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Antonio Giulio Bragaglia
Danzatrice (The Dancers)
1911-1913 (taken) 1932 (printed)
Photomechanical postcard, back
3 1/2 x 5 1/2 ins (8.9 x 14 cm) (image)
Swann Galleries - New York
21 February 2019, Photographs: Art & Visual Culture, Auction: 2499, Lot: 48
Dattilografa (Typist) * Il Pittore Giacomon Balla (The Futurist Painter Giacomo Balla) * Scrutando (Peering Woman) * The Walking Man * Danzatrice (The Dancers) * Lo Schiaffo (The Slap).
The Futurist artists Anton Giulio Bragaglia and his brother, Arturo, were prankers-cum-photographers inspired by 19th-century motion studies by both Muybridge and Marey and Spiritualist images of mediums spouting ectoplasm. Anton Giulio emerged as a vocal spokesperson for the Futurist Movement, whose members had a complicated relationship with photography. Initially Boccioni would not acknowledge photography as an artistic medium. And Balla summarily dismissed the medium, which was characterized as static and "necromorphic." However for a brief two year period, 1911-13, the brothers produced a unique and innovative body of work that articulated a new representational modality, one that conveyed a kinetic sense of time and space. They preferred photographing performative daily activities--looking, dancing, walking, typing--to rendering static portraits. Bragaglia referred to his atmospheric, instantaneous studies as "photodynamics" and, in 1913, published "Fotodinamismo Futurista," which the art historian Giovanni Lista considers the "first essay on photographic theory and aesthetics to be produced by the avant-garde of the twentieth-century."
Ostracized by artists associated with the Futurist movement, unsurprisingly, by 1914, Anton Giulio began to focus his attentions on film. And in October 1918 he opened the Casa d'arte Bragaglia [Bragaglia's House of Art], which existed in Rome until 1943 as an exhibition space for Futurist art and a destination for intellectuals and artists. With his brother Carlo Ludovico Bragaglia he also created the Teatro degli Indipendenti in 1922, a theater they operated until 1928.
The letter to Marinetti, which is signed by Bragaglia and on the Compagnia del Teatro Delle Arti stationery, is enclosed in an (unmailed) envelope. A translation from the Italian reads: "A series of Fotodinamiche postcards is attached to the present, which may be distributed on the occasion of the Trieste exhibition. Please let me know if it should proceed."