Kroller-Muller Museum acquires painting by Giacomo Balla

The Kroller-Muller Museum in Otterlo has acquired Forme rumore di motocicletta (1913-1914, oil and gouache on paper, 73 x 101 cm) by Giacomo Balla (1871-1957), thanks to the support of the BankGiro Lottery, the Rembrandt Association, SNS REAAL Fund, VSB Foundation and the Mondriaan Foundation. The painting, which comes from a private collection, has been acquired for a sum of 2.8 million euros and is therefore the most valuable acquisition in the history of the museum.

Giacomo Balla (1871-1957), Forme rumore di motocicletta, 1913-1914. Oil and gouache on paper,

Giacomo Balla (1871-1957), Forme rumore di motocicletta, 1913-1914. Oil and gouache on paper,

Through the acquisition of Forme rumore di motocicletta the Kröller-Müller Museum is now able as the only museum in the Netherlands to present Futurism as an integral part of art history in the museum collection. In the 1970s the museum acquired Volo di rondini (1913) by Giacomo Balla and the sculpture Forme uniche della continuità nello spazio (1913) by Umberto Boccioni.

Recently the presentation of Futurism could be supplemented by Le Tour Eiffel, La danza dell’orso and Ritratto femminile by Gino Severini (1883-1964), which are also works from when the movement was at its peak, and which the museum now has on long-term loan.

Balla was one of the leading figures of Futurism, a predominantly Italian movement which embraced the dynamics of modern society, which was best expressed in the speed and the technology of the machine. He made Forme rumore di motocicletta after a ride on a motorbike (motocicletta), which was at the time an unprecedented sensation.

The circling bands and lines in the painting evoke the spatial movements of the motorbike: the revolving tyres, the gear wheels and bike chain. The two white star- shapes which seem to explode out of the gear wheels like metal sparks are the actual forme rumore: the sounds of the combustion engine and especially the bangs from the exhaust pipe. The yellow and green planes refer to the gardens of the Villa Borghese and the Pincio hill, which was the backdrop for Balla’s inspirational bike ride.

Forme rumore di motocicletta is one of the few definitive works in which Balla, besides the sensation of speed, also wanted to represent the sensation of the accompanying noise of the internal combustion engine. The painting is, in short, a highly characteristic expression of the Futuristic core concept of ‘dynamic sensation’, of the total experience of contemporary dynamics.