The oeuvre of Roberto Iras Baldessari reflects the mighty changes that have characterised the art world in the early-20th century. During this period, the historical avant-gardes were pushing for a drastic revolution in the way art was made and experienced, often with a underlying progressist political intent.
The work is an oil painting on canvas made in the early 1920s. At the time, Baldessari was already in contact with the Futurist movement, which may be considered the most important avant-garde group active in Italy from the first World War to the Fascist era. The use of green together with the acidic tones of yellow and pink evokes the effect of artificial electric light. This had already inspired, around the same period, the oeuvre of Balla and Boccioni. See for example The Laugh, where Balla employs the same juxtaposition of colours to create a dazzling chiaroscuro effect. His choice is fully modern and resonates with many works produced by Baldessari, including the painting presented here.
Ballerina Spagnola is included in the painter’s catalogue raisonné, where it is labelled as lost, its location unknown. Indeed, the work had passed unnoticed for a long time and only recently it has resurfaced as part of a Milanese private collection. For this reason, it is an outstanding art-historical document, which fully returns now as part of Baldessari’s traceable oeuvre. In this regard, as evidenced above, the work presents the main features of the artist’s style in the early 1920s and, more broadly, it stand as a bright example of Italian Futurist art during one of the most dense periods of Western art history. Moreover, the work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity which together with its exceptional history makes this lot a unique occasion for collectors interested in Baldessari’s production.
In the next auction, Baldessari’s oeuvre will stand next to other fundamental works related to the theme of Futurism; for example, the painting N.3 by Mario Schifano, described in a previous article on our website. Both cases present works of extreme value and variously related to the history of one of the most influential Italian art movements of the 20th century. Furthermore, both works present a unique individual history which makes the selection for the coming sale an extraordinary chance to get closer to the great masters of Italian painting.