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    Gino Severini. Autograph Manuscript Signed.
    "Gino Severini." Four pages in French, 8.25" x 10.5", [Paris?]; [circa 1915-1920]. In this manuscript on Futurism and Cubism, Severini writes [English translation], "When Modigliani and I arrived in Paris in 1906 as young men, no one had their ideas very straight.

    However, though we were not aware of it, we knew quite a lot; we came to realize this in time.

    In the early years we came to notice a duality deep within ourselves, one side of which is unknown to the conscious mind and which leaps forth during the creative process and supplants that which we think, and hope, we are.

    It is challenging to reconcile these two personas but in reconciliation lies true personality.

    My initial discovery of Seurat, who I adopted as my master from the first moment, helped me a great deal to express myself through both personas despite the frequent opposition between them.

    That opposition tortured me, I cannot deny it, but I found comfort in William Blake: 'Without opposites there is no progress', he writes in his Proverbes de l'Enfer.

    This thought of Baudelaire's also: 'Variety is a sine qua non condition for life', seems to fit in perfectly with my aspirations and intentions as a futurist painter to substitute life for reasoning in the Cubist artwork of that period.

    At first, the Cubists' method for apprehending their subject was to circle it; futurists claimed that one had to enter into it.

    My take is that the two tendencies can find agreement through poetical knowledge of the world.

    However, by calling upon the depths of artists' creativity by awakening hidden, intuitive and enlivening forces, futurist theories, more so than cubist concepts, have opened up unexplored and limitless horizons.

    On the other hand, the intellectual abstraction of the second period of Cubism is of great importance. By aspiring to the eternal and by its 'notion of standards/moderation inspired by classical painting' [the portion in quotes is in quotes in the letter with no attribution] has reignited for many painters a concern with the 'craft' of painting.

    This coincided perfectly with another ambition of mine, namely to create an object through painting with the same degree of perfection that a carpenter would make a piece of furniture.

    Cubism's decorative and ornamental potential has often been discounted. This is a grave mistake; Cubism had the capacity to give rise to a 'mural art' ['moral'?], an 'applied art' with significant artistic and historical importance; a few artists, including myself, proved this.

    Furthermore, the search for movement and a dynamic perception of the world, the basis of futurist theories, did not imply that one strictly painted moving cars or dancers leaping through the air. A seated figure or random object, apparently static, could be perceived dynamically and rendered thusly.

    Here is an example: Portrait de Mme. S. in 1912 and Femme assise in 1914.

    The point of this reflection, too brief at that, is to assist those who wish to take a deep dive into my work from either the futurist or cubist perspective.

    Futurism and cubism are just as seminal as the invention of perspective, for which they replaced a new conception of space.

    All movements that came after them are yet contained in them, or at least provoked by them.

    As far as I am concerned, these two movements cannot be opposed although their origins were opposed. I subscribe to the idea (that Apollinaire and then Matisse approved of) that they are at either end of a line and are destined to meet on certain points that only the artist's poetic instinct will find: poetry being the substance and raison d'être of art."

    Gino Severini (1883-1966) was an Italian painter and a leading member of the Futurist movement. He was associated with neo-classicism and the "return to order" in the decade after the First World War. During his career, Severini worked in a variety of media, including mosaic and fresco.

    A fascinating discourse on Futurism and Cubism by a leader of the futurist movement.

    Condition: The letter has light folds plus staple holes at the top left-hand corner of page 1 and the top right-hand corner of page 3; otherwise good.


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    Auction Dates
    September, 2019
    4th Wednesday
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