As seen in the introduction to the section on futurist figuration, the group of portraits and studies on Daphne, dating back to spring 1916, confirms that at the time Baldessari had already returned from his futur-abstract experience towards a ‘sort’ of recognizability.
But it is in the landscape area that we can better verify the sequence of those moments of transition connected to the abstract research of 1915, that is paintings still modulated on geometrical shapes and Boccionian force-lines: two small tablets are an example of this phase, namely a Studio di paesaggio (Study of landscape), and Covoni (Sheaves), both still dated 1915, to which follow some pastels with ‘foreshortenings’ of Rovereto, as a ‘vision of memory’, where recognizability, although still ordered by force-lines, appears more evident.
Then, it is precisely on a specific subject of landscape that we see, articulated step by step, the recomposition in the gradually more figurative definition of a village surrounded by green meadows: Lugo di Romagna.
It is in fact in one of the first paintings on this theme, Riflessi su paese (Reflections on a village), ascribable to spring 1916, that we can still verify the heritage of the geometrizing stylistic features characterizing many of the abstract works, and precisely in that painting they begin to recompose themselves in recognizable shapes. But there are also numerous other paintings and often also drawings on the same theme of the landscape where Baldessari shows his slow formal recomposition, and the acquisition of his typical style, precisely based on the use of these elementary forms, on these ‘open’ geometries and dynamics.
And then Baldessari dedicates works of great experimental interest to the landscape, made this time in full compliance with the so-called ‘Tuscan Futurism’. I refer to those mixed techniques he borrowed from Soffici (who in turn he had mediated from Picasso’s papier collée) where fragments of newspapers are recovered and combined with cuttings of letters or numbers, then retouched with tempera or oil. Here, in particular, we have Notte + strada + luna (Night +street + moon), of 1918, immediately followed by some paintings on the same theme such as Fanali futuristi (Futurist headlights), and Città + Notte (City + night), both still of 1918, in which, this time, the location is no longer the rural landscape but the relationship man-city.
This gallery closes with the great painting Ponte sul Tevere (Bridge on the river Tevere), of 1919, in which Baldessari has already reached the formal synthesis of landscape, composed of elementary forms that follow one to the other with a rhythmic modulation. This is no longer the long wave of a certain post-abstract formalism, but properly the now acquired series of formal coordinates that characterize what we can define as ‘Baldessari style’.
With the Twenties, the landscapes in fact almost disappear, to reappear instead, and forcefully, after 1924 with the return to the traditional figuration.