Tullio Mazzotti’s Futurist Ceramics

Futurism was born in 1909 with the publication of the first “Futurist Manifesto” in the French newspaper Le Figaro. This 1909 Manifesto promoted ideas of motion, speed and mechanization in art, born out of rapid advances in technology, communications, transportation and mass-production at onset of the 20th Century. Sparked by this Manifesto, the Futurist movement spread quickly to literature, painting and politics, appealing to artists, architects, and poets across Europe. The Futurists’ intent was replacing classical and romantic traditions in art.

Tullio d’Albisola, Date unknown. Decorated and glazed terracotta.

In 1930, Tullio Mazzotti invited a second wave of Futurist artists to design ceramic objects that he could produce in his father’s factory, the Ceramiche Giuseppe Mazzotti Albissola.

Using the pseudonym of Tullio d’Albisola, Tullio Mazzotti laid out his vision of Futurism as:

“[wanting] nothing that could even remotely recall the ancient, antique or prehistoric ceramics. I want to make ceramics that overthrow tradition. Polycentric, antimitative, mechanical forms. Futurist, aggressive, dazzling and bright layers of color. Perfect technique, carefully executed, made with poor local Italian materials.”

Beyond producing the ceramics of other Futurist artists, Tullio Mazzotti, himself, produced ceramics in the family factory. Some sample works by Tullio, to the right and below, illustrate the artist’s aggressive, bright personal style.

Tullio d’Albisola, Medusa Cup. 1929, Terracotta hand decorated in polychrome enamels.
Tullio d’Albisola, Date unknown. Decorated and glazed terracotta.
Tullio d’Albisola, Fobia antimitativa, 1929. Decorated and glazed terracotta.
Tullio d’Albisola, Brocca Baker. c. 1929. Decorated and glazed terracotta.

In an article on Futurism in a broader sense (i.e., in art forms beyond just ceramics), the Venice Clay Artists website noted, “Some Italian fascists tried to persuade Mussolini to ban modernism (as Hitler had in Germany) and include Futurism in the list of degenerate art. Mussolini refused because by the late 1930s, the style of Futurism had become the favoured art form for promoting Fascism.”

Note: The Ceramiche Mazzotti family-run business continues to this day, manufacturing ceramic collections to the specifications of prominent Italian artists and designers. Notable ceramicists offering their products through the Ceramiche Mazzotti business include Maurizio Orrico and Enrica Vulcano (operating as OVO), Alvino Bagni (operating as Nuove Forme), and Mario Segoloni (poperating as Estroflesso).

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