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Man Drinking
at the Spring

The Futurist movement was founded in Milan in 1909 and included the painters Boccioni, Carlo Carrą, Giacomo Balla, Luigi Russolo, and Gino Severini. It was inspired and promoted by the poet Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, who published the Futurist Manifesto in the Paris newspaper Le Figaro.

The artists in the group shared a style that derived from Divisionism, strongly influenced by French Cubism. Predominant themes were machinery, the modern city, and speed. The earliest manifestations of Futurism developed from the middle of the second decade of the century, representing Italy’s main contribution to the international panorama of the historical avant-gardes.

The themes of machines and modernity remained a characteristic of the second phase of Futurism, which in the years between the two world wars constituted one of the most advanced components, also on the official level, of Italian artistic production. Marinetti continued to be its indisputed leader, and it was he who invited Sassu to contribute to the Futurist room at the 1928 Biennale in Venice.


The Factory

Sassu’s Futurist period, which was part of the second phase of Futurism, dates from the earliest years of his activity until about 1930. His fundamental model was Boccioni, many of whose works Sassu could see directly in the studio of another exponent of this second Futurism, Fedele Azari. However, Sassu’s greatest response was to what could be defined as the most "classical" aspect of Boccioni’s Futurism, that is, the search for a solidity of figure within a dynamic structure of the painting.

His typically Futurist works are Plastic Nude, 1928, for which two preparatory drawings survive, and Man Drinking at the Spring, 1928, as well as the series of monochrome drawings for Marinetti’s novel Mafarka il futurista. Many works from this same period (The Return, The Woker, The Builders, Ultradecoration, The Factory, The Miners) are also close in style and idea to those of his friend Giandante X, somewhere between Expressionism and Constructivism.