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Gallery Text

Severini was a prominent painter of Italian futurism, the first strategically organized avant-garde art movement of the twentieth century. It was launched by poet, polemicist, and entrepreneur Filippo Tommaso Marinetti in 1909. The futurists declared war on traditional art and outmoded cultural institutions and proclaimed the advent of an aesthetic that would embody the dynamism of modern life and its enhancement by technology. The Yellow Dancers was one of eight seminal works by Severini included in the first major futurist exhibition, held in Paris in February 1912. Two cabaret dancers whirling in a spotlight are reduced to scattered shards of black, yellow, and fleshy pink, following a principle stated in the 1910 Technical Manifesto of Futurist Painting: “movement and light destroy the materiality of bodies.”

Identification and Creation
Object Number
Gino Severini, Italian (Cortona, Italy 1883 - 1966 Paris, France)
The Yellow Dancers
Work Type
c. 1911-1912
Persistent Link
Level 1, Room 1300, Modern and Contemporary Art, Early Modernism
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Physical Descriptions
Oil on canvas
45.7 x 61 x 2.3 cm (18 x 24 x 7/8 in.)
framed: 64 x 79 x 5.5 cm (25 3/16 x 31 1/8 x 2 3/16 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • Signed: On stretcher, u.r., graphite: Gino Severini
Gino Severini created 1912, sold; to [R. R. Meyer-See, The Sackville Gallery London] (1912-?). [Stuttgarter Kunstkabinett, Stuttgart, 29-30 May, 1956, no. 1154], sold; to [Saidenberg Gallery, New York], sold; to Joseph H. Hazen (1958-1961), gift; to Fogg Art Museum, 1961.

Note: D. Fonti has stated that the painting was taken to the United States shortly after its 1912 sale in London.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph H. Hazen
© Gino Severini / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris
Accession Year
Object Number
Modern and Contemporary Art
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Publication History

Milton Keyes, Arts: A Third Level Course: Modern Art 1848 to the Present: Styles and Social, The Open University Press (United Kingdom), mentioned p. 143, reproduced p. 143, fig. 103

Marianne W. Martin, Futurist Art and Theory 1909-1915, The Clarendon Press (Oxford, England, 1968), Text pps. 101-102; reproduced b/w, Pl. 71

Anne d'Harnoncourt, Futurism and The International Avant-Garde, exh. cat., Philadelphia Museum of Art (Philadelphia, PA, 1980), no. 64, reproduced b/w; text, p.21

Anna Gruetzner Robins, Modern Art in Britain, 1910-1914, exh. cat., Merrell Holberton (London, England, 1997), p. 62 repro., cat. 182

Daniela Fonti, Gino Severini: The Dance 1909-1916, St. Martin's Press (2001), page 71

Flavio Fergonzi, The Mattoli Collection: Masterpieces of the Italian Avant-garde, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation (New York, 2003), pp. 330-331 (ill in. b/w)

Le Futurisme a Paris: une avant-garde explosive, Editions du Centre Pompidou (Paris, 2008), p. 170-171, fig. 43

Exhibition History

Cubism: Explorations and Adaptations, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 09/18/1982 - 10/26/1982

Masterpieces of European Art, Busch-Reisinger Museum, Cambridge, 06/22/1985 - 09/15/1985

Modern Art in Britain 1910-1914, Barbican Art Gallery, London, 02/20/1997 - 05/26/1997

Futurism and Paris, Musée National d'Art Moderne, Paris, 10/15/2008 - 01/26/2009; Scuderie del Quirinale, Rome, 02/20/2009 - 05/24/2009; Tate Modern, London, 06/12/2009 - 09/20/2009

Modern Art and Modernity, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 01/31/2013 - 06/01/2013

32Q: 1300 Early Modernism, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/16/2014 - 01/01/2050

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Modern and Contemporary Art at