'Aeropittura' – Futurism Takes Flight

'Aeropittura' – Futurism Takes Flight

Flying over the Town at a Speed of Three Hundred Km, 1930 (mixed media on pasteboard), Dottori, Gerardo (1884-1977)

'Aeropittura' – Futurism Takes Flight

'Aeropittura' – Futurism Takes Flight

The Italian word 'Aeropittura' literally translates as 'aerial painting' and more generally refers to works of art that depict subjects related to the sky, its elements and the machines that fly over it. The movement is the 'son' of Futurism and developed in the early 1930s in Italy between the First and Second World War. Typical futurist elements are recognisable in all works of Aeropittura: the recreation of speed and movement, dramatic perspective, a vortex of lines that intersect one another and the use of bright colours, to name a few.

If you are not Italian, it is unlikely that you have encountered this movement before; however, lately the art market has been bringing its legacy back, especially in London. Bonhams rediscovered this movement only recently when a wonderful example by Mino delle Site was consigned to the London Impressionist & Modern Art sale in February 2016. Included in the sale at a modest but attractive estimate of £5,000-7,000, the canvas titled Decollo (which means 'Take off') far exceeded its estimate, achieving £38,700.

The market's interest was captured, and a constant flow of Aeropittura works soon followed with the Impressionist & Modern Art sales now including a dedicated section of Italian modern art. Among the main artists are the aforementioned Domenico (Mino) delle Site, Giacomo Balla and Enrico Prampolini from Rome, Tullio Crali from Milan, Giulio d'Anna from Sicily and Gerardo Dottori from Padoa. The movement stems from the artists' interest in aerial machinery and photographic technologies: as a consequence, the recurrent subjects are flights, propellers, or views from the sky.

When it first developed, the movement had an international reach with exhibitions organised in Paris and Berlin as well as Italy and it is very rewarding to see that once more the movement is catching the attention of an international public. Among the most successful exhibitions organised in the past few years are certainly Italian Futurism, 1909–1944. Reconstructing the Universe at the Guggenheim in 2014; Gerardo Dottori The Futurist View in London 2014 and most recently FUTURISMO y VELOCIDA. La velocidad en la tierra y en el cielo in Lima in 2017.

Bonhams looks forward to including works by Giulio d'Anna and Mino delle Site, among others, in their next Impressionist & Modern Art sale on 1 February 2018 in London.

by Benedetta Alpini, Junior Specialist, Impressionist & Modern Art, London