Art of the 20th Century



A Revolution in the Arts

 

 



Art Styles in 20th century Art Map

 

 


 

The Great Avant-garde Movements

 

 
 


Dadaism
- 1916


Marcel Duchamp 
Francis Picabia
Jean Arp
Raoul Hausmann
Kurt Schwitters
Man Ray

Collage and Photomontage - term was coined by Berlin Dadaists c. 1917
John Heartfield
Hannah Hoch
Georges Hugnet

De Stijl - 1917

Artists Groups - 1917
November Group - Finnish group of painters, 1917
Agitprop (Rus. agitatsionnaya propaganda) - 1917
Proletkult
(Rus. Proletarskaya kultura) - 1917
Svomas
(Rus. Svobodniye khudozhestvenniye masterskiye) - 1917
Formists.
Polish group - 1917


Pittura Metafisica
- 1917

Giorgio de Chirico
Alberto Savinio
Giorgio Morandi
Filippo De Pisis

Arturo Martini
Felice Casorati


Purism
-
1918

Le Corbusier
Amedee Ozentant

Artists Groups 1918-1919
Arbeitsrat fur Kunst - Association of German architects, artists, 1918
Neue Leben - Swiss group of artists, 1918
Revolt group - Polish group of artists, 1918
7 & 5 Society - British exhibiting society, 1919
Unovis (Rus. Utverditeli Novogo Iskusstva)  - 1919


Neo-plasticism
-
1919

Piet Mondrian
Theo van Doesburg

 



 

 


Dadaism
 

The upheavals that took place in the art world prior to the outbreak of World War I shared a determination to give the aesthetic message new content and form. Efforts to achieve this exploited hitherto unexplored methods and techniques. The rupture with tradition and the past was sometimes violent and provocative, and excessively intellectualized and individualistic attitudes had undermined the message that artists sought to convey to the spectator. However, the value of aesthetic endeavour had never been questioned. No one had refuted the need for art that could be an expression of the moment, through the rational analysis of structure or the interpretation of rhythms and shades of colour, In spite of earnest experimentation and an eagerness among artists to expound theories, a reaction of radical denial soon set in. This took the form of a rejection of all artistic creation and culture, all coherent and rational communication, as if the outbreak of such a dreadful war, the impoverishment of moral values, and the decay of humankind that it revealed, made any attempt at communication futile and untimely. The term "Dada", first used in Zurich in 1916, came to stand for a movement inspired by the profane, nihilistic attitudes of artists who rejected the concept of the "creation of a work of art". Instead, banal, everyday objects, bereft of any intrinsic aesthetic value, were adopted for their allusive, symbolic, and conceptual resonances. Works were often dependent upon the artist's choice of a title that exploited double meanings and humorous ambiguities. Dadaists were not interested in formal plastic-qualities, preferring to concentrate on a controversial and provocative action that displaced and decontextualized an object, endowing it with multiple meanings. These were the aims of Marcel Duchamp who proved to be the most interesting and intellectual of all the exponents of Dadaism. Although his early works anticipated and inspired American Dadaism, Duchamp was never recognized as one of the movement's founders. Some of his earliest "readymade" works such as the Bottle-Rack (1914) were bereft of any intervention on the part of the artist, while others were "assisted": for example, his Bicycle Wheel (1913) was fixed to a stool, or Mona Lisa (1919). which was adorned with a little goatee beard, a moustache, and a provocative, cryptic caption. His notorious Fountain was shown in New York in 1917. While Duchamp was laying the foundations of Conceptual art in Europe and the US, a group of war exiles who had taken refuge in Zurich, launched Dadaism in the Cabaret Voltaire, a club opened by a versatile German, Hugo Ball. The movement's manifesto (published in 1918 by Tristan Tzara) promoted ideology above artistic content, and stated that Dadaism should have no meaning whatsoever. Among the founding members were Jean Arp, Marcel Janco, and Richard Huelsenbeck, who were joined in 1918 by Francis Picabia (1879-1953), founder of the Spanish Dadaist movement. When Huelsenbeck returned to Berlin in 1917 and joined forces with George Grosz, Otto Dix (1891-1969), Raoul Hausmann (1886-1971), and John Heartfield (1891-1968).
 


Jean Arp



Enak's Tears (Terrestrial Forms)
1917


Raoul Hausmann


Spirit of Our Time (Mechanical Head)
1919

 


Dadaism also spread through Germany. There, it became recognizably-controversial as most of the Dadaists belonged to the League of Spartacus, a radical socialist group that became the German Communist Party in 1919. It found expression in collages and photomontages that violently denounced certain aspects of society. The collaboration between
Jean Arp and Max Ernst in Cologne produced some of Dadaism's most interesting figurative works, including "frottages", created by shading over the texture of an object in order to reproduce its surface image in the form of a rubbing.

Meanwhile, Kurt Schwitters (1887-1948), a lone Dadaist in Hanover, recycled an enormous variety of discarded items for his merz pictures - taken from kommerz meaning commerce - which denounced the commercialization of avant-garde art.

During the years immediately after the war, Paris was the focal point of Dadaism. In the movement's last phase, confrontation grew between Tzara, who remained committed to his nihilistic stance, and Andre Breton, who took Dadaism as a starting point to develop a new modern movement, which would find expression in Surrealism.
 

   
 


Frottage

Technique of reproducing a texture or relief design by laying paper over it and rubbing it with some drawing medium, for example pencil or crayon. Max Ernst and other Surrealist artists incorporated such rubbings into their paintings by means of collage. It is also a popular method of making rubbings of medieval church brasses and other ancient monuments and inscriptions.

 

 

Merz

Term applied to a flat or relief collage of collected junk. It is associated with KURT SCHWITTERS, who apparently invented the word when cutting out the word ‘Commerzbank’ from a newspaper for a collage he was making. Merz is also the title of a Dada magazine that he edited from 1923.

 

 

 

 


COLLAGE, READY-MADES, AND PHOTOMONTAGE
 

The introduction of new materials into works of art was initiated by the Cubists. Everyday objects were combined with trompe I oeil paintings of objects in their collages and papiers colles. used chromatically or metaphorically to give the painting greater reality and spatial autonomy. For his Futurist works Fusion of a Head and a Window-dad Head + House + Light, Boccioni used hair, part of a window, and even an iron railing. In answer to Giovanni Papinis criticisms in 1914, he stated that it was vital to replace imitation with reality in order to increase expressive potential. The Dadaists experimented endlessly with heterogenous materials, either as an expression or admiration for modern technology, or as a rejection of industrialized society. Ready-mades were banal objects elevated to works of art through their selection by the artist. Schwitters' assemblages were made with discarded items, while Heartfield and Grosz used old photographs and newspapers.
 


Kurt Schwitters


Cherry Picture
1921
Collage of colored papers, fabrics, printed labels and pictures,
pieces of wood, and gouache on cardboard background
 

 

 

 

 


Collage

Art form and technique, incorporating the use of pre-existing materials or objects attached as part of a two-dimensional surface. Despite occasional usage by earlier artists and wide informal use in popular art, collage is closely associated with 20th-century art, in which it has often served as a correlation with the pace and discontinuity of the modern world. In particular it often made use of the OBJET TROUVÉ, while the principle of collage was extended into sculpture in the form of the ASSEMBLAGE. The first deliberate and innovative use of collage in fine art came in two works by Picasso in the spring of 1912. In The Letter he pasted a real Italian postage stamp on to a depicted letter, while Still-life with Chair-caning (Paris, Mus. Picasso) included printed oil-cloth simulating a chair-caning pattern, the oval canvas surrounded by a ‘frame’ made of a continuous loop of rope. Picasso followed this by affixing a piece of gingerbread (untraced) to the lower part of Guitare: ‘J’aime Eva’  from the summer of 1912. His Cubist colleagues were meanwhile experimenting with adapting the technique for their own purposes. Juan Gris added fragments of a mirror, for example, to the Hand Basin, which he sent to the Salon de la Section d’Or in October 1912, where the first Cubist collages were publicly exhibited. At about the same time Georges Braque purchased imitation wood-grain paper, generally used for interior decoration, at a shop in Avignon. By combining this faux bois paper, affixed to a white sheet, with drawing, Braque created the papier collé (‘pasted paper’), a specific form of collage, closer to traditional drawing than to painting, consisting essentially of a collage of paper elements with a paper support (e.g. Glass and Playing Cards, 1912; Los Angeles, CA, Co. Mus. A.). Braque and then Picasso made many papiers collés in the last three months of 1912 and in early 1913, with Picasso often using cuttings from the newspaper Le Journal to introduce the possibility of allusion to everyday events in the very fabric of the work, whereas Braque tended to restrict himself to the more abstract wood-grain papers, carefully arranged for formal effect. Picasso also developed the idea of collage into three-dimensional work with the first assemblages, such as the cardboard Guitar (1912; New York, MOMA).

 

 


Assemblage


Art form in which natural and manufactured, traditionally non-artistic, materials and objets trouvés are assembled into three-dimensional structures. As such it is closely related to COLLAGE, and like collage it is associated with Cubism, although its origins can be traced back beyond this. As much as by the materials used, it can be characterized by the way in which they are treated. In an assemblage the banal, often tawdry materials retain their individual physical and functional identity, despite artistic manipulation. The term was coined by Jean Dubuffet in 1953 to refer to his series of butterfly-wing collages and series of lithographs based on paper collages, which date from that year. Although these were in fact collages, he felt that that term ought to be reserved for the collage works of Braque, Picasso and the Dadaists of the period between 1910 and 1920. By 1954 Dubuffet had extended the term to cover a series of three-dimensional works made from primarily natural materials and objects. The concept of assemblage was given wide public currency by the exhibition The Art of Assemblage at MOMA, New York, in 1961. This included works by nearly 140 international artists, including Braque, Joseph Cornell, Dubuffet, Marcel Duchamp, Picasso, Robert Rauschenberg, Man Ray and Kurt Schwitters. Several of the works shown were in fact collages, but the breadth of styles and artists included reflects the wide application of the term and the sometimes fine distinction between assemblage and collage. The ‘combine paintings’ of Rauschenberg, for example, fall awkwardly between the two, being essentially planar but with often extensive protrusions of objects. The inclusion of real objects and materials both expanded the range of artistic possibilities and attempted to bridge the gap between art and life.

 

 

Objet trouve

Term applied in the 20th century to existing objects, manufactured or of natural origin, used in, or as, works of art. With the exception of the READY-MADE, in which a manufactured object is generally presented on its own without mediation, the objet trouvé is most often used as raw material in an ASSEMBLAGE, with juxtaposition as a guiding principle. Prior to the 20th century unusual objects were collected in cabinets of curiosities, but it was only in the early 20th century that found objects came to be appreciated as works of art in their own right. Antoni Gaudí, for example, used broken pieces of pottery to cover exterior surfaces in the Park Guell buildings (1900–14) in Barcelona  and on various buildings designed by him during the same period. The development of COLLAGE in Cubism heralded a greater dependence on found objects, paralleling the incorporation of conversational fragments in the poetry of Guillaume Apollinaire from 1912; Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque, in particular, used real items in their paintings and constructions as a way of commenting on the relationship between reality, representation and illusion. Their example in turn encouraged Vladimir Tatlin to use ordinary objects in his reliefs of 1913–14, and other sculptors, such as Alexander Archipenko and Umberto Boccioni, to extend the range of materials acceptable in sculpture.
 

 




 

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Photomontage

Technique by which a composite photographic image is formed by combining images from separate photographic sources. The term was coined by Berlin Dadaists c. 1917-18 and was employed by artists such as George Grosz, John Heartfield, Raoul Hausmann and Hannah Hoch for images often composed from mass-produced sources such as newspapers and magazines.

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John Heartfield


War and Corpses: The Last Hope of the Rich
Photomontage
 


Hannah Hoch


Strange beauty
Photomontage
 


Georges Hugnet


Le retour au passe
Photomontage
 

 




 


Marcel Duchamp


Fountain
1917

DADAISM IN THE US
 

Marcel Duchamp and Francis Picabia were instrumental in the success of Dadaism in the US. They took part in the 1913 Armory Show in New York (Duchamp exhibited his Nude Descending a Staircase), which provided the first important opportunity for a comparison and exchange of ideas between European and North American avant-garde artists. Duchamp and Picabia were fascinated by the level of industrialization and mechanization in the US. Duchamp interpreted these themes in his ready-made works, while Picabia translated them onto canvas in his "mecanomorphic" pictures. On their return visit to the US from 1915 to 1918. they contributed to the 291 review (which Picabia later emulated in Barcelona under the title 391) and participated in exhibitions at the 291 gallery, which was founded by the photographer and dealer Alfred Stieglitz. Here, they were joined by the ingenious Man Ray, a great experimenter with new artistic materials and the ironic and caustic creator of paradoxical objects, which were unmistakably of Dadaist inspiration. Together with Duchamp and Katherine Dreier, Man Ray founded the Societe Anonyme, the first permanent exhibition devoted to avant-garde art.

 




 


Francis Picabia


Parade Amoureuse


Man Ray


Cift

 




 

 


Katherine
Sophie Dreier
(1877 – 1952)


Abstract Portrait of Marcel Duchamp
1918

 




 

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De Stijl

 



  
Burgoyne Diller
(American Painter, 1906-1965)

Third Theme





Bart van der Leck
(Dutch Painter, 1876-1958)
The Cat




Marlow Moss
(British, 1890-1958)

Composition
 



De Stijl
[Dut.: ‘the style’].

 

Dutch periodical founded by Theo van Doesburg in 1917 and published in Leiden until 1932; the name was also applied from the 1920s to a distinctive movement and to the group of artists associated with it. The periodical’s subtitle, Maandblad voor de beeldende vakken (Monthly Journal of the Expressive Professions), indicates the range of artists to which it was appealing, and van Doesburg’s intention was that it be a platform for all those who were concerned with a new art: painters, sculptors, architects, urban planners, typographers, interior designers and decoratve artists, musicians, poets and dramatists. The search for a nieuwe beelding (new imagery) was characterized by the elementary components of the primary colours, flat, rectangular areas and only straight, horizontal and vertical lines. Former ideals of beauty had to be relinquished in favour of a new consciousness to represent the spirit of the times.

 


De Stijl

(Encyclopaedia Britannica)

(Dutch: “The Style”), group of Dutch artists in Amsterdam in 1917, including the painters Piet Mondrian, Theo van Doesburg, and Vilmos Huszár, the architect Jacobus Johannes Pieter Oud, and the poet A. Kok; other early associates of De Stijl were Bart van der Leck, Georges Vantongerloo, Jan Wils, and Robert van't Hoff. Its members, working in an abstract style, were seekinglaws of equilibrium and harmony applicable both to art and tolife.

De Stijl's most outstanding painter was Mondrian, whose art was rooted in the mystical ideas of Theosophy. Although influenced by his contact with Analytical Cubism in Paris before 1914, Mondrian thought that it had fallen short of its goal by not having developed toward pure abstraction, or, as he put it, “the expression of pure plastics” (which he later called Neoplasticism). In his search for an art of clarity and order that would also express his religious and philosophical beliefs, Mondrian eliminated all representational components, reducing painting to its elements: straight lines, plane surfaces, rectangles, and the primary colours (red, yellow, and blue) combined with neutrals (black, gray, and white). Van Doesburg, who shared Mondrian's austere principles, launched the group's periodical, De Stijl (1917–32), which set forth the theories of its members.

As a movement, De Stijl influenced painting, decorative arts (including furniture design), typography, and architecture, but it was principally architecture that realized both De Stijl's stylistic aims and its goal of close collaboration among the arts. The Worker's Housing Estate in Hoek van Holland (1924–27), designed by Oud, expresses the same clarity, austerity, and order found in a Mondrian painting. Gerrit Rietveld, another architect associated with De Stijl, also applied its stylistic principles in his work; the Schröder House in Utrecht (1924), for example, resembles a Mondrian painting in the severe purity of its facade and in its interior plan. Beyond The Netherlands, the De Stijl aesthetic found expression at the Bauhaus in Germany during the 1920s and in the International Style.
 

 





 

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November Group

Finnish group of painters who first exhibited in November 1917. Though the two groups co-existed for some time, the November Group was effectively the successor to the SEPTEM GROUP, representing a nationalist Expressionist art in contrast to the international Impressionist and Neo-Impressionist art of the latter. Its leader was Tyko Konstantin Sallinen, and other members included Marcus Collin (1882–1966), Alvar Cawén (1886–1935), Jalmari Ruokokoski (1886–1936) and William Lonnberg (1887–1949). The group exhibited between 1917 and 1924, though even before this, largely through the impact of Sallinen’s work, Expressionism had become established in Finnish art.

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Marcus Collin

(1882-1966)


Iltakavely kaupingen valoss


Alvar Cawen
(1886–1935)


Portrait


Jalmari Ruokokoski
(1886-1936)


Portrait

 





 

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Agitprop
[Rus. agitatsionnaya propaganda: ‘agitational propaganda’].

Russian acronym in use shortly after the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 for art applied to political and agitational ends. The prefix agit- was also applied to objects decorated or designed for this purpose, hence agitpoyezd (‘agit-train’) and agitparokhod (‘agit-boat’), decorated transport carrying propaganda to the war-front. Agitprop was not a stylistic term; it applied to various forms as many poets, painters and theatre designers became interested in agitational art. They derived new styles and techniques for it from Futurism, Suprematism and Constructivism

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Proletkult
[from Rus.
Proletarskaya kul’tura: ‘proletarian culture’].

Russian mass cultural and educational organization dealing with amateur activity in various forms of art and study for the proletariat. It was founded in Petrograd (now St Petersburg) in September 1917. By the early 1920s it had around 150 sections, with up to 400,000 members, and it published over 20 magazines. The theorists behind Proletkul’t included Aleksandr Bogdanov, Pavel Lebedev-Polyansky (1881/2–1948) and V. F. Pletnyov, who affirmed the dominant role and separate nature of ‘proletarian culture’ and rejected cultural heritage. Members of Proletkul’t incorporated in their work a complex of sociological dogma mixed with fanatical political ideas and often with downright demagogy. The Bolshevik government subjected Proletkul’t to severe criticism both for its aggressively limited approach and for its ideological dissension from party policy. From the end of 1920 Proletkul’t was mainly occupied with study and teaching programmes, bringing in well-known artists such as Pavel Kuznetsov and Sergey Konyonkov to teach in its studios. With time, the organization’s efforts in the sphere of fine art tended more towards design. By the second half of the 1920s Proletkul’t had lost its mass character, and in 1932 it was abolished along with other artistic organizations. From the start, Proletkul’t’s tendency towards a mass approach and democracy in art was a distorted version of the concept of ‘proletarian exclusivity’; it was marked by intolerance and regimented thinking.

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Pavel Kuznetsov

(1878-1968)


In the Steppe, 1908 


Sergey Konyonkov

(1874-1971)


Bather, 1917

 




 

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Svomas
[Svobodniye (gosudarstvenniye) khudozhestvenniye masterskiye; Rus.: Free State Art Studios].

Art schools set up in several cities in the USSR, including Moscow and Petrograd (St Petersburg), after the October Revolution of 1917. The teaching was dominated by the avant-garde, including Futurists and Productivists, and the schools supported mumerous artists in conditions of the harshest subsistence. In December 1918 the First Free Art Studio and the Second Free Art Studio were set up on the basis of, respectively, the Stroganov School of Applied Art and the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture. In November 1920 these merged to form VKHUTEMAS (Higher (State) Artistic and Technical Workshops).

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Formists
[Pol. Formisci].

Polish group of painters and sculptors that flourished between 1917 and 1922, from 1917 to 1919 known as the Polish Expressionists (Ekspresjonisci Polscy). A foretaste of the Formists’ work appeared in the three Wystawy niezaleznych (‘Exhibitions of the Independents’; 1911–13) in Kraków, organized by the artists later to become leading Formists: the painter and stage designer Andrzej Pronaszko (1888–1961), his brother Zbigniew Pronaszko and Tytus Czyzewski, who all opposed Impressionism and favoured Cubism, Futurism and Expressionism. The Formists first exhibited in Kraków in 1917. Their aim was to find a new form and a new national style (they saw themselves as the Polish equivalent of the Italian Futurists and French Cubists) that was in part a continuation of the artistic ideology of the turn of the century (Polish modernism). A wide variety of artists took part in Formist exhibitions, including Stanislaw Ignacy Witkiewicz, Leon Chwistek, the painter Tymon Niesiolowski (1882–1965), August Zamoyski and the graphic artist Wladyslaw Skoczylas (1883–1934), who later became the chief ideologist of national art.

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Tymon Niesiolowski
(1882–1965)



Tymon Niesiolowski
Bathing



Tymon Niesiolowski
Boats



Tymon Niesiolowski
Reclining Nude

 





 



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Pittura Metafisica
(Metaphysical Painting)
 

Giorgio de Chirico (1888-1978) was unimpressed by the avant-garde movements of the years immediately prior to World War I. After leaving his native Greece in 1906, following the death of his father, he studied in Germany. He later moved to Italy, and in 1911. to Paris, where he met Apollinaire. De Chirico was contemptuous of many of the avant-garde painters who he met in France, and dismissed the Futurists' contribution to art as worthless.

While in Germany, he was influenced by the work of the Symbolists, and his first mature paintings had a strange, dreamlike quality about them. An admiration for the tradition of the Tuscan school of primitive artists and classic figurative painting was evident in the works of de Chirico and his contemporary Carlo Carra, with whom he launched a new movement. In the first issue of the group's review Valori Plastici (published in 1918), de Chirico called the style Metaphysical Painting. Between 1914 and 1918, the work of de Chirico slowly gained critical recognition in Italy. The artist's work was shown in Paris in 1912 and 1913, and reproductions of his paintings appeared in the American arts magazine 291, while the originals were shown at the Dada gallery in Zurich. Prior to 1914, the only person to share de Chirico's artistic theories was his brother, Alberto Savinio (1891-1952). He was primarily a writer and musician, who also promoted the work of the poet and Dadaist Tristan Tzara in Italy. Savinio's play, La chanson de la mi-mort, which was published by Apollinaire in Soirees de Paris in 1913, inspired de Chirico to use mannequins in his painting - disquieting creatures who peopled such works as The Philosopher and the Poet-(1914) and The Seer (1915). Savinio's "Hermaphrodito" (published by La Voce in 1918), a surreal and ambiguous piece, is the literary equivalent of de Chirico's pictorial idiom.

In 1917, the two brothers met Carra, who had already been described as a Metaphysical painter by the art critics Papini and Soffici, and who also seemed to be in search of a link between modern and classical painting. At that time, Carra sought to escape from Futurism through a new construction of form, hoping to emulate the Tuscan primitive painters. Sensing that he was on the brink of finding his own, definitive style, his aim was to construct and see shapes anew, and to be "the Giotto of the 20th century".

After Boccioni's death in 1916 and Severini's departure for Paris, Carra was one of the leading artists in Italy, and his paintings were among the most representative of the quest to recover formal values in art. His earliest Metaphysical paintings were shown at the end of 1917 at the Chini Gallery in Milan. Although sharing the same rarefied immobility as de Chirico's work. Carra's paintings are less sinister and have a certain mellow, picturesque quality. Carra explained the theory that underpinned his paintings in Metaphysical Painting (published in 1919).

The main protagnists of Metaphysical painting were de Chirico and Carra, but Filippo De Pisis (1896-1956) and Giorgio Morandi were also briefly and peripherally involved. The influence of the style on De Pisis was slight, while Morandi continued to incorporate Metaphysical elements into his work during his long career. He used estrangement and isolation as a means of concentrating and meditating on the plastic and chromatic aspects of reality, rejecting any literary allusion, any sense of mystery, or nostalgia for classical antiquity. After World War I, and with order in Europe apparently restored, the Metaphysical "School" (a misnomer considering its few, often argumentative members) had run its course. Its successor arose from parallel artistic developments in other parts of Europe where the early 20th-century ''renaissance" was taking place, and made far more general use of formal models in the classical tradition, encapsulating ethical as well as aesthetic values. Derain, Matisse, and Picasso, among others, were subjecting art to close scrutiny and rational evaluation in order to create their own, new and vibrant, classicism.

La Ronda, a literary magazine, and Valori Plastici, edited by Mario Broglio and concentrating on the figurative arts, both served as catalysts for idealistic cultural movements in Italy. Published from 1918 to 1921, Valori Plastici welcomed theoretical articles and illustrations from contributors who condemned avant-garde experimentalism. Among them were the sculptor Arturo Martini (1889-1947) and the art critic and painter Ardengo Soffici. The review favoured a return to classical values, criticizing European avant-garde movements for abandoning these principles. Known as the Valori Plastici group, supporters of the review were invited to take part in the exhibition held at Berlin's Nationalgalerie in 1921. Among those who took this opportunity of meeting like-minded German artists from the Magischer Realismus ("Magic Realism") and the Neue Sachlichkeit ("New Objectivity") groups were Carra, de Chirico, Morandi, and Martini.

 

 

 

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Pittura Metafisica [Arte Metafisica].
 

Term applied to the work of Giorgio de Chirico and Carlo Carra before and during World War I and thereafter to the works produced by the Italian artists who grouped around them. Pittura Metafisica was characterized by a recognizable iconography: a fictive space was created in the painting, modelled on illusionistic one-point perspective but deliberately subverted. In de Chirico’s paintings this established disturbingly deep city squares, bordered by receding arcades and distant brick walls; or claustrophobic interiors, with steeply rising floors. Within these spaces classical statues and, most typically, metaphysical mannequins (derived from tailors’ dummies) provided a featureless and expressionless, surrogate human presence. Balls, coloured toys and unidentifiable solids, plaster moulds, geometrical instruments, military regalia and small realistic paintings were juxtaposed on exterior platforms or in crowded interiors and, particularly in Carra’s work, included alongside the mannequins. In the best paintings these elements were combined to give a disconcerting image of reality and to capture the disquieting nature of the everyday.

Associated with metaphysical art include  also Alberto Savinio, Giorgio Morandi and Filippo De Pisis.

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Alberto Savinio


 


Filippo De Pisis


 

 




 


Giorgio de Chirico


Love Song
1914

THE METAPHYSICAL ART OF DE CHIRICO
 

The typical motifs in de Chirico's work — towers, arcades, statues, and trains - were drawn from nostalgic recollections of his childhood in Greece and later travels in Italy. His love of myth and classical culture made his work very distinctive, executed in an incisive and prominent formal artistic language. De Chirico studied in Munich and admired Bocklin and Klinger's masterly ability to situate mythological scenes in the present, in a rarefied and frozen atmosphere. This meant that when the young artist went to Paris in 1911, he was dismissive of any fragmentation and shattering of form, and the cult of speed and modern technology. His own work was utterly different, portraying scenes with a timeless, motionless atmosphere — deserted squares surrounded by shadowy colonnades, empty and inhospitable buildings, or distant cemeteries. He described his art as "Metaphysical" because it referred to a world beyond the real world. He realized this theory by stripping his subjects of all their usual associations and placing them in new and unusual settings. His paintings had no relation to nature or history, so they did not reveal recognizable details or clues as to their meaning; hence the sense of mystery and disquiet in his works. His strange atmospheres were evoked by the use of dark shadows, anonymous mannequins, the bizarre and alienating juxtaposition of objects, and the enigmatic titles that he chose for the works. This poetic conception of art. "austere and cerebral, ascetic and lyrical", as de Chirico himself described it. was suffused with the philosophy of Nietzsche who had maintained that art had no logical significance.

 



 

 



GIORGIO MORANDI

Giorgio Morandi (1890-1964) first came to public notice in Valori Plastici. A reserved artist, he preferred to work in isolation in his studio in Bologna, exploring and developing his own line of though in search of poetic purity. Having studied the work of Cezanne, whom he revered highly. Between 1920 and the late 1930s, Morandi concentrated almost exclusively on still lifes -making bottles, carafes, and fruit bowls the typical iconography of his work. Using subtle, atmospheric combinations of colour and a limited tonal range, he imbued his pictures with an intimate serenity. After World War II, he gained international recognition, and is widely regarded as one of great still-life artists of the 20th century.
 


Giorgio Morandi


Still-Life

 
 
 



 


Arturo Martini


 

Arturo Martini

A gifted sculptor, Martini (1889-1947) was influenced by the sculpture of the past, as well as by contemporary ideas. His understanding of the meaning and vaiue of the innovative experiments of the avant-garde is revealed in his essay "La scultura, lingua morta" (1945). When young, he was influenced by the work of Adolf Hildebrand and the painter Gino Rossi. His natural talent for modelling in clay and stucco endowed his work with movement and light. His passion for ceramics was demonstrated by his polychrome terracotta works and majolica ware, which inspired Lucio Fontana. His life-size sculptures and monuments, in some cases associated with the Fascist era, reveal his masterly and eclectic control of volume and form and his ability to sculpt any material including bronze, with an austere inventiveness and expressivity.

 




 


Felice Casorati


 

FELICE CASORATI

After studying painting at the academies of Padua, Naples, and Verona, Felice Casorati (1886-1963) exhibited work at the Venice Biennale in 1907, He was a knowledgeable admirer of late 19th-century painting, especially French and German works, but no influence of these paintings or the current avant-garde movements can be seen in his work. A figurative painter, Casorati preferred to elaborate a style of his own, and, like Carra, diversified into architecture and stage design. His work had a classical flavour to it and a very deliberate use of line and colour. He sought to explore spatial values and to convey emotion with mastery and rigour. Described as a "painter of solitude", he earned an international reputation that continues to grow in stature.

 

 





 



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PURISM
 

Mechanization inspired many artistic and literary movements of the 20th century, sometimes in admiration and sometimes in firm opposition. The rational, objective, and disciplined aspects of machinery were recognized either as aesthetic precedents or as a threat to all that was beautiful in society. Pure functionality fascinated artists but at the same time puzzled them. Two French artists provided a response to this problematic relationship with the machine age. Under the label of Purism, they expressed their belief in the need for artistic rigour, precision, and impersonality. Both Amedee Ozenfant (1886-1966) and Charles-Edouard Jeanneret (1886-1965), later known as Le Corbusier, wanted a more rational interpretation of Cubism, beyond its literary or symbolic baggage and dynamic or decorative stimuli. Purist theory aimed to restore painting to a primitive purity in which representation would be lucid, self-evident, and geometrical. This ideal of efficiency and essentiality in art could be modelled on the aesthetics of machines and industrial technology, which the two painters recommended as a potential repertory of plastic forms.

Their main aim was to provide examples of universal values such as order, austerity, and clarity. Other European movements of the time, which were also providing a positive response to the brutality, chaos, and irrationality of war. had much in common with these views. In their manifesto "Apres le Cubisme" (published in 1918), Ozenfant and Le Corbusier stated that the greatest joy of the human spirit was the perception of order and the greatest human satisfaction was to be found in helping to bring about, or being part of. this order. Their paintings were almost exclusively still lifes of domestic objects such as jugs, glasses, and pipes. Clearly delineated against a simple perspective plane, these works adhered to a "general grammar of sensibility" that simplified forms, standardized compositional relationships, and swept away accident and emotivity in favour of a synthesis of lines and chromatic fields. In October 1920, in order to disseminate their purist and rational doctrine, the two artists in conjunction with the poet Paul Dermee launched a review. L'Esprit Nouveau. which was published on a regular basis until 1925. This magazine was probably more effective in making an original contribution to the avant-garde movements in Europe than the rather repetitive and frozen paintings that were being produced by Ozentant and Le Corbusier.
 

   
 


Purism

(Encyclopaedia Britannica)

in painting, a variant of Cubism (q.v.) developed in France in about 1918 by the painter Amédée Ozenfant and the architect and painter Charles-Édouard Jeanneret (Le Corbusier). The two artists, critical of the later decorative trend in Cubism and the creation of arbitrary and fantastic forms, advocated a return to clear, precise, ordered forms, expressive of the modern machine civilization. The collaboration of the two artists began with their book Après le cubisme, of 1918, and continued with essays published from 1920 to 1925 in their review, L'Esprit Nouveau.

In an essay entitled “Purism,” which appeared in this review, the authors defined painting as “an association of purified, related, and architectured elements.” This concept of painting is reflected in their still-life canvases, which present clean, pure, integral forms. In “Still Life” (1920), for example, Le Corbusier repeats the rhythmic, curving contours of a guitar (a favourite Cubist motif) in the shoulders of a bottle and in other objects on the table; by tilting the tops of the objects toward the spectator, he gives an added emphasis to their cubic volume. A motif of circles is carried out in the various sizes of the openings in bottles, pipes, and containers. The colour scheme is purified to include only the neutrals—gray, black, and white—and monochromes of green. Paint is smoothly applied to enhance the cool, harmonious shapes of the objects. He thus creates a “symphony of consonant and architectured forms.”

As a movement in painting, Purism did not have an appreciable following. There were many painters, however, who, like the Purists, were attracted to a machine-inspired aesthetic; most notable were the French painter Fernand Léger and the American Precisionist painters of the 1920s.
 

 


 



Amedee Ozenfant

Still Life
1920
 

Amedee Ozenfant

(
b Saint-Quentin, Aisne, 15 April 1886; d Cannes, 4 May 1966).
French painter, writer and teacher. Born into a bourgeois family, he studied at Dominican colleges, first Saint-Elme d’Arcachon and then Captier in Saint-Sébastien. Following his studies, he returned to his native Saint-Quentin, where he began to paint in watercolours and pastels. In 1904 he enrolled in the drawing course taught by Jules-Alexandre Patrouillard Degrave at the Ecole Municipale de Dessin Quentin Delatour in Saint-Quentin. By 1905 he was producing plein-air paintings in oil. In the same year he travelled to Paris, where he studied the decorative arts, first with the French painter Maurice Verneuil (b 1869) and then with Charles Cottet.

 

 



Amedee Ozenfant

Nacres (Mother of pearl)

 



Amedee Ozenfant

Maroc

1919
 

 

 



Amedee Ozenfant
Glasses and Bottles
 



Amedee Ozenfant

Guitar and Bottles
 

 

 

   
 


Le Corbusier

(Encyclopaedia Britannica)

born October 6, 1887, La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland
died August 27, 1965, Cap Martin, France


byname of Charles-Édouard Jeanneret internationally influential Swiss architect and city planner, whose designs combine the functionalism of the modern movement with a bold, sculptural expressionism. He belonged to the first generation of the so-called International school of architecture and was their most able propagandist in his numerous writings. In his architecture he joined the functionalist aspirations of his generation with a strong sense of expressionism. He was the first architect to make a studied use of rough-cast concrete, a technique that satisfied his taste for asceticism and for sculptural forms.
Education and early years.

Le Corbusier was born in a small town in the mountainous Swiss Jura region, since the 18th century the world's centre of precision watch making. All his life he was marked by the harshness of these surroundings and the puritanism of a Protestant environment. At 13 years of age, Le Corbusier left primary school to learn the enamelling and engraving of watch faces, his father's trade, at the École des Arts Décoratifs at La Chaux-de-Fonds. There, Charles L'Eplattenier, whom Le Corbusier later called his only teacher, taught him art history, drawing, and the naturalist aesthetics of Art Nouveau.

It was L'Eplattenier who decided that Le Corbusier, having completed three years of studies, should become an architect and gave him his first practice on local projects. From 1907 to 1911, on his advice, Le Corbusier undertook aseries of trips that played a decisive role in the education of this self-taught architect. During these years of travel through central Europe and the Mediterranean, he made three major architectural discoveries. The Charterhouse of Ema at Galluzzo, in Tuscany, provided a contrast between vast collective spaces and “individual living cells” that formed the basis for his conception of residential buildings. Through the 16th-century Late Renaissance architecture of Andrea Palladio in the Veneto region of Italy and the ancient sites of Greece, he discovered classical proportion. Finally, popular architecture in the Mediterranean and in the Balkan peninsula gave him a repertory of geometric forms and also taught him the handling of light and the use of landscape as an architectural background.

At the age of 30 he returned to live in Paris, where his formation was completed a year later when he met the painter and designer Amédée Ozenfant, who introduced him to sophisticated contemporary art. Ozenfant initiated Le Corbusier into Purism, his new pictorial aesthetic that rejected the complicated abstractions of Cubism and returned to the pure, simple geometric forms of everyday objects. In 1918 they wrote and published together the Puristmanifesto, Après le cu bisme. In 1920, with the poet Paul Dermée, they founded a polemic avant-garde review, L'EspritNouveau. Open to the arts and humanities, with brilliant collaborators, it presented ideas in architecture and city planning already expressed by Adolf Loos and Henri van de Velde, fought against the “styles” of the past and against elaborate nonstructural decoration, and defended functionalism.

The association with Ozenfant was the beginning of Le Corbusier's career as a painter and as a writer. Ozenfant and Le Corbusier (then still known as Jeanneret) together wrote a series of articles for L'Esprit Nouveau that were to be signed with pseudonyms. Ozenfant chose Saugnier, the name of his grandmother, and suggested for Jeanneret the name Le Corbusier, the name of a paternal forebear. The articles written by Le Corbusier were collected and published as Vers une architecture . Later translated as Toward a New Architecture (1923), the book is written in a telling style that was to be characteristic of Le Corbusier in his long career as a polemicist. “A house is a machine for living in” and “a curved street is a donkey track, a straight street, a road for men” are among his famous declarations. His books, whose essential lines of thought were born of travels and lectures hardly changed at all in 45 years, constituted a bible for succeeding generations of architects.Among the most famous are Urbanisme (1925; The City of Tomorrow, 1929), Quand les cathédrales étaient blanches (1937; When the Cathedrals Were White, 1947), La Charte d'Athènes (1943), Propos d'urbanisme (1946), Les Trois Établissements humains (1945), and Le Modular I (1948; TheModular, 1954).

L'Esprit Nouveau was the springboard for Le Corbusier's entrance into practice. In 1922 he became associated with his cousin Pierre Jeanneret, and together they opened a studio. The association of the two cousins lasted until 1940. It corresponds to the first of the two main periods, separated by World War II, that can be distinguished in Le Corbusier's work; the second period covers the years from 1944 to the architect's death in 1965.


The first period.

The years from 1922 to 1940 were as remarkably rich in architecture as in city planning projects. As was always to bethe case with Le Corbusier, unbuilt projects, as soon as they were published and circulated, created as much of a stir as did the finished buildings. In the Salon d'Automne of 1922,Le Corbusier exhibited two projects that expressed his idea of social environment and contained the germ of all the works of this period. The Citrohan House displays the five characteristics by which the architect five years later defined his conception of what was modern in architecture: pillars supporting the structure, thus freeing the ground beneath the building; a roof terrace, transformable into a garden and an essential part of the house; an open floor plan; a facade free of ornamentation; and windows in strips that affirm the independence of the structural frame. The interior provides the typical spatial contrast between open, split-level living space and the cell-like bedrooms. An accompanying diorama of a city illustrated ahead of its time the concept of green parks and gardens at the foot of a cluster of skyscrapers.

The ideas for city planning set forth at the Salon d'Automne, an annual semi-official exhibition, were taken up again and developed in 1925 at the Exposition des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, in a pavilion that was to be a “manifesto of the esprit nouveau.” In this little duplex-flat, the interior walls violently coloured under the influence of the painter FernandLéger, Le Corbusier exhibited his first collection of industrially produced furniture.

During these years, in fact, Le Corbusier's social ideals were realized on two occasions. One of these was in 1925–26when, thanks to the financial support of an industrialist, he built at Pessac, near Bordeaux, a workers' city of 40 houses in the style of the Citrohan House; the scorn for local tradition and the unconventional use of colour provoked hostility on the part of municipal authorities, who refused to provide a public water supply. Pessac was thus deprived of inhabitants for six years, and Le Corbusier did not forget this affront. In 1927 the architect participated in the international exposition of the Deutscher Werkbund, an association of various groups concerned with producing functional objects of high aesthetic value. For this exposition Le Corbusier constructed two houses in the experimental residential quarter of Weissenhof at Stuttgart.

Although Le Corbusier was from the beginning most interested in building for large numbers of people, during the prewar period he built primarily for privileged individualswho commissioned individual houses. They were functional in design and ascetic in appearance, incorporating rigorous geometric forms and bare facades. The first was for Ozenfantin 1922, followed by, among others: the house of the Swiss collector Raoul La Roche (1923), which later became the quarters of the Le Corbusier Foundation in Paris (1968); the villa (1927) of Michael Stein, a brother of the expatriate American writer and patron of Fauvism and Cubism Gertrude Stein; the Savoye House (1929–30), at Poissy, set in a lush, rural landscape on slender concrete pillars.

In 1927 Le Corbusier participated in the competition set bythe League of Nations for the design of its new centre in Geneva. His project, with its wall of insulating and heating glass, is one of the finest examples of the architect's gift for functional analysis. For the first time anywhere, he proposedan office building for a political organization that was not a Neoclassical temple but corresponded in its structure and design to a strict analysis of function. This plan was to become the prototype of all future United Nations buildings. It probably would have shared a first prize but was eliminated on the grounds of not having been drawn up in India ink as the rules of the competition specified. After the disappointment of Pessac, this disqualification, which was almost certainly the result of a conspiracy on the part of conservative members of the jury, further embittered Le Corbusier in his attitude toward official architectural circles. The scandal accompanying the elimination of his design, however, gave him needed publicity by identifying him with modern avant-garde architecture. An immediate consequence of the Geneva affair was the creation, in La Sarraz, Switz., in 1928, of the International Congresses of Modern Architecture (CIAM), intended at first to defend the avant-garde architectural values defeated in Geneva. By 1930 the organization had become oriented toward city planning theory. Le Corbusier, as secretary of the French section, played an influential role in the five prewar congresses and especially in the fourth, which issued in 1933a declaration that elaborated some of the basic principles of modern architecture.

The publicity from the Geneva competition also made possible for Le Corbusier a lecture tour in South Americathat was the source for his Précisions sur un état présent de l'architecture et de l'urbanisme (1930; “Reflections on the Present State of Architecture and Urbanism”) and a trip to Moscow, where he was able to make contact with avant-garde constructivist architects and won the competition for the Centrosoyuz building (1929–35).

Le Corbusier constructed two other important buildings during this period, the Salvation Army Hostel in Paris, with itsattempt at a “breathing” glass wall conceived as an unopenable glass surface equipped with an air conditioning system (a technological and financial failure), and the Swiss Dormitory at the Cité Universitaire in Paris (1931–32). In the latter structure he set the dormitory area apart from the common services areas located in a separate building. The two segments were connected by a stairway tower. Surfaces were left largely unfinished, and, for the first time, the massive pillars took on a sculptural value. At this point Le Corbusier's rational functionalism began to be balanced by a desire for expression.

The end of the 1930s saw such especially famous projects as the masterplans for Algiers (1938–42) and Buenos Aires (1938); the building for the Ministry of Education and Health in Rio de Janeiro (1936); and an infinitely expandable museum for Philippeville (1938), in French North Africa. There was also a trip to the United States (1935), where Le Corbusier was already famous.

Le Corbusier's diverse activities corresponded to a chosen life-style. He was not a teacher, like his colleague Walter Gropius, but the boss, who shut himself up alone in his office while his collaborators, who had come from all over the world and some of whom would later become famous, worked outside in the long hall that served as a studio. Le Corbusier came to his office only in the afternoons. His break with Ozenfant, in 1925, had not interrupted his painting career, and he usually spent his mornings painting at home. He was, by the mid-1930s, marked by the influence of Fernand Léger, who remained one of his few good friends.

The war years.

World War II and the German occupation of France interrupted his activity as a builder and a traveller and his 20-year association with Pierre Jeanneret, who, unlike Le Corbusier, had joined the French Résistance. Although he was prepared to work with the Vichy government, there was little building being done at the time in France, and his only activities were painting, writing, and reflection.

Le Corbusier's thoughts during this time led to the elaboration of the first bases of the “Modulor” concept, a scale of harmonic measures that set architectural elements in proportion to human stature. This theory was finally perfected in 1950, and Le Corbusier used it in designing all his subsequent buildings, wishing them to incorporate “a human scale.” By the time the war ended, Le Corbusier had welded the attacks launched against him by representatives of traditional architecture into a myth. He had become, for the public, the Picasso of architecture, and, for architecture students, the symbol of modernity.


The second period.

Le Corbusier thought that he would finally be able to apply his theories of planning in the reconstruction of France. He prepared in 1945 two plans for the cities of Saint Dié and La Pallice-Rochelle. At Saint Dié, in the Vosges Mountains, he proposed regrouping the 30,000 inhabitants of the destroyed town into five functional skyscrapers. These plans were rejected, but they subsequently circulated throughout the world and became doctrine. Le Corbusier was bitter, however, and his bitterness increased when he was named a member of the jury of architects for the construction of the United Nations building in New York City instead of being asked to design it himself.

At last, thanks to the unlimited support of the French government, Le Corbusier was given the opportunity to construct a large (private) housing complex; he was commissioned to build, in Marseille, a residential complex that embodied his vision of a social environment.

The Marseille project (unité d'habitation) is a vertical community of 18 floors. The 1,800 inhabitants are housed in 23 types of duplex (i.e., split-level) apartments. Common services include two “streets” inside the building, with shops, a school, a hotel, and, on the roof, a nursery, a kindergarten, a gymnasium, and an open-air theatre. The apartments are conceived as individual “villas” stacked in the concrete frame like bottles in a rack. It was completed in 1952, and two more unítés were built at other locations in France, at Nantes and Briey, as well as others in West Berlin.

Two religious buildings in France were commissioned as a result of the influence of the Dominican father Reverend Couturier, creator of the review L'Art Sacré. The more lyrical of the two, the chapel Notre-Dame-du-Haut at Ronchamp (1950–55), sacrifices Le Corbusier's famous principles of apparent functionalism; the wall has been built to a double thickness for visual effect and the roof, which appears to be suspended, actually rests on a forest of supports. More brutal and austere is the convent of Sainte-Marie-de-la-Tourette at Eveux-sur-Arbresle, near Lyon. The square building imposes a fortress of concrete in a natural setting. In the three-tiered facade of glass at la Tourette, Le Corbusier first employed panes of glass set at “musical” intervals to obtain a lyrical effect. Le Corbusier's reputation in France was established with two large expositions of his work in Paris in 1953 and in 1962.

Only from 1950 on did Le Corbusier become active on a large scale outside of France. In 1951 the government of thePunjab named him architectural advisor for the construction of its new capital, Chandīgarh. For the first time in his life, Le Corbusier was able to apply his principles of city planning on a metropolitan scale. Totally without reference to local tradition he designed the Palace of Justice, the Secretariat, and the Palace of the Assembly. Unfinished concrete, with windows sheltered by enormous concrete sunshades, the sculptural facades, swooping rooflines, and monumental ramps are principal elements of his architecture, which immediately influenced architects all over the world. He builtthe National Museum of Western Art in Tokyo (1960), the Carpenter Visual Art Center at Harvard University (1964), and designed an Exposition Pavilion in Zürich that was constructed posthumously (1964).

Le Corbusier was not greatly impressed by his late recognition. He seemed to prefer the image of a solitary and persecuted genius. Nevertheless, he continued to conceive new projects until the end of his life: an art centre for Frankfurt (1963), the Olivetti computer centre in Milan (1963), the Palais des Congrès in Strasbourg (1964), and the French embassy in Brasília (1964). Le Corbusier died suddenly in 1965 while swimming. The man who had thought himself so misunderstood in his own time was given a national funeral, and in 1968 the Le Corbusier Foundation was created.

Francoise Choay
 

   


Le Corbusier
 


Le Corbusier
Still Life
1920

 

Le Corbusier
Still Life
1924

 

 

 



Le Corbusier
La caída de Barcelona
 


Le Corbusier
Untitle
 
 





 

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Arbeitsrat fur Kunst

Association of radical German architects, artists and critics founded in Berlin in December 1918 by Bruno Taut and dissolved on 30 May 1921. The membership grew rapidly and included the architects Otto Bartning, Walter Gropius, Paul Mebes, Erich Mendelsohn, Hans Poelzig, Paul Schmitthenner, Max Taut and Heinrich Tessenow; the painters César Klein, Erich Heckel, Kathe Kollwitz, Ludwig Meidner, Max Pechstein, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff and Lyonel Feininger; the sculptors Rudolph Belling, Oswald Herzog and Gerhard Marcks; and such critics and patrons as Adolf Behne (1885–1948), Mechtilde von Lichnowsky (1879–1958), Julius Meier-Graefe, Karl Ernst Osthaus and Wilhelm Worringer.

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Cesar Klein
(1876 - 1954



Cesar Klein
Madonna



Cesar Klein
Stilleben mit japanischer Figur



Cesar Klein
Stilleben mit Blumen und Früchten

 





 

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Neue Leben
[Ger.: ‘new life’].

Swiss group of artists active from 1918 to 1920. It was founded in Basle in 1918 and came to prominence primarily through four exhibitions of its members’ work: at the Kunsthalle in Basle (1918 and 1920), the Kunsthaus in Zurich (1919) and the Kunsthalle in Berne (1920). The driving force behind it was Fritz Baumann (1886–1942), a painter and teacher from Basle who before World War I returned to his native city having studied in Munich, Karlsruhe, Paris and Berlin (where he was a member of the circle associated with the magazine Der Sturm). With Arnold Brugger (1888–1975), Otto Morach (1887–1973), Niklaus Stoecklin (1896–1982) and Alexander Zschokke (1894–1981), he initiated a loose association of 44 known artists, women and men, of whom a considerable number worked in the arts and crafts. Lively contacts were established between Neue Leben and avant-garde artists living in exile in Switzerland, particularly the Dada group in Zurich, and also artists in Geneva and Ticino. Other prominent members were Hans Arp, Alice Bailly, Augusto Giacometti, Marcel Janco, Oscar Lüthi (1882–1945), Francis Picabia and Sophie Taeuber-Arp.

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Arnold Brugger

(1888–1975)


Sonniger Tag

 


Otto Morach

(1887–1973)


Seiltanzer

 


Niklaus Stoecklin

(1896–1982)


Die Spionin

 

 




 

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Revolt group [Pol. Bunt].

Polish group of painters, graphic artists and poets based in Poznan between 1918 and 1920. It had close ties with Zdrój (‘Source’; a fortnightly journal published in Poznan between 1917 and 1920, and in 1922), which reported their exhibitions and devoted a special issue to the group (‘Zeszyt Buntu’ [Revolt bulletin], April 1918). The Expressionist character of the Revolt group artists’ work was shaped by close links with the Berlin journals Die Aktion and Der Sturm and the work of the artists of Die Brücke. The most important members of the group were the poet and group historian Adam Bederski, the painter, graphic artist, poet and editor of Zdrój Jerzy Hulewicz (1886–1941), the poet and graphic artist Stanislaw Kubicki (1899–1943), the graphic artists Malgorzata Kubicka (b 1891), Wladyslaw Skotarek (1894–1970) and Stefan Szmaj (1893–1974), and the sculptor August Zamoyski. Most of the above made their artistic début in Revolt group exhibitions. The group, which was active during its first year of existence (holding its first exhibition in Poznan in April 1918), subsequently became rather subdued as a result of frequent contacts with the FORMISTS in Kraków and was generally regarded as having developed into an extension of the Kraków artists. The members of the Revolt group often took part in Formist exhibitions. Die Aktion also organized two exhibitions in Berlin featuring the group.

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Stanislaw Kubicki
(1899–1943)

Tower of Babel

 

Wladyslaw Skotarek
(1894–1970)


Panic

Stefan Szmaj
(1893–1974)


St.Sebastian

 

 




 

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7 & 5 Society

British exhibiting society formed in 1919 by a group of 18 painters and sculptors, many of them ex-servicemen who had been art students at the outbreak of World War I. A total of 87 artists were variously involved in its 14 exhibitions. Ivon Hitchens was among those represented in the first show at Walker’s Galleries in 1920, and it was he who recruited Ben Nicholson four years later. Elected chairman in 1926, Nicholson was to dominate the 7 & 5 for the rest of its existence. Winifred Nicholson joined in 1925, Christopher Wood in 1926, David Jones in 1928 and Frances Hodgkins in 1929. The work of these six painters best represents the type of work associated with the 7 & 5 at the end of the 1920s. In paintings on moderately modernized still-life and landscape themes, they cultivated freshness of colour and touch and a superficially disingenuous, primitive approach to the intellectual problems of representation.

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Winifried
Nicholson
(1893-1981)



Cineraria and Cyclamen

 


Christopher Wood
(1901-1930)


Boat in Harbour, Brittany  

 


Frances
Mary Hodgkins
(1869-1947)


Bridesmaids 

 

 




 

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Unovis [Rus. Utverditeli Novogo Iskusstva: ‘Affirmers of new art’].

Russian group of artists and designers gathered around Kasimir Malevich at Vitebsk (Viciebsk), Belarus’, from 1919–20. Vera Yermolayeva (1893–1938), who became director of the Art Institute in Vitebsk in 1919, appointed Malevich (who had been invited by Marc Chagall) to head a teaching studio. The group, known as Posnovis (Posledovateli Novogo Iskusstva: ‘Followers of new art’) in January 1920, was soon renamed Unovis and was formed to explore Malevich’s concept of SUPREMATISM. Their work reflected Constructivist techniques and was characterized by mathematical forms, such as the parabola, and by suggestions of construction. This is seen in the work of El Lissitzky, who had studied under Yermolayeva’s predecessor, Marc Chagall, before becoming a convert to Suprematism. El Lissitzky gave to his paintings and prints the name Proun (‘Affirmation of the new’). He printed 1000 copies of Malevich’s book O novykh sistemakh v iskusstve (‘On new systems in art’) at Vitebsk in December 1919, and this was followed in 1920 by Malevich’s Suprematizm: 34 risunkov (‘Suprematism: 34 drawings’). Theatrical productions played an important role in Unovis, and both Vladimir Mayakovsky’s Misteriya-Buff and Aleksey Kruchonykh’s opera Pobeda nad solntsem (‘Victory over the sun’; February 1920) were produced there. The work of Unovis also extended to utilitarian designs and could incorporate explicit political commitment. The Unovis design for a Lenin tribune (1920) and Lissitzky’s civil war poster Beat the Whites with the Red Wedge (1919; repr. 1960; Eindhoven, Stedel. Van Abbemus.) are examples of this. Other members of the group included Yermolayeva, Ilya Chashnik (1909–29), Nikolay Suetin (1897–1954) and Lev Yudin (1903–41). Lazar Khidekel (1904–86) was also associated with the group. Unovis published two journals, Aero (1920) and Unovis (1920–21), and organized numerous exhibitions. Branches were organized in Moscow, Petrograd, Smolensk, Orenburg, Saratov, Samara, Perm and Odessa.

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Neo-Plasticism


The abstractions of Piet Mondrian (1872-1944) and other Dutch artists of the De Stijl group probably mark the end of the first phase of 20th-century avant-gardism. These artists formed a transitional movement that prepared the ground for the artistic currents of the interwar years: Constructivism, Purism, and late Expressionism. Mondrian coined the name Neo-Plasticism for a new style that his contemporaries and later critics described as an exercise in absolute rationalist rigour, even cerebralism. More recent opinion has stressed the presence of a mystical and irrational content underlying the paintings of the Dutch artists and their theoretical works. In particular, the formal expression characteristic of Symbolism and Cubism in Mondrian's early paintings, betrays deep religious and philosophical concerns. It reflects the artist's contact with such thinkers as Schoenmaekers, who explored the relationship between forms and cosmic forces, and was familiar with the Romantic tradition in German culture. Founding his theories on an understanding of the world as one single force, governed by mathematical principles of order and harmony, Mondrian believed the role of art was to put the individual in contact with the "universal vibration", to translate inner beauty into free rhythm. He recognized abstraction as the means of expressing the spiritual evolution of humankind. Mondrian, Theo van Doesburg (1883-1931), and a group of painters, sculptors, architects, designers, and poets who had gradually come together - Kok, Richter, Rietveld, Vantongerloo, and Oud - modelled their review, De Stijl, on the Berlin publication Der Sturm, using it as a mouthpiece for the group. Between 1917 and 1918, Mondrian published his long essay" Neo-Plasticism in Painting which, together with two prefaces by van Doesburg (dated 1917 and 1919) and three manifestos (published in 1918, 1920, and 1921) formed the theoretical basis of Neo-Plasticism. Although Mondrian was the inventor of the movement's stylistic language, it was van Doesburg who tirelessly promoted the movement through contact with avant-garde artists in Europe, from Severini to Lissitzky. Close links had been formed with the Dadaists through another magazine he had launched, Mecano (The Hague and Paris, 1922), and with the Constructivists, with whom he had collaborated on the review G (Berlin, 1923-26). He also worked with Arp (on the decoration of the Cafe L'Aubette in Strasbourg from 1926 to 1928), and alongside members of the Bauhaus. The fundamental aims of the movement (many of which were shared with other avantgarde movements) included the adoption of a universal artistic language; the abolition of individuality on the part of the artists concerned; the identification of art with life (not in terms of the Dada understanding of artistic involvement in life but rather through a conception of life as a pure, internalized activity); and a concentration on all forms of plastic art, from the pure experience of painting to architecture and furniture design. The latter was exemplified by Gerrit Rietvald's famous Red Blue chair (1918), and the inclusion of influential interior design in the De Stijl exhibition held in Paris in 1923. The Neo-Plasticists were accused of excessive intellectualism in art, of having substituted for emotion the use of pure tones and geometric designs, and of reducing painting to a simple play of colours and ornamental forms. Mondrian's reply was that he had set out to create a free rhythm, like that of jazz, by simple means such as perpendicular lines and primary colours, and sought to impose rigour on the disorder of the objective world, eliminating any subjective references suggested by curved lines and the emotional use of colour. The introduction by van Doesburg of the diagonal line, a dynamic element which, according to Mondrian, destroyed the equilibrium of the composition, caused the two painters to sever contact. By 1924, Neo-Plasticism had run its course.

 

 

 

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Neo-plasticism

Term coined by Piet Mondrian and first used in 1919 as the title of a collection of his writings published by the dealer Léonce Rosenberg. It gained currency as a descriptive term applied to Mondrian’s theories of art and to his style of painting, in which a grid, delineated by black lines, was filled with blocks of primary colour. The original term applied to some of his principles was nieuwe beelding (new imagery); he also used abstract-reële schilderkunst (abstract-real painting) and Neo-Cubism. Neo-plasticism applied to all aspects of design that were part of daily life. The evanescence of natural shapes was reduced to a few essential expressive means: horizontal and vertical lines, areas of primary colour and black and white. For Mondrian a composition had to present a dynamic balance, in which the internal was externalized and the external internalized. Mondrian published Le Néo-plasticisme while in Paris, having become convinced that his theories, published in DE STIJL, were almost unknown beyond his native country. A collection of his articles was translated into German and published in 1925 as Neue Gestaltung as the fifth in the series of Bauhausbücher. His theories were published in English for the first time in 1937 under the title of ‘Plastic Art and Pure Plastic Art’ in Circle: An International Survey of Constructivism.

 


Ilya Bolotowsky

(1907-1981)  



 
Untitled
 

Vilmos
Huszar

(1884–1960)



 Composition with Female Figure

Jean Gorin
(1788 - 1864)



Composition losangique n°37
 




 

 

PIET MONDRIAN

Mondrian's progression towards Neo-Plasticism started during a prolonged stay in Paris from 1911 to 1914, which coincided with the advent of Cubism, a form of art that he credited with having "broken limited form" and liberated the rhythm imprisoned within it. At this time, Mondrian was influenced by the Theosophical Society of Blavatsky and the philosopher Schoenmaekers. He also studied Fiedler's "purovisibilist" theories and principles of harmony and clarity. He was gradually drawn towards an objective stance, divesting his work of any naturalistic reference, reducing his art to stylization. eliminating all individualistic touches, and excluding curvilinear and diagonal elements. Mondrian constantly reinterpreted the theme of the tree, a symbol of the link between the real (the earth into which the roots grow) and the spiritual (space, towards which the branches stretch). Between 1914 and 19IS, he experimented with ovals (favoured by the Cubists), lozenges, and rectangles — while working towards what would be his typical structures, articulated by assymetry, then checks, and finally, in his Compositions, by primary colours.

 


 


Piet Mondrian


Composition


Theo van Doesburg


Composition

 

 
 


Pieter Mondrian

(Encyclopaedia Britannica)

born March 7, 1872, Amersfoort,The Netherlands
died February 1, 1944, New York, New York, U.S.

original name Pieter Cornelis Mondriaan painter who was an important leader in the development of modern abstract art and a major exponent of the Dutch abstract-art movement known as De Stijl (“The Style”). In his mature paintings, Mondrian used the simplest combinations of straight lines, right angles, primary colours, and black, white, and gray. The resulting works possess an extreme formal purity that embodies the artist's spiritual belief in a harmonious cosmos.
Early life and works
Pieter was the second child of Pieter Cornelis Mondriaan, Sr., who was an amateur draftsman and headmaster of a Calvinist primary school in Amersfoort. The boy grew up in a stable yet creative environment; his father was part of the Protestant orthodox circle that formed around the conservative Calvinist politician Abraham Kuyper, and his uncle, Frits Mondriaan, belonged to the Hague school of landscape painters. Both uncle and father gave him guidance and instruction when, at age 14, he began to study drawing.
Mondrian was determined to become a painter, but at the insistence of his family he first obtained a degree in education; by 1892 he was qualified to teach drawing in secondary schools. That same year, instead of looking for a teaching position, he took painting lessons from a painter in a small town not far from Winterswijk, where his family resided, and then moved to Amsterdam to register at the Rijksacademie. He became a member of the art society Kunstliefde (“Art Lovers”) in Utrecht, where his first paintings were exhibited in 1893, and in the following year he joined the two local artist societies in Amsterdam. During this period he continued to attend evening courses at the academy for drawing, impressing his professors with his self-discipline and effort. In 1897 he exhibited a second time.
Up to the turn of the century, Mondrian's paintings followedthe prevailing trends of art in The Netherlands: landscape and still-life subjects chosen from the meadows and polders around Amsterdam, which he depicted using subdued hues and picturesque lighting effects. In 1903 he visited a friend in Brabant (Belgium), where the calm beauty and clean lines of the landscape proved to be an important influence on him.When he stayed on in Brabant the following year, he experienced a period of personal and artistic discovery; by the time he returned to Amsterdam in 1905, his art had visibly changed. The landscapes he began to paint of the surroundings of Amsterdam, mainly of the Gein River, show apronounced rhythmic framework and lean more toward compositional structure than toward the traditional picturesque values of light and shade. This vision of harmony and rhythm, achieved through line and colour, would develop toward abstraction in later years, but during this period his painting still remained more or less within the traditional boundaries of contemporary Dutch art.

Influence of Post-Impressionists and Luminists

In 1907 Amsterdam sponsored the Quadrennial Exhibition, featuring such painters as Kees van Dongen, Otto van Rees, and Jan Sluijters, who were Post-Impressionists using pure colours in bold, nonliteral ways. Their work was strongly influenced by the forceful expression and use of colour in the art of Post-Impressionist Vincent van Gogh, whose work had been featured in a large exhibition in Amsterdam in 1905. Such daring use of colour was reflected in Mondrian'sRed Cloud, a rapidly executed sketch from 1907. By the time he painted Woods near Oele in 1908, new values began to appear in his work, including a linear movement that was somewhat reminiscent of the Norwegian painter Edvard Munch and a colour scheme—based on hues of yellow, orange, blue, violet, and red—that was suggestive of the palette of contemporary German Expressionist painters. With this vigorous painting of considerable size, Mondrian broke away from the national tradition of Dutch painting.
His new style was reinforced by his acquaintance with the Dutch artist Jan Toorop, who led the Dutch Luminist movement, an offshoot of French Neo-Impressionism. The Luminists, like the Neo-Impressionists, rendered light through a series of dots or short lines of primary colours. Mondrian concentrated on this use of colour and limited hispalette to the primary hues: he proved his mastery of this evocation of strong, radiant sunshine in paintings such as Windmill in Sunlight (1908), executed mainly in yellow, red, and blue. But he moved beyond the tenets of the movement and expressed visual concerns that would remain constant in his oeuvre. In a painting such as The Red Tree, also dated from 1908, he expressed his own vision of nature by creatinga balance between the contrasting hues of red and blue and between the violent movement of the tree and the blue sky, thus producing a sense of equilibrium, which would remain his prevailing aim in representing nature. In 1909 Mondrian's Luminist works were exhibited in a large group show at Amsterdam's Stedelijk Museum, which firmly established him as part of the Dutch avant-garde.
That year was important for Mondrian's career from another point of view: in May he joined the Theosophical Society, a group that believed in a harmonious cosmos in which spirit and matter are united. Inspired by these ideas, Mondrian began to free the objects depicted in his paintings from naturalistic representation: these objects became formal components of the overall harmony of his paintings, or, in other words, the material elements began to merge with the overall spiritual message of his work. He concentrated on depicting large forms in nature, such as the lighthouse in Westcapelle. In Evolution (1910–11), a triptych of three standing human figures, the human figure and architectural subjects look surprisingly similar, thus stressing Mondrian's move toward a painting grounded more in forms and visual rhythms than in nature. In 1910 Mondrian's Luminist works attracted considerable attentionat the St. Lucas Exhibition in Amsterdam. The next year he submitted one of his more abstract paintings to the Salon des Indépendants in Paris, his first bid for international recognition.

Cubist period in Paris

Concurrent with the spiritual influence of theosophy was Mondrian's exposure to new visual ideas. Dutch artists were increasingly aware of the radical work of Paul Cézanne and of the Cubist painters. The Dutch avant-garde began to call for new standards in their national art that would incorporate such trends and move beyond traditional landscape painting. Active in avant-garde circles, Mondrianwas very influenced by these ideas. In 1911 he saw for the first time the early Cubist works of Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque. He was profoundly impressed, so much so that early in 1912 he moved to Paris, where he settled in the Montparnasse district.
Almost immediately he began to adapt the precepts of Cubism to his own use, as evidenced in two versions of Still Life with Gingerpot, done during the winter months of 1911–12. In the first version, the objects are rendered as recognizable forms from everyday life; in the second, he transformed the same objects into compositional structures,taking his drive toward abstraction further than he ever had before. Mondrian's Cubist period lasted from 1912 to 1917. His compositions of trees, architectural facades, and scaffoldings during this period are proof of his urge to reduceindividual forms to a general formula. Mondrian kept somewhat within the boundaries of Cubism by utilizing the Cubists' limited colour palette of ochre, brown, and gray, so as not to distract from form, and by painting large blocks of colour. He also observed the Cubist scheme of composition, in which geometric divisions are used and the painting gravitates toward a central focus, leaving the corners of the canvas almost untouched; the result of this scheme was his series of oval compositions. But in an attempt to reduce the elements of his composition even further, Mondrian avoided curved lines and diagonal accents and increasingly used only vertical and horizontal lines. He went beyond Analytical Cubism's tendency to break individual objects into their component parts by instead striving for a vision of reality that surpassed depicting the individual object altogether: from 1913 onward his style began its evolution toward total abstraction.
In the summer of 1914 Mondrian returned to The Netherlands to visit his father, who was seriously ill, and the outbreak of World War I prevented him from returning to Paris. He settled at Laren, where he became acquainted with M.H.J. Schoenmaekers, a theosophical philosopher whose works on the symbolical meaning of lines and on the mathematical construction of the universe had a decisive influence on Mondrian's vision of painting. In his work, the artist had long been moving toward seeing the canvas as a site of spiritual awakening for the viewer; this achieved theosophy's goal of bringing about a state of heightened consciousness during the experience of everyday life. With the ideas of Schoenmaekers, he now had a distinct set of graphic rules, closely related to his own developing formal vocabulary, through which he could achieve this goal of merging art and life. These discoveries pushed his Cubist style to its extreme limits, particularly in his painting of the church at Domburg and in a new theme, captured in a series of works known as Pier and Ocean. The ultimate version of this theme, completed in 1917 and shown at the Rijksmuseum Kröller-Müller, marks the final stage of his Cubist style: an oval painting composed of black vertical andhorizontal line fragments on a white background.


The birth of De Stijl

Continuing these radical developments, in 1917 Mondrian and three other painters—Theo van Doesburg, Bart van der Leck, and Vilmos Huszar—founded the art periodical and the movement of De Stijl. The group advocated the complete rejection of visually perceived reality as subject matter and the restriction of a pictorial language to its most basic elements of the straight line, primary colours, and the neutrals of black, white, and gray. In the movement's journal, De Stijl, Mondrian essentially laid out all his visual theories; because he contributed so extensively to the first issues of the journal, the early style of De Stijl has become synonymous with his own (in later years the movement was more a reflection of the ideas of van Doesburg, the true leader of the movement). The scope of this new style of line and colour, for which Mondrian coined the name neoplasticism , was to free the work of art from representing a momentary visual perception and from being guided by the personal temperament of the artist. The vision that Mondrian had moved toward for so long now seemed to be within reach: he could now render “a true vision of reality” inhis painting, which meant deriving a composition not from a fragment of reality but rather from an overall abstract view of the harmony of the universe. A painting no longer had to begin from an abstracted view of nature; rather, a painting could emerge out of purely abstract rules of geometry and colour, since he found that this was the most effective language through which to convey his spiritual message.
Mondrian's first neoplastic paintings were composed of rectangles in soft hues of primary colours painted on a white background with no use of line. His compositions were basedon colour and appear to expand over the borders of the canvas into space beyond the picture. In 1918 he reintroduced lines into his painting, linking the colour planes to one another and to the background by a series of black vertical and horizontal strips, thus creating rectangles of colour or noncolour. In 1918 and 1919 he executed a series of rhomboid compositions, subdivided into a pattern of regular squares differentiated by thick black lines and by soft hues of ochre, gray, and rose. Also in 1919, he created two versions of a checkerboard composition, one in dark and one in light colours, in which the difference of the hues transforms this common pattern into a rhythmic sequence ofsquares, which play off each other to suggest vibrancy and movement. The titles of his works reflect this move to pure abstraction: whereas his earlier work had titles invoking the abstracted elements of nature or architecture depicted, his work during this period generally had titles such as Composition with Gray, Red, Yellow, and Black (c. 1920–26) and Diagonal Composition (1921). He returned to Paris in 1919, but he retained his close collaboration with De Stijl. By publishing his theories in the booklet Le Néo-plasticisme in Paris in 1920, Mondrian began to spread his ideas throughout Europe.

Later years

Some of Mondrian's friends organized an exhibition of his works at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam on the occasionof his 50th birthday. It was a retrospective progression of his paintings, tracing the path from his beginnings in the Dutch traditional style to his abstract paintings, firmly establishing the artist's pivotal role in the international art world's move toward abstraction. He had reached his goal, but he did not stand still: he continued to explore the relationship between lines and blocks of colour, achieving an ever-increasing purity in his paintings.
Although he did not exhibit frequently and rarely held a one-man show, in the early 1930s he became affiliated with Cercle et Carré and with Abstraction-Création, both of which were influential international groups of artists who promotedand exhibited abstract art. In 1934 he met the American artist Harry Holtzman and the English painter Ben Nicholson.Nicholson urged him to publish his essay “Plastic Art and Pure Plastic Art,” Mondrian's first essay in English, in the international publication Circle, of which Nicholson was coeditor. In this way, Mondrian's ideas continued to gain an even broader audience. When Mondrian decided to leave Paris in 1938, under the shadow of the invasion of Czechoslovakia by Adolf Hitler, he was welcomed in London by members of the Circle group. For two years he worked andlived in a London suburb, but the bombardment of the city forced him to flee to New York City in 1940, where he was welcomed by Holtzman, the art collector Peggy Guggenheim, art critic and museum director James Johnson Sweeney, and other members of the American artistic vanguard.
There, Mondrian's style entered its last phase. Throughout the 1930s, Mondrian's work had become increasingly severe. Inspired by his regained freedom, New York City's pulsating life, and the new rhythms of American music, after 1940 he broke away first from the austere patterns of black lines, replacing them with coloured bands. Then, in place of the continuous flow of these bands, he substituted a series of small rectangles that coalesced into a rhythmic flow of colourful vertical and horizontal lines. His late masterpieces—New York City I and Broadway Boogie Woogie,exhibited in 1943–44, in his first personal exhibition in more than two decades—express this new vivacity through the autonomous, joyous movement of colour blocks. Buoyed by his hope for a better future, Mondrian started his Victory Boogie Woogie in 1942; it remained unfinished when he succumbed to pneumonia in 1944.

Assessment

The consistent development of Mondrian's art toward complete abstraction was an outstanding feat in the history of modern art, and his work foreshadowed the rise of abstractart in the 1940s and '50s. But his art goes beyond merely aesthetic considerations: his search for harmony through hispainting has an ethical significance. Rooted in a strict puritan tradition of Dutch Calvinism and inspired by his theosophical beliefs, he continually strove for purity during his long career, a purity best explained by the double meaning of the Dutch word schoon, which means both “clean” and “beautiful.” Mondrian chose the strict and rigidlanguage of straight line and pure colour to produce first of all an extreme purity, and on another level, a Utopia of superb clarity and force. When, in 1920, Mondrian dedicated Le Néo-plasticisme to “future men,” his dedicationimplied that art can be a guide to humanity, that it can move beyond depicting the casual, arbitrary facts of everyday appearance and substitute in its place a new, harmonious view of life.

Hans L.C. Jaffe

 

 

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