The BOOK:

A new facsimile of Fortunato Depero's monograph, Depero Futurista—also known as The Bolted Book

Project partners:

Center for Italian Modern Art (New York)
Museo di arte moderna e contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto—also known as Mart (Italy)
Designers & Books (New York)

About Depero Futurista (The Bolted Book):

The Italian Futurist Fortunato Depero designed The Bolted Book as a kind of portable museum or calling card, a portfolio of his career to date—including paintings, sculptures, textile and architectural designs, theater and advertising work, wordplays, manifestoes, and reviews he received in many different languages. It is at the same time a showcase of his skills as a designer and typographical wizard.
The book was published in 1927 in Milan by Dinamo-Azari, a collaboration between Depero and his friend the poet, aviator, and publisher Fedele Azari. Comprising 240 pages, the book is secured by two large industrial aluminum bolts that when removed allow for the pages to be removed, rearranged, or exhibited individually.
A very small number of copies (thought to have been four or five) were produced with metal front and back covers for special recipients.
Depero Futurista was planned to have been published in an edition of 1,000, though the number actually printed is uncertain. The copy to be used for this facsimile is No. 843 and is signed by Depero on page 2. Only a small number of copies of the book still exist, and almost all of those are in institutional collections.
Two previous reproductions (1978 and 1987) have been published (also in collaboration with the Mart). They are now out of print. They were produced with some material not included in the original: various front and back matter; a table of contents; page numbers.
This new facsimile will include only material that was in the original. Scholarly essays and previously unpublished material from the Fortunato Depero archives at the Mart will be included in a special Reader’s Guide companion volume. In an effort to be as faithful to the original as possible, the scanned artwork will show the original printing quality permutations, and these characteristic variations will not be retouched. The copy to be used for the scans is one of three owned by Gianni Mattioli, who was one of Depero’s most important patrons and supporters, and who actively participated in the production of Depero Futurista.

Why create a new facsimile of this book?

Books can be important sources of inspiration for creativity. Books from the past can resonate with the present. Depero Futurista meets both criteria. Published 90 years ago, it anticipated the way today’s artists and designers conceive of their work and connect with the public.

  • Depero was a multidisciplinary practitioner. As an artist, designer, and maker he was involved in painting, sculpture, architecture, fashion, graphic design, interior design, product design, set design, advertising, and magazine publishing. He pioneered the idea of artist as “cultural entrepreneur” generations before that term came into use.
  • Depero was an activist. He was co-author of the Futurist manifesto “The Futurist Reconstruction of the Universe.”
  • Depero combined high and low art, breaking down barriers between the fine arts, commercial arts, and pop culture.
  • Depero understood and encouraged the active practice of self-promotion by artists.
  • Depero was the only Futurist to live and work in the United States for a sustained period. Depero Futurista demonstrates his diverse art and design talents as well as his sophisticated understanding of branding, marketing, and self-promotion.
  • Depero embraced writing in all forms—from essays and books to poetry and plays. Not only did he write and design Depero Futurista, he also wrote eight other books, including his autobiography, So I Think, So I Paint.
  • In concept and execution, Depero Futurista is regarded as the first modern-day artist’s book and an avant-garde “book as object” masterpiece.

Facsimile specifications:

Trim: Length: 32 cm (12.5 inches); height: 24.2 cm (9.5 inches). Oblong
Page count: 240; 146 with text or images
Binding: Open on four sides, cover and all pages hole-drilled for bolt binding and fastened with aluminum bolt, nut, and cotter pin (2)
Cover: Textured, colored cardstock
Stock: Various colors, weights, and textures, plus 4 tissue (glassine) pages. One two-panel gatefold
Inks: 4/4; occasional pages throughout 5/5
Country of origin: Printed in Italy

For additional information:

Steve Kroeter
Editor in Chief
Designers & Books
212-777-9080
info@designersandbooks.com

Rosetta and Fortunato Depero in New York on the roof of The Advertising Club on Park Avenue, with Rosetta holding a copy of the The Bolted Book. 1930. Photograph: Courtesy of Mart, Archivio del '900, Fondo Depero.


A Depero timeline:

For a detailed chronology of Depero's life, please see “Fortunato Depero (1892–1960): A Chronology” in Futurist Depero 1913–1950, the catalogue for the 2014 exhibition at the Fundación Juan March in Madrid (pages 437–440):

 

1892: Born in Fondo, in the province of Trentino, at that time part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

1906: Meets Rosetta Amadori, whom he marries in 1918.

1913: First solo exhibition, in Rovereto. Meets Filippo Tommaso Marinetti in Rome.
Publishes his first book.

1914: Moves to Rome and meets Giacomo Balla.

1915: Officially admitted to the Italian Futurist movement. With Balla, publishes “Ricostruzione futurista dell' universo” (The Futurist Reconstruction of the Universe).

1919: Founds Casa d'Arte Futurista in Rovereto, designing, producing, and selling toys, tapestries, and furniture.

1927: Publishes Depero Futurista.

1928: Moves to New York. Designs restaurant interiors, costumes for stage productions, and covers for Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, and Vogue. Also does work for the New York Daily News and Macy's.

1932: Designs the bottle for Campari Soda, still in production.

1947: Second move to New York. Publishes his autobiography.

1959: Casa Depero opens, located in and funded by the town of Rovereto. Depero personally supervises every detail of the project. It remains the only museum founded by a Futurist.

1960: Dies in Rovereto.

1999: Depero Futurista: Rome–Paris–New York 1915–1932 and More, solo exhibition at The Wolfsonian-FIU in Miami, Florida

2008: Advertising Depero, exhibition at Museum of Modern Art and Contemporary Art of Trento and Rovereto

2009: Included in Words in Freedom, exhibition marking the 100th anniversary of Futurism

2010: Depero with Campari, exhibition at Galleria Campari on the occasion of the company’s 150th anniversary

2013: Industrial designer Ingo Maurer introduces a bar lamp made of Depero’s iconic Campari Soda bottles

2014: Featured prominently in Italian Futurism, 1909–1944: Reconstructing the Universe, exhibition at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York

2014: Fortunato Depero, solo exhibition at the Center for Italian Modern Art, New York

2014: Futurist Depero 19131950, retrospective exhibition at the Fundación Juan March in Madrid, Spain

2016: Depero vests featured in Across Art and Fashion, exhibition at Museo Salvatore Ferragamo in Florence, Italy