Roberto Marcello Baldessari (1894 Innsbruck – 1965 Rome)
Piazza San Marco in Venice
Material: Oil on canvas
Dimension: 40 x 50 cm
About the Artist:
Roberto Marcello Baldessari was born in Innsbruck on March 23, 1894.
In 1915, he moved with his family to Florence, where he enrolled in the Santa Croce Professional School of Decorative and Industrial Arts.Here he also began to frequent the Le Giubbe Rosse café where he met Florentine Futurists, in particular Primo Conti, Achille Lega, Emilio Notte, Ottone Rosai, Emilio Settimelli, Ardengo Soffici and Lucio Venna.During this period Baldessari developed his own Futurist style, taking as his model the analytical method of Umberto Boccioni as opposed to the analogical method of Giacomo Balla and Fortunato Depero.In 1916 he made a trip to Milan where he met Filippo Tommaso Marinetti and other Lombard futurists, and later was a guest of Nino Pasi in Lugo, where he participated in the Esposizione d’arte.He also began to collaborate on the magazines L’Italia futurista and Roma futurista. In 1918 he again went to Milan, where he participated in a group exhibition at the Palazzo della Permanente.The following year he participated with 14 paintings in the National Futurist Exhibition at Palazzo Cova in Milan.
Between 1920 and 1925 Baldessari stayed in Central Europe: in Berlin he met German painters Max Liebermann and Max Beckmann, Ukrainian sculptor Alexander Archipenko and Der Sturm editor Herwarth Walden, in Hannover Justus Bier, Kurt Schwitters and Friedrick Vordemberge-Gildewart. In 1921 he participated in the Futurist exhibition in Paris. In the following years he stayed in France and Spain, and to distinguish himself from architect Luciano Baldessari he adopted the name “Iras.” In 1923-1924 he expands his artistic horizons to Dadaism and abstractionism; however, his experiments are not understood in Italy. He then decides to devote himself to landscape painting and engraving, particularly etchings. In 1925 he returned to Italy and the following year held a solo exhibition at the Casa d’arte Bragaglia in Rome. From 1926 to 1930 he lived in Rome, where he produced the Roman Puntesecche, Roman Lithographs and Roman Drawings.
From 1930 to 1935 Baldessari travels again to Europe, particularly to Switzerland, Germany and France. He exhibits in Zurich, Hamburg, Berlin, Paris and in 1934 participates in the Futurist section of the Venice Art Biennale. In the same year he also participates in the Italian Aeropittura Exhibition desired by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti. However, he very soon abandoned this return to futurism in order to devote himself again to engravings and frescoes. In 1939 he participated in the Mostra d’Oltremare in Naples and the following year he settled permanently in Rovereto. In October-November 1940 he participated in the IX exhibition of the Sindacato fascista belle arti in Bolzano with a portrait, executed together with Lucillo Grassi, of Italo Balbo, obtaining third prize in the category of works extolling the “era of Mussolini.” In 1957 the first monograph on Baldessari’s work was published by Rinaldo Corti, focusing on the Futurist period. In 1958 he was included in the Archivi del Futurismo by Maria Drudi Gambillo and Teresa Fiori. In 1962 Riccardo Maroni’s monograph Roberto Iras Baldessari. Painter and Engraver, containing autobiographical notes on the artist. In the same year he held a major solo exhibition at Galleria Toninelli in Milan. On June 22, 1965 he died of heart failure in Rome.
One of Baldessari’s leading scholars is art historian Maurizio Scudiero, who compiled a Catalogue raisonné of the artist’s Futurist works and curated the retrospective R.M. Baldessari. Futurist Works at the Fonte d’Abisso Gallery in Milan in 1997.In 2011, however, it was the Casa d’arte futurista Depero in Rovereto that dedicated the exhibition Roberto Iras Baldessari. Deposits and Acquisitions at Mart.