Carrà was born in Quargnento, in the province of Alessandria, Italy, in 1881 to a family of artisans. After working as a mural decorator for about ten years in the cities of Valenza Po, Milan, Paris, London and Bellinzona, in 1906 he enrolled at the Brera Art Academy, where he met the young painters Bonzagni, Romani, Valeri and Boccioni. In 1910 together with Marinetti, Boccioni and Russolo he wrote a manifesto addressing young artists, encouraging them to adopt a new expressive language. Balla and Severini did just that: this was the start of futurism.
Funeral of the Anarchist Galli
In early 1913 the futurist movement also became a point of reference for the Florence based group of artists “la Voce”, who were setting up the new magazine “Lacerba”, directed by Papini and Soffici. Carrà regularly contributed to the magazine “Lacerba” with articles and drawings. At the same time he cultivated closer ties with the French cubists and in 1914 moved to Paris for several months. But he was already moving away from futurism: his collages were a first clear sign of the break from the Marinetti movement. This was the start of a period of reflection and study of the classics for Carrà, as he looked to Giotto and Paolo Uccello; his first metaphysical paintings date back to around this time.
Called up to fight in the war, Carrà spent time at Pieve di Cento but, for health reasons, was sent to the military hospital in Ferrara, where he met De Chirico, Savinio, Govoni and De Pisis. In 1919 he returned to Milan and married Ines Minoja. He later went through a period of interior and artistic breakdown, from which he emerged with a fresh vision of painting, as he strived to simplify imagery. This is the background to his third artistic stage, the so-called “lyric realism”, which began in 1921. He definitively embraced a new synthesis between idea and nature and his preferred subjects were landscapes. In 1923 he went to Camogli, in Liguria. From 1926 on he spent several months in Forte dei Marmi, in Versilia, where he was left in awe of the bright, solitary landscapes, the deserted beaches, the mountains reaching down to the sea, the abandoned huts.
As well as his work as an artist, Carrà fought a battle to breathe life into modern art, writing criticism and aesthetic doctrines. He worked with the magazine “Lacerba” and “La Voce”, with “Valori Plastici”, “Esprit Nouveau”, “La Fiera letteraria” and the daily newspaper “L’Ambrosiano”.
The artist died on 13th April 1966, after a sudden illness.
Il pino sul mare