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Finding aid for the F.T. Marinetti and Benedetta Cappa Marinetti papers, 1902-1965
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Collection Details
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Biographical/Historical Note
  • Administrative Information
  • Separated Material
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: F.T. Marinetti and Benedetta Cappa Marinetti papers
    Date (inclusive): 1902-1965 (bulk 1920-1939)
    Number: 920092
    Creator/Collector: Marinetti, Filippo Tommaso, 1876-1944
    Physical Description: 60.0 linear feet (145 boxes, 5 flat file folders)
    The Getty Research Institute
    Special Collections
    1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
    Los Angeles, California, 90049-1688
    (310) 440-7390
    Abstract: The founder and leader of the futurist movement. Married Benedetta Cappa, a futurist writer and artist, in 1923. Collection includes minor manifesto manuscripts, generally typewritten, sometimes translated or excerpted; a number of minor literary manuscripts; and 20,000 slides that reproduce the contents of Marinetti's five scrapbooks. Material on Benedetta includes handwritten corrected drafts of her three novels, and a number of essays and speeches. Some correspondence suggests the central role that Marinetti and Benedetta played relative to the other futurists, whose activities the collection selectively documents via manuscripts, photos, clippings, slides, posters, scrapbooks, and musical scores
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    Language: Collection material is in Italian

    Biographical/Historical Note

    Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, born in Alexandria in 1876, attended secondary school and university in France, where he began his literary career. After gaining some success as a poet, he founded and edited the journal Poesia (1905), a forum in which the theories of Futurism rather quickly evolved. With "Fondazione e Manifesto del Futurismo," published in Le Figaro (1909), Marinetti launched what was arguably the first 20th c. avant-garde movement, anticipating many of the issues of Dada and Surrealism. Like other avant-garde movements, Futurism took the momentous developments in science and industry as signaling a new historical era, demanding correspondingly innovative art forms and language. Like other avant-garde movements, Futurism found a solution in collage, which Marinetti called "parole in libertà" when applied to literary forms. Between 1909 and 1920, the period known as Futurism's heroic phase, Marinetti energetically promoted his own work, and that of fellow Futurists, through numerous manifestos, speeches, essays, meetings, performances and publications. Following WWI, in which he served, Marinetti became an active member of the Fascist party; on April 15, 1919, he and Ferruccio Vecchi led the "battle" of piazza Mercanti against socialists, communists, and anarchists, which was Italian Fascism's first decisive victory. In 1929 he was elected to the Academy of Italy. Throughout the 1920s and 30s and until his death in 1944, Marinetti sought to reconcile the theories of Futurism with the ideology of state Fascism and to serve as impresario for both.
    In 1923, Marinetti married Benedetta Cappa. The author of three critically acclaimed Futurist novels, a sizable body of art work, and the mother (with Marinetti) of three girls, Benedetta wrote essays and gave speeches on women and art and women and Fascism, and was presented in the press during the 1930s as a role model for Italian women. After her husband's death, Benedetta continued to correspond with fellow Futurists and to promote Futurism by organizing exhibitions, selling the Marinetti art collection to prominent American collectors and museums, and writing catalog essays.

    Administrative Information


    Open for use by qualified researchers; some material restricted.

    Publication Rights

    Preferred Citation

    Papers of F.T. Marinetti and Benedetta Cappa Marinetti, 1902-1965 (bulk 1920-1939), Getty Research Institute, Research Library, Accession no. 920092.

    Acquisition Information

    Acquired in 1992.

    Processing History

    The papers were quickly assembled for scholarly perusal using the dealer's box guide. Brent Sverdloff wrote temporary a RLIN record and began writing a Finding Aid. Annette Leddy and Jeremy Parzen processed the papers in late 1994. Annette Leddy, with the help of Jeremy Parzen, wrote the current Finding Aid, integrating some of Visiting Scholar Esther Cohn's comments written on the dealer's box guide.

    Separated Material

    Polemica Carducciana by Ettore Romagnoli (Item #165), is catalogued in the Getty Research Library's general collection.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    This archive of Filippo Tommaso Marinetti and Benedetta Cappa Marinetti papers consists primarily of material from the 1920s and 30s, though correspondence and newspaper clippings date from before and after those decades. It offers a view of FTM in the ceremonial rather than incendiary role that he played during Futurism's second phase. Pieces such as "Ritratti futuristi del Duce" suggest the extent to which he served as a propagandist for the Fascist government and adapted the tenets of Futurism to that purpose. There are a number of minor manuscripts on art and Futurist artists, generally typewritten, occasionally with corrections, and some minor literary manuscripts as well.
    The material on Benedetta includes handwritten corrected drafts of her three novels and a number of essays, speeches and notes on women and art, women and Fascism, Futurism, and FTM. Benedetta's letters to her brother, Alberto Cappa, and to FTM at the Russian Front, offer an intimate view of this woman who, as clippings in her Librone document, was presented in the 1930s Italian press as a role model for Italian women. Her correspondence with fellow Futurists and with American collectors and institutions after FTM's death show her active role in preserving the accomplishments of Futurism for posterity.
    Various media comprise the archive, including manuscripts, photos, clippings, slides, posters, scrapbooks, and scores. Through all these media in combination the archive selectively documents the activities of the inner circle of the Futurist movement.

    Arrangement note

    The Archive is organized in nine series: Series I: Manuscripts and Correspondence of Filippo Tommaso Marinetti; Series II: Manuscripts and Correspondence of Benedetta Cappa Marinetti; Series III: Assorted Manuscripts and Correspondence; Series IV: Futurist music; Series V: Newspaper clippings; Series VI: Lantern slides; Series VII: Photographs; Series VIII: Libroni; Series IX: Posters and oversized items.

    Indexing Terms

    Subjects - Names

    Amendola Kühn, Eva, b. 1880
    Balla, Giacomo, 1871-1958
    Boccioni, Umberto, 1882-1916
    Brizzi, Carlo
    Campanini, Gustavo
    Cangiullo, Francesco, 1888-1977
    Cappa, Alberto
    Cappa, Amalia
    Casavola, Franco, 1891-1955
    Chio, Ada
    Cioffi, Giuseppe
    Farfa, 1879-1964
    Giuntini, Aldo
    Marinetti Cappa, Benedetta, 1897-1977
    Marinetti, Filippo Tommaso, 1876-1944
    Mascagni, Pietro, 1863-1945
    Masnata, Pino
    Mix, Silvio, 1900-1927
    Mussolini, Benito, 1883-1945
    Prampolini, Enrico, 1894-1956
    Pratella, Francesco Balilla, 1880-1955
    Sciorilli, Eros
    Severini, Gino, 1883-1966
    Tato, 1896-1974
    Windisch, Käthe

    Subjects - Topics

    Art, Italian--20th century
    Fascism and art--Italy
    Fascism and literature--Italy
    Fascism and women--Italy
    Fascism in art
    Futurism (Art)
    Futurism (Art)--Collectors and collecting
    Futurism (Art)--Exhibitions
    Futurism (Literary movement)
    Futurism (Music)
    Italian literature--20th century

    Genres and Forms of Material

    Clippings--20th century
    Manifestoes--20th century
    Photographic prints--20th century
    Photographs, Original
    Posters--20th century
    Scores--20th century
    Scrapbooks--20th century
    Slides (photographs)--20th century