Lucio Venna – nome de plume of painter and commercial artist Giuseppe Landsmann (1897-1974) – was one of the first Futurist artists and an active contributor to the movement’s initiatives in the very first years after Filippo Tommaso Marinetti founded it.
Venna was born in Venice but moved in 1912 to Florence, where he became friends with Emilio Notte, Ottone Rosai, Achille Lega, Umberto Boccioni and Marinetti himself. In 1916, he took part in a militant movie, “Vita futurista”, as assistant director and actor.
Giacomo Balla and Marinetti also appear in the film; only very little footage has survived over the years, but a few years ago director Arnaldo Ginna described some of the sequences he shot. In the first scene, Venna played somewhat of a leading role:
“At the restaurant on Piazzale Michelangelo. An old man with a white beard (Lucio Venna) sits at a table outside. He is about to begin lunch with a cup of clear broth, when some young Futurists start complaining loudly about the way he is eating. An Englishman, not understanding it was a performance, interrupted them and angrily reprimanded Marinetti: ‘No fare male ai vecchi’. The old man was a symbol of retrograde passatism, while the young Futurists represented avant-garde dynamism.”
In the early 1920s, Venna left both Futurism and painting, and focused entirely on commercial art. Here are some of his works for Italian car races.