Aside from his status as one of the leading figures of the Italian Futurist movement, Fortunato Depero goes down in history for innovating what is considered to be the first artist portfolio. The monograph, titled Depero Futurista (‘Depero the Futurist’), displays prints of the artist’s favorite and most significant works. But in addition to the importance of the portfolio’s contents, the concept of the portfolio itself was novel – and it set the stage for the modern-day art publication.
Widely referred to as ‘The Bolted Book’ for the two glaring metal bolts fastening the monograph’s 240 pages, Depero Futurista features “bold typographic experimentation, daring layouts, and…work in nearly every artistic and design medium…” The book is an archetypal example of the early 20th century avant-garde aesthetic that characterized the Futurist art movement. Originating in Italy, Futurism (c. 1909-1944) glorified progress and technology. Spanning nearly every artistic and design medium, Futurist artworks possessed aesthetic elements of Abstract Expressionism, Dadaism, Art Deco, and Constructivism. The movement was also prevalent in Russia.
Depero Futurista was, until now, a rarity. But a new collaboration between Designers & Books, the Center for Italian Modern Art in New York, and the Contemporary and Modern Art Museum of Trento and Rovereto, Italy aims to publish the first facsimile edition of The Bolted Book for 90 years.