Brother of the eclectic Futurist painter and sculpture Ernesto Michahelles (known as Thayaht), from an early age Ruggero showed a strong flair for painting. While he was studying at the Faculty of Chemistry, without telling his father, he studied under Marfori Savini copying old masters in the museums in Florence.

After his debut with a show in Florence in 1914, he began his career as a cartoonist in the newspaper “La Nazione” and, between 1918 and 1919, collaborated with Thayaht in inventing the famous work overalls. In 1924, after graduating in chemistry, he and his brother won the National Competition for contemporary artists with the new stage set for “Aida”; while he was working on Futurist projects he took the pseudonym RAM. The same year he began designing the covers for the magazines “Rivista Illustrata del Popolo d’Italia” and “Natura”, a job that was to last until 1940.

In 1927 he was in Paris with Alberto Magnelli, Massimo Campigli and Mario Tozzi where he developed a style inspired by metaphysics and modern classicism. In 1931 he was invited to the first Rome Quadrennial and during the 30’s took part at numerous Futurist shows, regional exhibitions, at the Venice Biennial and Milan Triennial. He regularly stayed in Paris where, in 1937, he won the “Prix Paul Guillaume”. However little survived from this period as a result of Nazi looting and theft during the occupation of Paris. He continued to paint in solitude during the Second World War, and died in Florence in 1976.

Written by: Gioela Massagli – Translated by: Catherine Biggerstaff

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