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28 Sep – 28 Jan 2024

Depero. Cavalcata fantastica

In the aftermath of the tragic flood that ravaged Florence in 1966, the naval engineer Alberto Della Ragione donated his collection of 241 works of art to the City of Florence in response to the appeal that Carlo Ludovico Ragghianti and the International Committee for Florence addressed to artists and collectors to “contribute to the resurrection of Florence”. One of the most valuable works donated was a stunning oil on canvas by Fortunato Depero entitled Nitrito in velocità.

Starting from this work, now in the collection of the Museo Novecento in Florence, Palazzo Medici Riccardi is hosting an exhibition dedicated to the great Trento native artist, bringing together masterpieces from a prestigious private collection and from Mart, the Museum of modern and contemporary art of Trento and Rovereto, which keeps an important group of works that Depero donated to the City of Rovereto in 1957 for the creation of a museum dedicated to him.

Cureted by:Sergio Risaliti andEva Francioli
A project by:Museo Novecento
Where:Museo Mediceo
Fortunato Depero_ Cavalcata fantastica
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Fortunato Depero among litghed light bulbs of a dressing room, Fotografia Abeni & C., Milano 1927 Mart, Archivio del ‘900, Fondo Depero


Fortunato Depero was born in Fondo (TN) on 30th March 1892 and at an early age, he moved with his family to Rovereto.

In 1913, he relocated to Rome with his wife-to-be Rosetta Amadori. There, he was introduced to Giacomo Balla and Francesco Cangiullo, and, most importantly, to the father of Futurism, Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, and Umberto Boccioni whose art was particularly fascinating to him. In 1915, he joined the Futurist movement and in March of the same year, together with Balla, he was the signatory of the manifesto Futurist Reconstruction of the Universe.

In 1916, the producer of the Ballets Russes, Sergei Diaghilev, commissioned him to design sets and costumes for the ballet Le Chant du rossignol by Igor Stravinsky. Unfortunately, this ambitious project, which would lay the foundations for what would later be called Teatro plastico, was aborted.

In 1917, Depero made the acquaintance of the Swiss poet Gilbert Clavel, who entrusted him with the illustrations for his latest book An Institute for Suicide. That was the beginning of a collaboration and a friendship between the two men who, in 1918, will stage I Balli Plastici.

In 1919, Depero went back to Rovereto with his wife, where he established the “House of Futurist Art”, an artistic workshop where he would produce design objects and above all, large cloth patchworks.

In September 1928, Depero and his wife made their way to New York intending to open a branch of his art gallery. Although the project for the Depero’s Futuristic House did not have the proper success, the artist was however largely committed in those years with advertising companies and designed the covers of acclaimed magazines, including Vanity Fair, News Auto Atlas and Venus Pencil.

In 1930, he returned to Italy and, in 1932, displayed at the XVIII Biennale di Venezia the work Nitrito in velocità.

In 1948, he went once again in New York. However, the climate in the United States had changed dramatically and Futurist artists were no longer well regarded. Depero was forced to return to Italy without any success.
Once back in Italy, he was commissioned with some works for the Sala del Consiglio Provinciale and, in 1957, in collaboration with the City Council of Rovereto, he set up the Galleria Permanente e Museo Depero. The works later flowed into the Depero Collection conserved at MART, Museo di arte moderna e contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto.

Fortunato Depero died in Rovereto on 29 November 1960.

Grafica Depero. Cavalcata fantastica