August Macke - Kairouan

History of Modern Art: Expressionism

Hello and welcome to the History of modern art series! Today we’ll take a closer look at the Expressionism movement!

Expressionism was a modernist movement, initially in poetry and painting, originating in Germany at the beginning of the 20th century. Its typical trait is to present the world solely from a subjective perspective, distorting it radically for emotional effect in order to evoke moods or ideas.

Expressionist artists sought to express meaning or emotional experience rather than physical reality. Expressionism was developed as an avant-garde style before the First World War. It remained popular during the Weimar Republic,particularly in Berlin. The style extended to a wide range of the arts, including painting, literature, theatre, dance, film, architecture and music.

August Macke - Blick in eine Gasse

August Macke – Blick in eine Gasse

The term is sometimes suggestive of emotional angst. In a general sense, painters such as Matthias Grünewald and El Greco are sometimes termed expressionist, though in practice the term is applied mainly to 20th-century works.

The Expressionist emphasis on individual perspective has been characterized as a reaction to positivism and other artistic styles such as naturalism and impressionism.

While the word expressionist was used in the modern sense as early as 1850, its origin is sometimes traced to paintings exhibited in 1901 in Paris by an obscure artist Julien-Auguste Hervé, which he called Expressionismes.

Wassily Kandinsky - Composition VI

Wassily Kandinsky – Composition VI

Though an alternate view is that the term was coined by the Czech art historian Antonin Matějček in 1910, as the opposite of impressionism:

An Expressionist wishes, above all, to express himself… (an Expressionist rejects) immediate perception and builds on more complex psychic structures… Impressions and mental images that pass through mental peoples soul as through a filter which rids them of all substantial accretions to produce their clear essence […and] are assimilated and condense into more general forms, into types, which he transcribes through simple short-hand formulae and symbols.

Expressionism is notoriously difficult to define, in part because it “overlapped with other major ‘isms’ of the modernist period: with Futurism, Vorticism, Cubism, Surrealism and Dada.

Franz Marc - Horse in a Landscape

Franz Marc – Horse in a Landscape

Richard Murphy also comments: “the search for an all-inclusive definition is problematic to the extent that the most challenging expressionists such as Kafka, Gottfried Benn and Döblin were simultaneous the most vociferous “anti-expressionists.”

Expressionist artists sought to portray emotions and subjective interpretations. It was not important to reproduce an aesthetically pleasing impression of the artistic subject matter, they felt, but rather to represent vivid emotional reactions by powerful colours and dynamic compositions. Kandinsky, the main artist of Der Blaue Reiter group, believed that with simple colours and shapes the spectator could perceive the moods and feelings in the paintings, a theory that encouraged him towards increased abstraction.

Wassily Kandinsky - Composition VII

Wassily Kandinsky – Composition VII

After World War II, figurative expressionism influenced worldwide a large number of artists and styles. Also the Expressionist movement included other types of culture, including dance, sculpture, cinema and theatre, which are not in the scope of this article!

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner - Brandenburger Tor

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner – Brandenburger Tor

Cawen Alvar - Sokea soittoniekka

Cawen Alvar – Sokea soittoniekka

August Macke - Lady in a Green Jacket

August Macke – Lady in a Green Jacket

August Macke - Kairouan

August Macke – Kairouan

August Macke - Farewell

August Macke – Farewell

Franz Marc - The Fate of the Animals

Franz Marc – The Fate of the Animals

Franz Marc - Rehe im Walde

Franz Marc – Rehe im Walde

Franz Marc - Haystacks in the Snow

Franz Marc – Haystacks in the Snow

Franz Marc - Fighting Forms

Franz Marc – Fighting Forms

Franz Marc - Die großen blauen Pferde

Franz Marc – Die großen blauen Pferde

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner - Nollendorfplatz

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner – Nollendorfplatz

Hope you enjoyed the article as much as i did compiling the info and the images! See you next time!

Articles’ Images are in the public domain because their copyright has expired or are displayed here under the “ fair use” copyright law, and are available through WikipediaWikimedia.

This Articles’ text is licensed under the Creative Commons BY-SA License since it partially uses material from Wikipedia.

Article publié pour la première fois le 22/12/2012

Max Ernst, L'Ange du Foyer ou le Triomphe du Surréalisme (1937), private collection.

History of Modern Art: Surrealism

Hello folks, welcome back to our weekly series of History of Modern Art. Today we’ll review the movement of Surrealism.

Surrealism is a cultural movement that began in the early 1920s, and is best known for its visual artworks and writings. Surrealist works feature the element of surprise, unexpected juxtapositions and non sequitur; however, many Surrealist artists and writers regard their work as an expression of the philosophical movement first and foremost, with the works being an artefact. Leader André Breton was explicit in his assertion that Surrealism was above all a revolutionary movement.

Surrealism developed out of the Dada activities during World War I and the most important center of the movement was Paris. From the 1920s onward, the movement spread around the globe, eventually affecting the visual arts, literature, film, and music of many countries and languages, as well as political thought and practice, philosophy, and social theory.

World War I scattered the writers and artists who had been based in Paris, and in the interim many became involved with Dada, believing that excessive rational thought and bourgeois values had brought the conflict of the war upon the world. The Dadaists protested with anti-art gatherings, performances, writings and art works. After the war, when they returned to Paris, the Dada activities continued.

Willem-De-Kooning-Woman-V-1952–1953.

History of Modern Art: Abstract Expressionism

Hello folks! Welcome to our weekly series on the history of modern art! Today on review is the abstract expressionism movement.

Hans Hofmann The Gate, 1959–1960.

Hans Hofmann The Gate, 1959–1960.

Abstract expressionism was an American post–World War II art movement. It was the first specifically American movement to achieve international influence and put New York City at the center of the western art world, a role formerly filled by Paris. Although the term “abstract expressionism” was first applied to American art in 1946 by the art critic Robert Coates, it had been first used in Germany in 1919 in the magazine Der Sturm, regarding German Expressionism. In the United States, Alfred Barr was the first to use this term in 1929 in relation to works by Wassily Kandinsky.

Technically, an important predecessor is surrealism, with its emphasis on spontaneous, automatic or subconscious creation. Jackson Pollock’s dripping paint onto a canvas laid on the floor is a technique that has its roots in the work of André Masson, Max Ernst and David Alfaro Siqueiros. Another important early manifestation of what came to be abstract expressionism is the work of American Northwest artist Mark Tobey, especially his “white writing” canvases, which, though generally not large in scale, anticipate the “all-over” look of Pollock’s drip paintings.

The movement’s name is derived from the combination of the emotional intensity and self-denial of the German Expressionists with the anti-figurative aesthetic of the European abstract schools such as Futurism, the Bauhaus and Synthetic Cubism. Additionally, it has an image of being rebellious, anarchic, highly idiosyncratic and, some feel, nihilistic.

In practice, the term is applied to any number of artists working (mostly) in New York who had quite different styles and even to work that is neither especially abstract nor expressionist. California Abstract Expressionist Jay Meuser, who typically painted in the non-objective style, wrote about his painting Mare Nostrum, “It is far better to capture the glorious spirit of the sea than to paint all of its tiny ripples.” Pollock’s energetic “action paintings”, with their “busy” feel, are different, both technically and aesthetically, from the violent and grotesque Women series of Willem de Kooning’s figurative paintings and the rectangles of color in Mark Rothko’s Color Field paintings (which are not what would usually be called expressionist and which Rothko denied were abstract). Yet all four artists are classified as abstract expressionists.

774px-Eugene_Manet_and_His_Daughter_in_the_Garden_1883_Berthe_Morisot

History of Modern Art: Impressionism

In this short series, we’ll review the history of modern art , starting from Impressionism and going through the years to reach back at today. Following the journey will also make you understand better contemporary art and why art history is an important knowledge for designers and artists alike.

You might object how modern are really art movements over 100 years old. Still considering the timeline of art history that dates back to the first cave drawings, then i think a mere 100 years are more than modern! I hope you join me to this journey, and enjoy it as much as i do.

Impressionism was a 19th-century art movement that originated with a group of Paris-based artists whose independent exhibitions brought them to prominence during the 1870s and 1880s in spite of harsh opposition from the art community in France. The name of the style is derived from the title of a Claude Monet work, Impression, soleil levant (Impression, Sunrise), which provoked the critic Louis Leroy to coin the term in a satiric review published in the Parisian newspaper Le Charivari.

Characteristics of Impressionist paintings include relatively small, thin, yet visible brush strokes; open composition; emphasis on accurate depiction of light in its changing qualities (often accentuating the effects of the passage of time); common, ordinary subject matter; the inclusion of movement as a crucial element of human perception and experience; and unusual visual angles. The development of Impressionism in the visual arts was soon followed by analogous styles in other media which became known as Impressionist music and Impressionist literature.

Claude Monet - Tulpen von Holland

Claude Monet – Tulpen von Holland

Although the emergence of Impressionism in France happened at a time when a number of other painters, including the Italian artists known as the Macchiaioli, and Winslow Homer in the United States, were also exploring plein-air painting, the Impressionists developed new techniques that were specific to the style. Encompassing what its adherents argued was a different way of seeing, it was an art of immediacy and movement, of candid poses and compositions, of the play of light expressed in a bright and varied use of colour.

The public, at first hostile, gradually came to believe that the Impressionists had captured a fresh and original vision, even if the new style did not receive the approval of the art critics and establishment.

Claude Monet - Jeanne Marguerite Lecadre in the Garden Sainte Adresse

Claude Monet – Jeanne Marguerite Lecadre in the Garden Sainte Adresse

By recreating the sensation in the eye that views the subject, rather than delineating the details of the subject, and by creating a welter of techniques and forms, Impressionism became a precursor of various styles of painting, including Neo-Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, Fauvism, and Cubism (which we’ll explore in future articles).

Impressionist techniques include:

  1. Short, thick strokes of paint are used to quickly capture the essence of the subject, rather than its details. The paint is often applied impasto.
  2. Colours are applied side-by-side with as little mixing as possible, creating a vibrant surface. The optical mixing of colours occurs in the eye of the viewer.
  3. Grays and dark tones are produced by mixing complementary colours. In pure Impressionism the use of black paint is avoided.
  4. Wet paint is placed into wet paint without waiting for successive applications to dry, producing softer edges and an intermingling of colour.
  5. Painting during evening to get effets de soir—the shadowy effects of the light in the evening or twilight.
  6. Impressionist paintings do not exploit the transparency of thin paint films (glazes) which earlier artists manipulated carefully to produce effects. The surface of an Impressionist painting is typically opaque.
  7. The play of natural light is emphasized. Close attention is paid to the reflection of colours from object to object.
  8. In paintings made en plein air (outdoors), shadows are boldly painted with the blue of the sky as it is reflected onto surfaces, giving a sense of freshness that was not represented in painting previously. (Blue shadows on snow inspired the technique.)
Painters throughout history had occasionally used these methods, but Impressionists were the first to use all of them together, and with such consistency. Earlier artists whose works display these techniques include Frans Hals, Diego Velázquez, Peter Paul Rubens, John Constable, and J. M. W. Turner. French painters who prepared the way for Impressionism include the Romantic colourist Eugène Delacroix, the leader of the realists Gustave Courbet, and painters of the Barbizon school such as Théodore Rousseau.

The Impressionists learned much from the work of Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot and Eugène Boudin, who painted from nature in a style that was similar to Impressionism, and who befriended and advised the younger artists. Impressionists took advantage of the mid-century introduction of premixed paints in lead tubes (resembling modern toothpaste tubes), which allowed artists to work more spontaneously, both outdoors and indoors. Previously, painters made their own paints individually, by grinding and mixing dry pigment powders with linseed oil, which were then stored in animal bladders.

Prior to the Impressionists, other painters, notably such 17th-century Dutch painters as Jan Steen, had emphasized common subjects, but their methods of composition were traditional. They arranged their compositions in such a way that the main subject commanded the viewer’s attention. The Impressionists relaxed the boundary between subject and background so that the effect of an Impressionist painting often resembles a snapshot, a part of a larger reality captured as if by chance. Photography was gaining popularity, and as cameras became more portable, photographs became more candid. Photography inspired Impressionists to represent momentary action, not only in the fleeting lights of a landscape, but in the day-to-day lives of people.

The development of Impressionism can be considered partly as a reaction by artists to the challenge presented by photography, which seemed to devalue the artist’s skill in reproducing reality. Both portrait and landscape paintings were deemed somewhat deficient and lacking in truth as photography “produced lifelike images much more efficiently and reliably”

Another major influence was Japanese art prints (Japonism), which had come into France originally as wrapping paper for imported goods. The art of these prints contributed significantly to the “snapshot” angles and unconventional compositions which would become characteristic of the style.

Claude Monet - Die Seine am morgen im Regen

Claude Monet – Die Seine am morgen im Regen

Edgar Degas was both an avid photographer and a collector of Japanese prints. His The Dance Class (La classe de danse) of 1874 shows both influences in its asymmetrical composition. The dancers are seemingly caught off guard in various awkward poses, leaving an expanse of empty floor space in the lower right quadrant. His dancers were also captured in sculpture such as The Little Fourteen-Year-Old Dancer

The central figures in the development of Impressionism in France, listed alphabetically, were:

Pierre-Auguste Renoir -  Sur la terrasse

Pierre-Auguste Renoir – Sur la terrasse

Claude Monet  - Woman with a Parasol

Claude Monet – Woman with a Parasol

Édouard Manet - Frühstück im Atelier

Édouard Manet – Frühstück im Atelier

Pierre-Auguste Renoir - By the Water

Pierre-Auguste Renoir – By the Water

Alfred Sisley - Bords du Loing à Saint-Mammès

Alfred Sisley – Bords du Loing à Saint-Mammès

Paul Cézanne - Kartenspieler

Paul Cézanne – Kartenspieler

Édouard Manet - Das Frühstück im Grünen

Édouard Manet – Das Frühstück im Grünen

Berthe Morisot - Eugene Manet and His Daughter in the Garden

Berthe Morisot – Eugene Manet and His Daughter in the Garden

Berthe Morisot - The Harbor at Lorient

Berthe Morisot – The Harbor at Lorient

Édouard Manet - Le Bar des Folies-Bergère

Édouard Manet – Le Bar des Folies-Bergère

Claude Monet - Boulvard Saint Denis in Argenteuil im Winter

Claude Monet – Boulvard Saint Denis in Argenteuil im Winter

Camille Pissarro - Hay Harvest at Éragny

Camille Pissarro – Hay Harvest at Éragny

Pierre-Auguste Renoir - The Luncheon of the Boating Party

Pierre-Auguste Renoir – The Luncheon of the Boating Party

Pierre-Auguste Renoir - Photo of painting Oarsemen at Chatou

Pierre-Auguste Renoir – Photo of painting Oarsemen at Chatou

Painting by Edgar Degas

Painting by Edgar Degas

Painting by Edgar Degas

Painting by Edgar Degas

Hope you enjoyed our short journey through Impressionism and are willing to explore more the individual artists!

In the meantime i’d love to hear what you think of impressionism as a movement, and which of the above artists were the more influential in your opinion?

Articles’ Images are either in the public domain because their copyright has expired Or legal to display for non commercial educational purposes, under the Fair Use Copyright Law (and are available through Wikimedia & Wikipedia)

This Articles’ text is licensed under the Creative Commons BY-SA License since it uses material from Wikipedia.

Article publié pour la première fois le 24/11/2012

Paul Gauguin - Tahitian Women on the Beach

History of Modern Art: Post-Impressionism

Hello and welcome to the History of modern art series! Today we’ll take a closer look at the Post Impressionism movement!

Post-Impressionism is the term coined by the British artist and art critic Roger Fry in 1910 to describe the development of French art since Manet. Fry used the term when he organized the 1910 exhibition Manet and the Post-Impressionists.

Post-Impressionists extended Impressionism while rejecting its limitations: they continued using vivid colours, thick application of paint, distinctive brush strokes, and real-life subject matter, but they were more inclined to emphasize geometric forms, to distort form for expressive effect, and to use unnatural or arbitrary colour.

The Post-Impressionists were dissatisfied with the triviality of subject matter and the loss of structure in Impressionist paintings, though they did not agree on the way forward.

Paul Cezanne - Les joueurs de carte

Paul Cezanne – Les joueurs de carte

Georges Seurat and his followers concerned themselves with Pointillism, the systematic use of tiny dots of colour (we’ll examine Pointillism in the upcoming article of the series). Paul Cézanne set out to restore a sense of order and structure to painting, to “make of Impressionism something solid and durable, like the art of the museums”.

He achieved this by reducing objects to their basic shapes while retaining the bright fresh colours of Impressionism. The Impressionist Camille Pissarro experimented with Neo-Impressionist ideas between the mid 1880s and the early 1890s.

Discontented with what he referred to as romantic Impressionism, he investigated Pointillism which he called scientific Impressionism before returning to a purer Impressionism in the last decade of his life.

Vincent van Gogh used colour and vibrant swirling brush strokes to convey his feelings and his state of mind. Although they often exhibited together, Post-Impressionist artists were not in agreement concerning a cohesive movement. Younger painters during the 1890s and early 20th century worked in geographically disparate regions and in various stylistic categories, such as Fauvism and Cubism.

Vincent Willem van Gogh - Cafe Terrace at Night

Vincent Willem van Gogh – Cafe Terrace at Night

Fry later explained: “For purposes of convenience, it was necessary to give these artists a name, and I chose, as being the vaguest and most non-committal, the name of Post-Impressionism. This merely stated their position in time relatively to the Impressionist movement.”

John Rewald, one of the first professional art historians to focus on the birth of early modern art, limited the scope to the years between 1886 and 1892 in his pioneering publication on Post-Impressionism: From Van Gogh to Gauguin (1956): Rewald considered it to continue his History of Impressionism (1946), and pointed out that a “subsequent volume dedicated to the second half of the post-impressionist period”.  Post-Impressionism: From Gauguin to Matisse—was to follow, extending the period covered to other artistic movements derived from Impressionism and confined to the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Rewald focused on outstanding early Post-Impressionists active in France: on Van Gogh, Gauguin, Seurat, Redon, and their relations as well as the artistic circles they frequented (or they were in opposition to):

Neo-Impressionism: ridiculed by contemporary art critics as well as artists as Pointillism; Seurat and Signac would have preferred other terms: Divisionism for example.

Cloisonnism: a short-lived term introduced in 1888 by the art critic Édouard Dujardin, was to promote the work of Louis Anquetin, and was later also applied to contemporary works of his friend Émile Bernard

Synthetism: another short-lived term coined in 1889 to distinguish recent works of Gauguin and Bernard from that of more traditional Impressionists exhibiting with them at the Café Volpini.

Pont-Aven School: implying little more than that the artists involved had been working for a while in Pont-Aven or elsewhere in Brittany.

Symbolism: a term highly welcomed by vanguard critics in 1891, when Gauguin dropped Synthetism as soon as he was acclaimed to be the leader of Symbolism in painting.

Furthermore, in his introduction to Post-Impressionism, Rewald opted for a second volume featuring Toulouse-Lautrec, Henri Rousseau “le Douanier”, Les Nabis and Cézanne as well as the Fauves, the young Picasso and Gauguin’s last trip to the South-Sea; it was to expand the period covered at least into the first decade of the 20th century—yet this second volume remained unfinished.

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec - Equestrienne

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec – Equestrienne

According to the present state of discussion, Post-Impressionism is a term best used within Rewald’s definition in a strictly historical manner, concentrating on French art between 1886 and 1914, and re-considering the altered positions of impressionist painters like Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, Auguste Renoir, and others—as well as all new brands at the turn of the century: from Cloisonnism to Cubism. The declarations of war, in July/August 1914, indicate probably far more than the beginning of a World War—they signal a major break in European cultural history, too.

Henri Rousseau - La zingara addormentata

Henri Rousseau – La zingara addormentata

 

Édouard Vuillard - Le Corsage rayé

Édouard Vuillard – Le Corsage rayé

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec - Der Salon in der Rue des Moulins

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec – Der Salon in der Rue des Moulins

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec - La Goulue arrivant au Moulin Rouge

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec – La Goulue arrivant au Moulin Rouge

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec - The Bed

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec – The Bed

Henri Rousseau - A Carnival Evening

Henri Rousseau – A Carnival Evening

Henri Rousseau - Fight Between a Tiger and a Buffalo

Henri Rousseau – Fight Between a Tiger and a Buffalo

Henri Rousseau - The Football Players

Henri Rousseau – The Football Players

Paul Cezanne - The Overture to Tannhauser

Paul Cezanne – The Overture to Tannhauser

Paul Gauguin -  The Siesta

Paul Gauguin – The Siesta

Paul Gauguin - Tahitian Women on the Beach

Paul Gauguin – Tahitian Women on the Beach

Paul Gauguin - The Swineherd, Brittany

Paul Gauguin – The Swineherd, Brittany

Vincent Willem van Gogh - Kornfeld mit Zypressen

Vincent Willem van Gogh – Kornfeld mit Zypressen

 

In the meantime i’d love to hear what you think of post-impressionism as a movement, and which of the above artists were the more influential in your opinion?

Articles’ Images are either in the public domain because their copyright has expired Or legal to display for non commercial educational purposes, under the Fair Use Copyright Law (and are available through Wikimedia & Wikipedia)

This Articles’ text is licensed under the Creative Commons BY-SA License since it uses material from Wikipedia.

Article publié pour la première fois le 01/12/2012

Piet Mondrian, Composition No. 10, 1939-42, oil on canvas, 80 x 73 cm, private collection.

History of Modern Art: Minimalism

Minimalism describes movements in various forms of art and design, especially visual art and music, where the work is set out to expose the essence or identity of a subject through eliminating all non-essential forms, features or concepts. Minimalism is any design or style in which the simplest and fewest elements are used to create the maximum effect.

As a specific movement in the arts it is identified with developments in post–World War II Western Art, most strongly with American visual arts in the 1960s and early 1970s. Prominent artists associated with this movement include Donald Judd, John McCracken, Agnes Martin, Dan Flavin, Robert Morris, Anne Truitt, and Frank Stella. It is rooted in the reductive aspects of Modernism, and is often interpreted as a reaction against Abstract expressionism and a bridge to Postminimal art practices.

Hannah-Höch---Cut-with-the-Dada-Kitchen-Knife-through-the-Last-Weimar-Beer-Belly-Cultural-Epoch-in-Germany

History of Modern Art: Dada

Dada was an informal international movement, with participants in Europe and North America. The beginnings of Dada correspond to the outbreak of World War I. For many participants, the movement was a protest against the bourgeois nationalist and colonialist interests, which many Dadaists believed were the root cause of the war, and against the cultural and intellectual conformity—in art and more broadly in society—that corresponded to the war.

Marcel Duchamp - Fountain

Marcel Duchamp – Fountain

Many Dadaists believed that the ‘reason’ and ‘logic’ of bourgeois capitalist society had led people into war.They expressed their rejection of that ideology in artistic expression that appeared to reject logic and embrace chaos and irrationality.For example, George Grosz later recalled that his Dadaist art was intended as a protest “against this world of mutual destruction.”

According to Hans Richter, Dada was not art, it was “anti-art.”Everything for which art stood, Dada represented the opposite.Where art was concerned with traditional aesthetics, Dada ignored aesthetics. If art was to appeal to sensibilities, Dada was intended to offend.

As Hugo Ball expressed it, “For us, art is not an end in itself … but it is an opportunity for the true perception and criticism of the times we live in.”

A reviewer from the American Art News stated at the time that: “Dada philosophy is the sickest, most paralyzing and most destructive thing that has ever originated from the brain of man.

Art historians have described Dada as being, in large part, a “reaction to what many of these artists saw as nothing more than an insane spectacle of collective homicide.”

Years later, Dada artists described the movement as:

a phenomenon bursting forth in the midst of the postwar economic and moral crisis, a savior, a monster, which would lay waste to everything in its path… [It was] a systematic work of destruction and demoralization… In the end it became nothing but an act of sacrilege.

1937 Cord automobile model 812, designed in 1935 by Gordon M. Buehrig and staff

History of Modern Art: Art Deco

Hi folks, welcome back to our journey in the history of modern art.

Today we’ll be reviewing Art Deco!

Art Deco or Deco, is an influential visual arts design style which first appeared in France during the 1920s, flourished internationally during the 30s and 40s, then waned in the post-World War II era. It is an eclectic style that combines traditional craft motifs with Machine Age imagery and materials. The style is often characterized by rich colors, bold geometric shapes and lavish ornamentation.

U.S. Works Progress Administration poster, John Wagner, artist, ca. 1940

U.S. Works Progress Administration poster, John Wagner, artist, ca. 1940

Deco emerged from the Interwar period when rapid industrialization was transforming culture. One of its major attributes is an embrace of technology. This distinguishes Deco from the organic motifs favored by its predecessor Art Nouveau.

Historian Bevis Hillier defined Art Deco as “an assertively modern style…[that] ran to symmetry rather than asymmetry, and to the rectilinear rather than the curvilinear; it responded to the demands of the machine and of new material…[and] the requirements of mass production.”

During its heyday Art Deco represented luxury, glamour, exuberance, and faith in social and technological progress.

The first use of the term Art Deco has been attributed to architect Le Corbusier who penned a series of articles in his journal L’Esprit nouveau under the headline 1925 Expo: Arts Déco. He was referring to the 1925 Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes (International Exposition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts).

The term was used more generally in 1966 when a French exhibition celebrating the 1925 event was held under the title Les Années 25: Art Déco/Bauhaus/Stijl/Esprit Nouveau. Here the phrase was used to distinguish French decorative crafts of the Belle Epoque from those of later periods.

The Robe Following Her # 4', oil on canvas painting by Jim Dine, 1984-5

History of Modern Art: Pop Art

Hello everyone, today in our History of Modern Art series we’ll review the pop art movement!

Pop art is an art movement that emerged in the mid 1950s in Britain and in the late 1950s in the United States. Pop art presented a challenge to traditions of fine art by including imagery from popular culture such as advertising, news, etc. In Pop art, material is sometimes visually removed from its known context, isolated, and/or combined with unrelated material. The concept of pop art refers not as much to the art itself as to the attitudes that led to it.

The Robe Following Her # 4', oil on canvas painting by Jim Dine, 1984-5

The Robe Following Her # 4′, oil on canvas painting by Jim Dine, 1984-5

Pop art employs aspects of mass culture, such as advertising, comic books and mundane cultural objects. It is widely interpreted as a reaction to the then-dominant ideas of abstract expressionism, as well as an expansion upon them. And due to its utilization of found objects and images it is similar to Dada. Pop art is aimed to employ images of popular as opposed to elitist culture in art, emphasizing the banal or kitschy elements of any given culture, most often through the use of irony. It is also associated with the artists’ use of mechanical means of reproduction or rendering techniques.

Much of pop art is considered incongruent, as the conceptual practices that are often used make it difficult for some to readily comprehend. Pop art and minimalism are considered to be art movements that precede postmodern art, or are some of the earliest examples of Post-modern Art themselves.

Pop art often takes as its imagery that which is currently in use in advertising. Product labeling and logos figure prominently in the imagery chosen by pop artists, like in the Campbell’s Soup Cans labels, by Andy Warhol. Even the labeling on the shipping box containing retail items has been used as subject matter in pop art, for example in Warhol’s Campbell’s Tomato Juice Box 1964, or his Brillo Soap Box sculptures.

Bauhaus Typography

History of Modern Art: Bauhaus

Hello folks, and welcome back to our history of modern art series! Today we’ll be exploring Bauhaus!

Staatliches Bauhaus, commonly known simply as Bauhaus, was a school in Germany that combined crafts and the fine arts, and was famous for the approach to design that it publicized and taught. It operated from 1919 to 1933. At that time the German term Bauhaus, literally “house of construction” stood for “School of Building”.

Foyer of the Bauhaus-University Weimar

Foyer of the Bauhaus-University Weimar

The Bauhaus school was founded by Walter Gropius in Weimar. In spite of its name, and the fact that its founder was an architect, the Bauhaus did not have an architecture department during the first years of its existence. Nonetheless it was founded with the idea of creating a ‘total’ work of art in which all arts, including architecture would eventually be brought together.

The Bauhaus style became one of the most influential currents in Modernist architecture and modern design.The Bauhaus had a profound influence upon subsequent developments in art, architecture, graphic design, interior design, industrial design, and typography.

The school existed in three German cities (Weimar from 1919 to 1925, Dessau from 1925 to 1932 and Berlin from 1932 to 1933), under three different architect-directors: Walter Gropius from 1919 to 1928, Hannes Meyer from 1928 to 1930 and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe from 1930 until 1933, when the school was closed by its own leadership under pressure from the Nazi regime.

The changes of venue and leadership resulted in a constant shifting of focus, technique, instructors, and politics. For instance: the pottery shop was discontinued when the school moved from Weimar to Dessau, even though it had been an important revenue source; when Mies van der Rohe took over the school in 1930, he transformed it into a private school, and would not allow any supporters of Hannes Meyer to attend it.

Theo van Doesburg - Counter-CompositionV (1924)

History of Modern Art: De Stijl

Hello folks, our journey in modern art history resumes, and this time will review the De Stilj (or neoplasticism) movement!

De Stijl, Dutch for “The Style”, also known as neoplasticism, was a Dutch artistic movement founded in 1917. In a narrower sense, the term De Stijl is used to refer to a body of work from 1917 to 1931 founded in the Netherlands.

Kazimir Malevich - Supremus No. 58

History of Modern Art: Suprematism and Constructivism

The Suprematism Movement

Suprematism was an art movement, focused on basic geometric forms, such as circles, squares, lines, and rectangles, painted in a limited range of colors. It was founded by Kazimir Malevich in Russia, in 1915. The term suprematism refers to an art based upon “the supremacy of pure artistic feeling” rather than on visual depiction of objects.

Kazimir Malevich - Supremus No. 58

Kazimir Malevich – Supremus No. 58

Kasimir Malevich originated Suprematism when he was an established painter having exhibited in the Donkey’s Tail and the Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider) exhibitions of 1912 with cubo-futurist works. The proliferation of new artistic forms in painting, poetry and theatre as well as a revival of interest in the traditional folk art of Russia provided a rich environment in which a Modernist culture was born. In “Suprematism” (Part II of his book The Non-Objective World, which was published 1927 in Munich as Bauhaus Book No. 11), Malevich clearly stated the core concept of Suprematism: “Under Suprematism I understand the primacy of pure feeling in creative art. To the Suprematist, the visual phenomena of the objective world are, in themselves, meaningless; the significant thing is feeling, as such, quite apart from the environment in which it is called forth.”

He created a suprematist “grammar” based on fundamental geometric forms; in particular, the square and the circle. In the 0.10 Exhibition in 1915, Malevich exhibited his early experiments in suprematist painting. The centerpiece of his show was the Black Square, placed in what is called the red/beautiful corner in Russian Orthodox tradition ; the place of the main icon in a house. “Black Square” was painted in 1915 and was presented as a breakthrough in his career and in art in general. Malevich also painted White on White which was also heralded as a milestone. “White on White” was a breakthrough from polychrome to monochrome Suprematism.

On video: Discussion about Monet’s Cliff Walk at Pourville (Impressionism) and Malevich’s White on White (Suprematism)

The Constructivism movement

Constructivism was an artistic and architectural philosophy that originated in Russia beginning in 1919, which was a rejection of the idea of autonomous art. The movement was in favour of art as a practice for social purposes. Constructivism had a great effect on modern art movements of the 20th century, influencing major trends such as Bauhaus and the De Stijl movement. Its influence was pervasive, with major impacts upon architecture, graphic and industrial design, theatre, film, dance, fashion and to some extent music.

Vladimir Mayakovsky  - Agitprop Poster

Vladimir Mayakovsky – Agitprop Poster

The term Construction Art was first used as a derisive term by Kazimir Malevich to describe the work of Alexander Rodchenko in 1917.Constructivism first appears as a positive term in Naum Gabo’s Realistic Manifesto of 1920. Alexei Gan used the word as the title of his book Constructivism, which was printed in 1922.

Constructivism was a post-World War I development of Russian Futurism, and particularly of the ‘corner-counter reliefs’ of Vladimir Tatlin, which had been exhibited in 1915. The term itself would be invented by the sculptors Antoine Pevsner and Naum Gabo, who developed an industrial, angular style of work, while its geometric abstraction owed something to the Suprematism of Kasimir Malevich. IZO, the Commissariat’s artistic bureau, was managed during the Russian Civil War mainly by Futurists, who published the journal Art of the Commune. Constructivism in Moscow was represented by VKhUTEMAS, the school for art and design established in 1919. Gabo later stated that teaching at the school emphasized political and ideological discussion rather than art-making. Despite this, Gabo himself designed a radio transmitter in 1920 (and would submit a design to the Palace of the Soviets competition in 1930).

As much as involving itself in designs for industry, the Constructivists worked on public festivals and street designs for the post-October revolution Bolshevik government. Perhaps the most famous of these was in Vitebsk, where Malevich’s UNOVIS Group painted propaganda plaques and buildings (the best known being El Lissitzky’s poster Beat the Whites with the Red Wedge (1919)).

Inspired by Vladimir Mayakovsky’s declaration ‘the streets our brushes, the squares our palettes’, artists and designers participated in public life during the Civil War. A striking instance was the proposed festival for the Comintern congress in 1921 by Alexander Vesnin and Liubov Popova, which resembled the constructions of the OBMOKhU exhibition as well as their work for the theatre. There was a great deal of overlap during this period between Constructivism and Proletkult, the ideas of which concerning the need to create an entirely new culture struck a chord with the Constructivists. In addition some Constructivists were heavily involved in the ‘ROSTA Windows’, a Bolshevik public information campaign of around 1920. Some of the most famous of these were by the poet-painter Vladimir Mayakovsky and Vladimir Lebedev.

What is the difference of Constructivism and Suprematism?

Malevich’s Suprematism is fundamentally opposed to the post-revolutionary positions of Constructivism and materialism. Constructivism, with its cult of the object, is concerned with utilitarian strategies of adapting art to the principles of functional organization. Under Constructivism, the traditional easel painter is transformed into the artist-as-engineer in charge of organizing life in all of its aspects.

Suprematism, in sharp contrast to Constructivism, embodies a profoundly anti-materialist, anti-utilitarian philosophy. In “Suprematism” (Part II of The Non-Objective World), Malevich writes:

Art no longer cares to serve the state and religion, it no longer wishes to illustrate the history of manners, it wants to have nothing further to do with the object, as such, and believes that it can exist, in and for itself, without “things” (that is, the “time-tested well-spring of life”).

Jean-Claude Marcadé has observed that “Despite superficial similarities between Constructivism and Suprematism, the two movements are nevertheless antagonists and it is very important to distinguish between them.” According to Marcadé, confusion has arisen because several artists – either directly associated with Suprematism such as El Lissitzky or working under the suprematist influence as did Rodchenko and Liubov Popova – later abandoned Suprematism for the culture of materials.

Suprematism does not embrace a humanist philosophy which places man at the center of the universe. Rather, Suprematism envisions man – the artist – as both originator and transmitter of what for Malevich is the world’s only true reality – that of absolute non-objectivity.

…a blissful sense of liberating non-objectivity drew me forth into a “desert”, where nothing is real except feeling… (“Suprematism”, Part II of The Non-Objective World)

For Malevich, it is upon the foundations of absolute non-objectivity that the future of the universe will be built – a future in which appearances, objects, comfort, and convenience no longer dominate.

Legacy and Influence of Constructivism

The Constructivists were early developers of the techniques of photomontage. Gustav Klutsis’ ‘Dynamic City’ and ‘Lenin and Electrification’ (1919–20) are the first examples of this method of montage, which had in common with Dadaism the collaging together of news photographs and painted sections. However Constructivist montages would be less ‘destructive’ than those of Dadaism. Perhaps the most famous of these montages was Rodchenko’s illustrations of the Mayakovsky poem About This.
LEF also helped popularise a distinctive style of photography, involving jagged angles and contrasts and an abstract use of light, which paralleled the work of Laszlo Moholy-Nagy in Germany: the major practitioners of this included, along with Rodchenko, Boris Ignatovich and Max Penson, among others. This also shared many characteristics with the early documentary movement. Meanwhile LEF produced an architectural version, the OSA group directed by Alexander Vesnin and Moisei Ginzburg – for more information see Constructivist architecture.

Alexander Rodchenko - An advertising construction

Alexander Rodchenko – An advertising construction

The book designs of Rodchenko, El Lissitzky and others such as Solomon Telingater and Anton Lavinsky were a major inspiration for the work of radical designers in the West, particularly Jan Tschichold. Many Constructivists worked on the design of posters for everything from cinema to political propaganda: the former represented best by the brightly coloured, geometric posters of the Stenberg brothers (Georgii and Vladimir Stenberg), and the latter by the agitational photomontage work of Gustav Klutsis and Valentina Kulagina.

A number of Constructivists would teach or lecture at the Bauhaus schools in Germany, and some of the VKhUTEMAS teaching methods were adopted and developed there. Gabo established a version of Constructivism in England during the 1930s and 1940s that was adopted by architects, designers and artists after World War I (see Victor Pasmore), and John McHale. Joaquín Torres García and Manuel Rendón were instrumental in spreading Constructivism throughout Europe and Latin America. Constructivism had an effect on the modern masters of Latin America such as: Carlos Mérida, Enrique Tábara, Aníbal Villacís, Theo Constanté, Oswaldo Viteri, Estuardo Maldonado, Luis Molinari, Carlos Catasse, João Batista Vilanova Artigas and Oscar Niemeyer, to name just a few. There have also been disciples in Australia, the painter George Johnson being the best known.

In the 1980s graphic designer Neville Brody used styles based on Constructivist posters that initiated a revival of popular interest. Also during the 1980s designer Ian Anderson founded The Designers Republic, a successful and influential design company which uses constructivist principles.
So-called Deconstructivist architecture was developed by architects Zaha Hadid, Rem Koolhaas and others during the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Zaha Hadid by her sketches and drawings of abstract triangles and rectangles evokes the aesthetic of constructivism. Though similar formally, the socialist political connotations of Russian constructivism are deemphasized by Hadid’s deconstructivism. Rem Koolhaas’ projects revive another aspect of constructivism. The scaffold and crane-like structures represented by many constructivist architects are used for the finished forms of his designs and buildings.

Cinematic influences include Bulgarian born animator Theodore Ushev’s 2006 brief film Tower Bawher. Inspired by Russian constructivist art, the animated short features visual references to artists of the era including Vertov, Stenberg, Rodchenko, Lissitsky and Popova.

Hope you enjoyed the article as much as i did compiling the info and the images! See you next time!

Articles’ Images are in the public domain because their copyright has expired or are displayed here under the “ fair use” copyright law, and are available through Wikipedia & Wikimedia.

This Articles’ text is licensed under the Creative Commons BY-SA License since it partially uses material from Wikipedia.

Natalia-Goncharova-The-Cyclist

History of Modern Art: Futurism

Futurism was an artistic and social movement that originated in Italy in the early 20th century. It emphasized and glorified themes associated with contemporary concepts of the future, including speed, technology, youth and violence, and objects such as the car, the airplane and the industrial city. It was largely an Italian phenomenon, though there were parallel movements in Russia, England and elsewhere.

The Futurists practiced in every medium of art, including painting, sculpture, ceramics, graphic design, industrial design, interior design, urban design, theatre, film, fashion, textiles, literature, music, architecture and even gastronomy.

Jean Metzinger - The Rider

History of Modern Art: Cubism

Welcome back to the history of modern art series! Today we’ll review the cubism movement.

Georges Braque - Violin and Candlestick

Georges Braque – Violin and Candlestick

Cubism is a 20th century avant-garde art movement, pioneered by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque, that revolutionized European painting and sculpture, and inspired related movements in music, literature and architecture. In cubist artworks, objects are broken up, analysed, and re-assembled in an abstracted form—instead of depicting objects from one viewpoint, the artist depicts the subject from a multitude of viewpoints to represent the subject in a greater context. Often the surfaces intersect at seemingly random angles, removing a coherent sense of depth. The background and object planes interpenetrate one another to create the shallow ambiguous space, one of cubism’s distinct characteristics.

The beginnings of Cubism have been dated between 1907 and 1911. The question of when Cubism began depends on the questions of how it can be defined, what distinguishes Cubist art and who developed it first. Pablo Picasso’s 1907 painting Les Demoiselles d’Avignon has often been considered a proto-Cubist work. As such Picasso became recognized by 1911 as the inventor of Cubism, while Braque’s importance and precedence was argued later.

During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the European cultural elite were discovering African, Micronesian and Native American art for the first time. Artists such as Paul Gauguin, Henri Matisse, and Pablo Picasso were intrigued and inspired by the stark power and simplicity of styles of those foreign cultures. Around 1906, Picasso met Matisse through Gertrude Stein, at a time when both artists had recently acquired an interest in primitivism, Iberian sculpture, African art and African tribal masks. They became friendly rivals and competed with each other throughout their careers, perhaps leading to Picasso entering a new period in his work by 1907, marked by the influence of Greek, Iberian and African art. Picasso’s paintings of 1907 have been characterized as Protocubism, as notably seen in Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, the antecedent of Cubism.

The Cubism of Picasso, Braque and Gris had more than a technical or formal significance, and the distinct attitudes and intentions of the Salon Cubists produced different kinds of Cubism, rather than a derivative of their work. “It is by no means clear, in any case,” writes Christopher Green, “to what extent these other Cubists depended on Picasso and Braque for their development of such techniques as faceting, ‘passage’ and multiple perspective; they could well have arrived at such practices with little knowledge of ‘true’ Cubism in its early stages, guided above all by their own understanding of Cézanne.” The works exhibited by these Cubists at the 1911 and 1912 Salons extended beyond the conventional Cézanne-like subjects—the posed model, still-life and landscape—favored by Picasso and Braque to include large-scale modern-life subjects. Aimed at a large public, these works stressed the use of multiple perspective and complex planar faceting for expressive effect while preserving the eloquence of subjects endowed with literary and philosophical connotations.

Pablo Picasso - Les Demoiselles d'Avignon

Pablo Picasso – Les Demoiselles d’Avignon

The most innovative period of Cubism was before 1914. After World War I, with the support given by the dealer Léonce Rosenberg, Cubism returned as a central issue for artists, and continued as such until the mid-1920s when its avant-garde status was rendered questionable by the emergence of geometric abstraction and Surrealism in Paris. Many Cubists, including Picasso, Braque, Gris, Léger, Gleizes and Metzinger, while developing other styles, returned periodically to Cubism, even well after 1925. Cubism re-emerged during the 1920s and the 1930s in the work of the American Stuart Davis and the Englishman Ben Nicholson. In France, however, Cubism experienced a decline from about 1925.

 

Juan Gris -  Portrait of Picasso

Juan Gris – Portrait of Picasso

 

Important Cubism artists:

Other important cubism paintings include:

  • Georges Braque – Glass on a Table 1909-10
  • Georges Braque – Bottle and Fishes circa 1910-2
  • Albert Gleizes – Portrait of Jacques Nayral 1911
  • Louis Marcoussis – Interior with a Double Bass 1929
  • Louis Marcoussis – Rain 1929
  • Juan Gris – Bottle of Rum and Newspaper 1913-4

Far from being an art movement confined to the annals of art history, Cubism and its legacy continue to inform the work of many contemporary artists. Not only is Cubist imagery regularly used commercially, but significant numbers of contemporary artists continue to draw upon it both stylistically and perhaps more importantly, theoretically. The latter contains the clue as to the reason for Cubism’s enduring fascination for artists. As an essentially representational school of painting, having to come to grips with the rising importance of photography as an increasingly viable method of image making, Cubism attempts to take representational imagery beyond the mechanically photographic, and to move beyond the bounds of traditional single point perspective perceived as though by a totally immobile viewer. The questions and theories which arose during the initial appearance of Cubism in the early 20th century are, for many representational artists, as current today as when first proposed.

 

Hope you enjoyed the article as much as i did compiling the info and the images! See you next time!

Articles’ Images are in the public domain because their copyright has expired or are displayed here under the “ fair use” copyright law, and are available through WikipediaWikimedia.

This Articles’ text is licensed under the Creative Commons BY-SA License since it partially uses material from Wikipedia.