with a typographic freeworded composition, that is, outside the orthogonal cage, on the contrary a simulatiom of typographic explosion. Infact the writings radiate from the center toward the outside and the title was: I shoot this futuristic creation as a sign of celebration to F.T. Marinetti W ”, and therefore he called him as follows: “Patriotic-storm, genius-sun, heart-bombard, diviner-diamond who has revealed to the world the purest and newest creators of present-day Italy”.
Later (1932) he invited him to Trentino and on that occasion he published a rare Unique Futurist Number, Marinetti in Trentino.
About Marinetti he would write again and again, particularly in his monumental self-biography published in 1940, with the partly successful intention of self-historicizing.
Actually, Marinetti would always be present in his memory and Depero would always be grateful to him.