Giacomo Balla (1871-1958)
Born in Turin, Balla studied music as a child. Mostly self-taught as an artist, he was interested in Divisionism, a style developed in northern Italy which shared Impressionism's concern with capturing light effects. Balla moved to Rome in 1895 and exhibited at the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1900. Upon returning to Italy the following year he taught Divisionist techniques to students including Boccioni and Severini. His paintings addressed themes of work and humanitarian issues, reflecting his Socialist politics. Balla joined the Futurist movement in 1910 but did not exhibit with the group until 1913. His work included analytical studies of speeding cars, nonobjective colour studies and abstract sculpture using a variety of materials. He also extended Futurist principles to the applied arts, including fashion, interior design and furnishings. Balla was the only artist of the first wave of Futurism to be involved in the second, post-war phase. However, by the late 1930s he had distanced himself from the movement and his style remained strongly figurative for the remainder of his career.

Giacomo Balla, Hand of the Violinist, 1912
© DACS 2007