About This Artwork

Gino Severini
Italian, 1883–1966

Festival in Montmartre, 1913

Oil on canvas
35 x 45 3/4 in. (88.9 x 116.2 cm)

Bequest of Richard S. Zeisler, 2007.281

© 2017 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

Gino Severini was a member of the Futurists, a group of Italian artists that announced its existence with a manifesto published in 1909 on the front page of Le Figaro. The Futurists urged others to ignore the past and focus on the aesthetic power of modern life. Their paintings celebrate modernity—the speed, thrill, and especially danger of factories, airplanes, automobiles, locomotives, and steamships. Their style blended Divisionism and Cubism to render "dynamic sensation" and the interpenetration of objects and their environment by superimposing different chromatic planes and lines of force.

Severini’s work focused on Parisian entertainments, nightlife, and street activities. In Festival in Montmartre, he depicted the centrifugal motion of a carousel and the liberating, yet destabilizing, effects of color, speed, and sound. The artist presented this work in his first solo exhibition in 1913, writing in the catalogue, "My object has been to convey the sensation of a body, lighted by electric lamps and gyrating in the darkness of the Boulevard. The shapes of the pink pigs and of the women seated on them are the subordinate factors to the whole, whose rotary movement they follow while undergoing displacement from head to foot and vice-versa."

— Entry, The Essential Guide, 2013, p. 256.


In 1901, while young art students in Rome, Gino Severini and his friend Boccioni were in search of something new. What they found was Divisionism, a Neo Impressionist technique that their fellow artist Giacomo Baila had brought home with him after a short sojourn in Paris. The term itself, coined by Paul Signac, refers to a method of painting with "divided" rather than mixed colors, applying them directly to the canvas in dots or patches and relying on contrast to achieve the brightest, purest effects. Severini moved to Paris hoping to study with Signac himself and soon joined the ranks of the city's avant-garde, meeting such artists as Georges Braque, Juan Gris , Amedeo Modigliani , and Pablo Picasso.

Severini, however, found his artistic call to arms when he read, on the front page of Le Figaro, the publisher and poet F. T Marinetti's announcement of the Futurist movement. This belligerent declaration urged artists to ignore art of the past—"Museums: cemeteries!" —and focus on the aesthetic power of modern life. "A race car... a roaring car," Marinetti wrote, "that seems to run on explosives is more beautiful than the Victory of Samothrace." Severini found meaning in such words and joined the Futurists alongside Baila, Boccioni, Carlo Carra, and Luigi Russolo. Their paintings celebrate modernity— the speed, thrill, and especially danger of its factories, airplanes, automobiles, locomotives, and steamships. The Futurist style, formulated in a manifesto written by Boccioni, blended Divisionism and Cubism to render "dynamic sensation," evoking the interpretation of objects and their environment by superimposing different chromatic planes and lines of force.

Severini, although a great promoter of the movement, approached his own work with a lighter touch, focusing on Parisian entertainments, nightlife, and street activities. In Festival in Montmartre, he depicted the centrifugal motion of a carousel and the liberating yet destabilizing effects of color, speed, and sound, each indistinguishable from the other. The artist displayed this work in his first solo exhibition in 1913, writing in the catalogue, "My object has been to convey the sensation of a body, lighted by electric lamps and gyrating in the darkness of the Boulevard. The shapes of the pink pigs and of the women seated on them are the subordinate factors to the whole, whose rotary movement they follow while undergoing displacement from head to foot and vice versa." Perhaps ironically, this celebration of modernity's fast pace was painstakingly produced: the overall effect of blurring velocity belies Severini's carefully plotted, meticulous construction, which consists of a tapestry of intricately woven daubs of color that overlap in rhythmic, repeating patterns.

—Entry, Art Institute of Chicago Museum Studies, Vol. 34, No. 1, Notable Acquisitions at the Art Institute of Chicago (2008), p. 62-63.

Exhibition, Publication and Ownership Histories

Exhibition History

London, Marlborough Gallery, The Futurist Painter Severini Exhibits his Latest Works, April 1913, p. 9, cat. 6, as The Fête at Montmartre.

Berlin, Galerie Der Sturm, Sechzehnte Ausstellung Gëmalde und Zeichnungen des futuristen Gino Severini, June–August 1913, p. 7, cat. 15, as Fest auf Montmartre.

Naples, Italy, Galleria Futurista, Prima Esposizione di Pittura Futurista: Boccioni, Carrà, Russolo, Balla, Severini, Soffici, May 20–June 10, 1914, p. 29, cat. 6, as La festa a Montmartre.

Zurich, Kunsthaus, Abstrakte und surrealistische Malerei und Plastik, October 6–November 3, 1929, p. 19, cat. 129, as La fête à Montmartre, 1913.

Brussels, Palais des Beaux Arts, L’Art Vivant en Europe, April 25–May 24, 1931, p. 37, cat. 527, as La Fête à Montmartre.

Amsterdam, Kunsthandel Huinck and Scherjon, Gino Severini: Exposition Retrospective, December 1–31, 1931, p. 28, cat. 4, as La Fête à Montmartre (Carroussel).

Milan, Galleria Santa Radegonda, Nell’opera di Gino Severini, May 10–June 5, 1946, n.p., cat. 2, as La Fête à Montmartre, 1912.

Paris, Galerie Billiet-Caputo, Severini, œuvres anciennes et récentes, May 21–June 21, 1947, n.p., cat. 5, as La Fête a Montmartre, 1913.

Venice, Palazzo Centrale, XXV Biennale di Venezia, June–October, 1950, p. 62, cat. 37, as Festa a Montmartre, 1913.

Paris, Musée National d'Art Moderne, L'Oeuvre du XXe Siecle, May–June 1952, n.p., cat. 104, as Fête a Montmartre, 1912-1913; traveled to London, Tate Gallery, Twentieth Century Masterpieces: An Exhibition of Paintings and Sculpture, July 15–August 17, 1952, p. 16, cat. 88, as Fête at Montmartre, 1912–13.

New York, Rose Fried Gallery, The Futurists: Balla, Severini, 1912–1918, January 25–February 26, 1954, n.p., cat. 1, as Festival in Montmartre, 1913.

New Orleans, Isaac Delgado Museum of Art, The World of Art in 1910, November 15–December 31, 1960, n.p., as Fete a Montmartre, c. 1912.

Hartford, Conn., Wadsworth Athenaeum, Salute to Italy: 100 Years of Italian Art, 1861–1961, April 21–May 28, 1961, p. 42, 43 (ill.), as Festival á Montmartre, 1912-13.

Waltham, Mass., Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, A Century of Modern European Painting, June 3–July 2, 1961, n.p., cat. 37, as Festival at Montmartre, 1912-13.

Rotterdam, Museum Boymans-van Beuningen, Gino Severini, June 28–September 1, 1963, n.p., cat. 10 (ill.), as Fete a Montmarte (Feest te Montmartre), 1912.

Paris, Musée d’art moderne, Gino Severini, July–October, 1967, p. 5, 7, 16 (ill.), cat. 20, as la Fête a Montmartre, 1913.

Dusseldorf, Städtische Kunsthalle, Futurismus 1909-1917: Wir setzen den Betrachter mitten ins Bild, March 15–April 28 1974, n.p., cat. 151, as Fest auf dem Montmartre (Fête à Montmartre), 1913.

Purchase, Neuberger Museum, State University of New York, Soundings, September 20–December 23, 1981, p. 12, 54 (ill.), as Festival at Montmartre, 1913.

Philadelphia Museum of Art, Futurism and the International Avant-garde, October 26, 1980–January 4, 1981, n.p., cat. 69 (ill.), as Festival in Montmartre (Carousel), 1913.

Florence, Palazzo Pitti, Gino Severini, 1883-1966, June 25–September 25, 1983, p. 17, 70 (ill.), as Festa a Montmartre, 1913.

Winnipeg Art Gallery, 1912, Break Up of Tradition, August 7–October 4, 1987, p. 204-205 (ill.), as Festival at Montmartre/Fête à Montmartre, 1913.

New Haven, Conn., Yale University Art Gallery, Severini futurista: 1912–1917, October 18, 1995–January 7, 1996, p. 16 (ill.), 17, 74 (ill.), 75, cat. 7, as Festival at Montmartre, 1913; traveled to Fort Worth, Texas, Kimbell Art Museum, February 11–April 7, 1996.

Barcelona, Museu Picasso, Futurisme 1909-1916, May 8–July 21, 1996, p. 186, cat. 90 (ill.), as Festa a Montmartre, 1913.

New York, The Jewish Museum, Berlin Metropolis: Jews and the New Culture, 1890-1918, November 14, 1999–April 23, 2000, p. 99 (ill.), 131, pl. 18, as Festival at Montmartre, 1913.

Venice, Peggy Guggenheim Collection, May 26–October 28, 2001, Gino Severini: The Dance 1909–1916, pp. 21, 82, 83 (ill.), cat. 8, as Fête à Montmartre (Carousel), The Fête at Montmartre (Carousel), 1913.

Publication History

Gino Severini, The Futurist Painter Severini Exhibits his Latest Works, exh. cat. (London: Marlborough Gallery, 1913), p. 9, cat. 6, as The Fête at Montmartre.

Galerie Der Sturm, Sechzente Ausstellung Gëmalde und Zeichnungen des futuristen Gino Severini, exh. cat. (Berlin: Galerie Der Sturm, 1913), p. 7, cat. 15, as Fest auf Montmartre.

Galleria Futurista, Prima Esposizione di Pittura Futurista: Boccioni, Carrà, Russolo, Balla, Severini, Soffici, exh. cat. (Naples: Galleria Futurista, 1914), p. 29, cat. 6, as La festa a Montmartre.

Kunsthaus Zurich, Abstrakte und surrealistische Malerei und Plastik, exh. cat. (Zurich: Kunsthaus Zurich, 1929), p. 19, cat. 129, as La fête à Montmartre, 1913.

Pierre Courthion, Arte Moderna Italiana 17: Gino Severini (Milan: La Libreria Ulrico Hoepli, 1930), n.p. (ill.), as Festa a Montmartre, 1913.

Palais des Beaux Arts, L’Art Vivant en Europe (Brussels: n.p., 1931), p. 37, cat. 527, as La Fête à Montmartre.

Kunsthandel Huinck and Scherjon, Gino Severini: Exposition Retrospective, exh. cat. (Amsterdam: Kunsthandel Huinck and Scherjon, 1931), p. 28, cat. 4, as La Fête à Montmartre (Carroussel).

Galleria Santa Radegonda, Nell’opera di Gino Severini, exh. cat. (Milan: Arte-Edizioni, 1946), n.p., cat. 2, as La Fête à Montmartre, 1912.

Galerie Billiet-Caputo, Severini, œuvres anciennes et récentes, exh. cat. (Paris: Galerie Billiet-Caputo, 1947), n.p., cat. 5, as La Fête a Montmartre, 1913.

Raffaele Carrieri, Pittura e Scultura d’Avanguardia in Italia, 1890–1950 (Milan: Conchiglia, 1950), p. 51, 54 (ill.) as Festa a Montmartre, 1912.

Giovanni Ponti, XXV Biennale di Venezia, exh. cat. (Venice: Alfieri Editore, 1950), p. 62, cat. 37, as Festa a Montmartre, 1913.

Musée National d'Art Moderne, L'Oeuvre du XXe siecle, exh. cat. (Paris: Musée National d’Art Moderne, 1952), n.p., cat. 104, as Fête at Montmartre, 1912–13.

Tate Gallery, XXth Century Masterpieces, exh. cat. (London: The Arts Council, 1952), p. 16, cat. 88, as Fête at Montmartre, 1912–13.

Jacques Maritain, The Futurists: Balla, Severini, 1912–1918, exh. cat. (New York: Rose Fried Gallery, 1954), n.p. cat. 1, as Festival in Montmartre, 1913.

Berggruen & Cie, Oeuvres futuristes et cubistes, exh. cat. (Paris: Berggruen & Cie, 1956), n.p., as La Fête à Montmartre.

Maria Drudi Gambillo and Teresa Fiori, Archivi del Futurismo I (Rome: De Luca Editore, 1958), p. 459, as Festa a Montmartre.

Sue M. Thurman, The World of Art in 1910, exh. cat. (New Orleans: Isaac Delgado Museum of Art, 1960), n.p., as Fete a Montmartre, c. 1912.

Edward Bryant, Michael R. Campo, and Filippo Donini, Salute to Italy: 100 Years of Italian Art, 1861–1961, exh. cat. (Hartford, Conn.: Wadsworth Athenaeum, 1961), pp. 42, 43 (ill.), as Festival à Montmartre, 1912-13.

Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, A Century of Modern European Painting, exh. cat. (Waltham, Mass.: Rose Art Museum, 1961), n.p., cat. 37, as Festival at Montmartre, 1912-13.

Maria Drudi Gambillo and Teresa Fiori, Archivi del Futurismo II (Rome: De Luca Editore, 1962), pp. 316 (ill.), 338, fig. 19, as Festa a Montmartre.

Museum Boymans-van Beuningen, Gino Severini, exh. cat. (Rotterdam: Gemeente-drukkerij, 1963), n.p., cat. 10 (ill.), as Fete a Montmarte (Feest te Montmartre), 1912.

Piero Pacini, Severini (Milan: Sadea-Sansoni, 1966), pp. 13, 31, fig. 28, as Fête à Montmartre (Carrousel), 1913.

Musée National d’Art Moderne, Gino Severini, exh. cat. (Paris: Ministère d’état affaires culturelles, 1967), pp. 5, 6, 7, 16, cat. 20 (ill.), as Fete a Montmartre, 1913.

Umbro Apollonio, Futurismo (Milan: Gabriel Mazzotta, 1970), p. 287, cat. 84 (ill.), as Festa a Montmartre, 1913.

Städtische Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, Futurismus 1909-1917: Wir setzen den Betrachter mitten ins Bild, exh. cat. (Dusseldorf: Städtische Kunsthalle, 1974), fig. 17 (ill.), cat. 151, as Fest auf dem Montmartre (Fête à Montmartre), 1913.

Anne d’Harnoncourt, Futurism and the International Avant-garde, exh. cat. (Philadelphia: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1980), n.p., cat. 69 (ill.), as Festival in Montmartre (Carousel), 1913.

Neuberger Museum, State University of New York College at Purchase, Soundings, exh. cat. (Purchase: The Museum, 1981), pp. 12, 54 (ill.), as Festival at Montmartre, 1913.

Palazzo Pitti, Gino Severini, exh. Cat. (Florence: Electa, 1983), pp. 17, 70 (ill.), as Festa a Montmartre, 1913.

Sandra Berreford, “Review: Gino Severini (1883-1966). Florence, Palazzo Pitti,” The Burlington Magazine, v. 125, no. 966 (September 1983), pp. 575, n. 18, as Festa a Montmartre, 1913.
Palazzo Grassi, Futurismo e Futurismi, exh. cat. (Milan: Bompiani, 1986), pp. 231 (ill.), as Festa a Montmartre, 1913.

Louise d’ Argencourt, 1912, Break Up of Tradition, exh. cat., (Winnipeg: The Gallery, 1987), pp. 204-205 (ill.), as Festival at Montmartre/Fête à Montmartre, 1913.

Daniela Fonti, Gino Severini, Catalogo ragionato (Milan: Arnoldo Mondadori, 1988), p. 131 (ill.), as Fête à Montmartre, 1913.

Anne Coffin Hanson, Severini futurista: 1912–1917, exh. cat. (New Haven: Yale University Art Gallery, 1995), pp. 16 (ill.), 17, 74 (ill.), 75, cat. 7, as Festival at Montmartre, 1913.

Museu Picasso, Futurisme, 1909-1916, exh. cat. (Barcelona: Àmbit/Museu Picasso/Institut de Cultura, Ajuntament de Barcelona, 1996), p. 186, cat. 90 (ill.), as Festa a Montmartre, 1913.

Emily D. Bilski, Berlin Metropolis: Jews and the New Culture, 1890-1918, exh. cat. (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1999), pp. 99 (ill.), 131, pl. 18, as Festival at Montmartre, 1913.

Daniela Fonti, Gino Severini: The Dance 1909–1916, exh. cat. (Milan: Skira Editore, 2001), pp. 21, 82, 83 (ill.), cat. 8, as Fête à Montmartre (Carousel), The Fête at Montmartre (Carousel), 1913.

___, Luce + velocità + rumore. La città futurista di Gino Severini, exh. cat. (Milan: Skira, 2005), pp. 16 (ill.), 18, as Fête à Montmartre, 1913.

Stephanie D'Alessandro, "Notable Acquisitions at the Art Institute of Chicago," Art Institute of Chicago Museum Studies 34, no. 1 (2008), p. 62, ill. p. 63.

Staphanie D'Alessamdro, Matisse:Ratical Invention 1913-1917. Exh. cat (Art Institute of Chicago, 2010), p. 205, cat. 26b.

Ownership History

Rose Fried Gallery, New York, by 1954, probably acquired directly from the artist by 1952 [letter, March 26, 1961, from Gino Severini to Rose Fried in curatorial file]; sold to Richard S. Zeisler, New York, by 1958 [receipt in curatorial file].




View mobile website