Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Finding aid for the Umberto Boccioni papers, 1898-1986
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (112.45 Kb) HTML
Search this collection
Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Biographical/Historical Note
  • Administrative Information
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Umberto Boccioni papers
    Date (inclusive): 1898-1986
    Number: 880380
    Creator/Collector: Boccioni, Umberto, 1882-1916
    Physical Description: 3.0 linear feet (5 boxes)
    The Getty Research Institute
    Special Collections
    1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
    Los Angeles, California, 90049-1688
    (310) 440-7390
    Abstract: The papers contain manuscripts, correspondence, diaries, photographs, clippings, ephemera, and other material by and about the Futurist artist and theoretician. The collection is especially representative of his Futurist period (1910-1915), and includes a number of essays, most of which were collected in the book, Pittura scultura futuriste (Dinamismo Plastico), as well as a compendium of articles regarding the 1985 show, Boccioni a Venezia.
    Request Materials: Request access to the physical materials described in this inventory through the catalog record  for this collection. Click here for the access policy .
    Language: Collection material is in Italian

    Biographical/Historical Note

    Umberto Boccioni, born in Reggio Calabria in 1882, spent his childhood in Genova, Padova and Catania, and began his artistic career in Rome, where he worked with Giacomo Balla, who was then a Divisionist. In 1902 he went to Paris to study Impressionism and Cubism, traveled to Russia, and spent two years in Padova and Venice. He finally settled in Milan, where he met F.T. Marinetti in 1910 and became a Futurist, authoring, along with Carrà, Russolo, Balla, and Severini, "Manifesto dei pittori futuristi" (1910) and "Manifesto tecnico della pittura futurista" (1910). During the following five years, Boccioni produced what is generally considered Futurism's finest artistic legacy. Where other Futurist artists found a mechanical or formulaic solution to the problem of dynamism, Boccioni sought to portray dynamism as a dimension of consciousness. Thus, in the series "Dinamismi" (1913), or in works such as "Antigrazioso," and "Scomposizione di figure di donne a tavola," the object exists in complex relationship both to its environment and to the viewer's experience of it. He also published a number of theoretical essays about painting and sculpture, collected in the book Pittura scultura futuriste (Dinamismo Plastico) (1914), and traveled to various European cities, organizing Futurist shows and giving lectures. In 1915, he volunteered to serve in the great war and died after falling from his horse during a military drill.

    Administrative Information


    Open for use by qualified researchers.

    Publication Rights

    Preferred Citation

    Umberto Boccioni papers, 1898-1986, Getty Research Institute, Research Library, Accession no. 880380.

    Acquisition Information

    Acquired 1988

    Processing History

    The archive was first processed and described in 1988. Annette Leddy re-processed it and wrote a new finding aid and description in December 1994. The following books were consulted: Umberto Boccioni, Opera completa. A cura e con prefazione di F. T. Marinetti, 1927; Umberto Boccioni, Gli scritti editi e inediti. A cura di Zeno Birolli, 1971; Umberto Boccioni, Altri inediti e apparati critici. A cura di Zeno Birolli, 1972.
    In April 2016, Pietro Rigolo wrote a new finding aid and description for Series I. Correspondence.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The Umberto Boccioni papers consist primarily of handwritten manuscripts from Boccioni's Futurist phase (1910-1915), many of which were collected, often in somewhat different form, in his book, Pittura scultura futuriste (Dinamismo Plastico). The notes and rough draft manuscripts offer a glimpse of Boccioni's compositional method and the evolution of his ideas during his very productive final five years. Most of the correspondence is from this period as well, and is generally from Futurist colleagues to Boccioni, with a few letters from Boccioni or to Marinetti. There are also a number of letters from or between family members, dating from 1899, as well as consolation letters to family members following Boccioni's premature death, with a few letters from the 1950's. Diaries and photographs supplement the papers, offering further evidence of Boccioni's deep commitment to his work. Numerous clippings about Boccioni's work and life emphasize his importance as a 20th c. artist.

    Arrangement note

    The papers are organized in 4 series: Series I: Correspondence, 1898-1965; Series II: Manuscripts, notes and clippings, 1910-1916; Series III: Personal, 1907-1915; Series IV: Printed ephemera, 1912-1986.

    Indexing Terms

    Subjects - Names

    Boccioni, Umberto, 1882-1916
    Morandi, Giorgio, 1890-1964
    Nyst, Ray
    Pratella, Francesco Balilla, 1880-1955
    Russolo, Luigi
    Severini, Gino, 1883-1966
    Sironi, Mario, 1885-1961
    Sprovieri, Paolo
    Walden, Herwarth, 1878-1941

    Subjects - Topics

    Architecture--Italy--20th century
    Art criticism--History--20th century--Italy
    Art, Italian--20th century
    Futurism (Art)
    Italian poetry--20th century
    Painting, Italian--20th century
    Sculpture, Italian--20th century
    World War, 1914-1918--Campaigns--Italy

    Subjects - Titles

    Boccioni a Venezia Pittura, scultura futuriste

    Genres and Forms of Material

    Clippings (information artifacts)
    Photographic prints--20th century


    Aleramo, Sibilla, 1876-1960
    Amendola Kühn, Eva, b. 1880
    Balla, Giacomo, 1871-1958
    Buzzi, Paolo, d. 1956
    Carrà, Carlo, 1881-1966
    Cecchi, Emilio, 1884-1966
    Dottori, Gerardo, 1884-1977
    Marinetti, Filippo Tommaso, 1876-1944