2021 IAS Research and Publication Grant

Dr. Jennifer Griffiths (Art Historian and Academic Coordinator, University of Georgia Cortona Program)

Marisa Mori and the Futurists

Marisa Mori trained in Turin with Felice Casorati executing enigmatic paintings in the manner of his return-to-order magic realism and became the only female contributor to The Futurist Cookbook (1932). She exhibited internationally with the Futurists for a decade and was given a solo show by Anton Giulio Bragaglia at his gallery in Rome in 1934. In the same year she accepted F.T. Marinetti’s aviation challenge to fly in an early acrobatic biplane, receiving his seal of approval as a bona fide aeropainter. Unlike many of her peers she rejected the 1938 Race Laws. During the Nazi occupation of Florence she participated in the resistance by sheltering her friend and colleague Paola Levi-Montalcini, as well as her future Nobel-prize winning twin sister Rita, and their architect brother, Gino.

In Modern Women, Griselda Pollock argued that even though women were active makers of the modern moment, they are still mostly missing from conventional accounts. Only if we recuperate their narratives and accomplishments can we reevaluate the masculine myths of modernism. Few people know anything about the women of Italian Futurism in part because many of their archives and art works have been lost or destroyed. Drawing on a large family archive of surviving letters, notes, clippings, publications, photographs, and artworks, this monograph contributes to a growing pool of knowledge about the activities of Futurist women, offering a sustained and contextualized analysis of her major contributions, attempting, in Griselda Pollock’s words, to “understand a differentiating history of a nonheroic avant-garde ‘in, of, and from the feminine.’”

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