Like other artists associated with Italian Futurism, Severini was fascinated by the interactions of movement and matter and the dynamic speeds of the modern world. In his manifesto "Plastic Analogies of Dynamism" (1913–14), written just before this work was painted, he describes the sensory and visual "analogies" that resonate across seemingly unrelated objects, from a dancing girl to a rushing express train to abstract forms. Here, he uses the same shapes and colors to convey the movements of a dancer, a spinning airplane propeller, and the roiling sea. The painting’s unusual diamond shape—the only example in Severini’s oeuvre—enhances the disorienting effect of simultaneous motion.
Inscription: Signed (bottom point of diamond): G. Severini; signed, dated, and inscribed (verso): Gino Severini/ "Danseuse—Hélice—Mer"/ Paris. 1915
the artist, Paris (1915–17; shipped in October 1916 to New York, valued at Fr 600; left on June 22, 1917 with Stieglitz; possible gift in summer 1917 to Stieglitz); Alfred Stieglitz, New York (1917–d. 1946; his estate, 1946–49; gift to MMA)
Galerie Boutet de Monvel, Paris. "Gino Severini: Première exposition futuriste d'art plastique de la guerre et d'autres oeuvres antérieures," January 15–February 1, 1916, no. 13.
New York. 291. "Paintings, Drawings, Pastels by Gino Severini," March 6–17, 1917, no catalogue (checklist no. 7; the artist's handwritten list as drawing no. 7).
New York. Grand Central Palace. "First Annual Exhibition of the Society of Independent Artists," April 10–May 6, 1917, no. 74.
Philadelphia Museum of Art. "History of an American, Alfred Stieglitz: '291' and After, Selections from the Stieglitz Collection," July 1–November 1, 1944, no. 115.
Museum of Modern Art, New York. "Twentieth Century Italian Art," June 28–September 18, 1949, unnumbered cat. (pl. 24, reproduced sideways).
Museum of Modern Art, New York. "From the Alfred Stieglitz Collection: An Extended Loan from the Metropolitan Museum of Art," May 22–August 12, 1951, no catalogue (checklist no. E.L.51.701; loan extended to March 20, 1961).
Florence. Palazzo Pitti. "Gino Severini, 1883–1966: Mostra in occasione del centenarío della nascita," June 25–September 25, 1983, no. 41.
New Haven. Yale University Art Gallery. "Severini futurista, 1912–1917," October 18, 1995–January 7, 1996, no. 26.
Fort Worth. Kimbell Art Museum. "Severini futurista, 1912–1917," February 11–April 7, 1996, no. 26.
Clark S. Marlor. The Society of Independent Artists: The Exhibition Record, 1917–1944. Park Ridge, N.J., 1984, p. 494.
Maria Drudi Gambillo and Teresa Fiori, ed. Archivi del futurismo. 2nd ed. (1st ed., 1962). Rome, 1986, vol. 2, pp. 333, 340, no. 74, ill.
Margaret Reeves Burke. "Futurism in America, 1910-1917." PhD diss., University of Delaware, 1986, pp. 61–62, 82 n. 72.
Gary Tinterow et al. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Vol. 8, Modern Europe. New York, 1987, p. 121, colorpl. 98.
Daniela Fonti. Gino Severini: Catalogo ragionato. Milan, 1988, p. 199, no. 239, ill.
Giorgio Di Genova. Storia dell'arte italiana del '900: Per generazioni. Vol. 1, Generazione maestri storici. Bologna, 1993, part 1, p. 441.
Gino Severini. The Life of a Painter: The Autobiography of Gino Severini. (Italian ed., 1983). Princeton, 1995, fig. 28.
Katherine Hoffman. Stieglitz: A Beginning Light. New Haven and London, 2004, p. 289.
Lisa Mintz Messinger inStieglitz and His Artists: Matisse to O'Keeffe. The Alfred Stieglitz Collection in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Ed. Lisa Mintz Messinger. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2011, pp. 69, 74–75, 253, no. 40, ill. (color).
Isabelle Duvernois inStieglitz and His Artists: Matisse to O'Keeffe. The Alfred Stieglitz Collection in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Ed. Lisa Mintz Messinger. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2011, p. 74, fig. 25 (photograph of X-radiograph).