© 2013 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / SIAE, Rome

Vortex with Radiations, 1913–14

Graphite on off-white wove paper
42.5 x 63 cm (16 3/4 x 24 13/16 in.)
Gift of Sylvia and Joseph Slifka in honor of Frederick R. and Jan Perry Mayer
2004-54
© 2013 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / SIAE, Rome
The eldest and most versatile of the Italian Futurists, Balla was also the first to experiment with pure abstraction, translating his analytic and exuberant observations of moving objects (scampering dachshunds, rotating tires, swooping birds) into a synthetic language that celebrated the dynamism of motion, light, and sound. This large gestural drawing belongs to a group of similar sheets that explore the phenomenon of the vortex and relate to several paintings and assemblages (called "plastic complexes") carried out by Balla in 1913–14.