Gino Severini (1883-1966)
Born in Cortona, Severini moved to Rome in 1899 where he and Boccioni studied Divisionist techniques with Balla. He settled in Paris in 1906 where he befriended Modigliani and was introduced into avant-garde circles. Severini joined the Futurist movement in 1910 and pursued his fascination with dynamism and movement in his studies of cabaret dancers. His pivotal role was that of being an ambassador for Futurism within the Parisian avant-garde. From 1916 Severini's approach underwent a radical revision as he responded to the European-wide 'call to order', emphatically exemplified in his naturalistic 1916 portrait Maternity. At the same time he developed a Synthetic Cubist style influenced by Picasso and Gris, with whom he worked closely during the war years. Severini exhibited with the Novecento group in 1926 and 1929 and obtained commissions for frescoes in Swiss and German churches throughout the latter half of the 1920s. At this time he also painted a series of naturalistic still lifes inspired by wall paintings recently excavated at Pompeii and Herculaneum. In the 1960s Severini revived the abstract and Futurist styles of his youth, even reproducing destroyed masterpieces from photographs.
St Catherine's School in Bramley, Surrey, chose Gino Severini's iconic image 'The Boulevard' as inspiration for the mural in their new language building. The eye-catching mural was completed by the students and helped to raise money to pay for the entire education for five girls in Zambia.