Mondrian’s Interest In Abstraction Was An Attempt To Distill The __________ From Objects In Nature.

When the twentieth century arrived, artists had actually every factor to think that they were entering a totally brand-new and also distinctive modern-day age. Philosophers choose Henri Bergchild were broadening and collapsing our idea of time, and also Sigmund Freud’s theories were opening brand-new courses to uncharted segments of the humale mind. The Industrial Radvancement of the nineteenth century carried modern-day conveyances in its wake like the vehicle, the aircraft, and the electric elevator, which went hand-in-hand with steel-and-glass construction in birthing the skyscraper—the emblem of the modern-day city. Life had never been quicker.

You watching: Mondrian’s interest in abstraction was an attempt to distill the __________ from objects in nature.

This heady minute, evidenced in both intellectual and renowned society, truly led artists to think that they were part of a task to both create a new visual idiom for the modern-day human being and to at the same time question preexisting concepts of what art could and also need to be. Often, this stance was better radicalized by historic occasions and the encroachment of political affiliation. In Russia, the Soviet Revolution of 1917 adjusted the tenor and motivation of an already nascent avant-garde. In Mexico, the Rdevelopment of 1910–20 was the catalyst for an entirely new activity. In Germany, the Weimar Revolution of 1918 opened an ideological room for the Bauhaus to create. The Great Depression in the United States diminished the purchasing ability of specific art-buying patrons and developed new problems for art in the 1930s. And, of course, World War I (1914–8) and World War II (1939–45) had actually staggering effects for art and also life throughout the world. As our lecture on Art Since 1950 (Part I) mainly generates in the post-WWII sphere, chronologically, this lecture ends closer to 1945.

The main obstacles, then, for this lecture, will be

surveying the myriad avant-garde activities that uncovered impetus in this time duration, whilegiving students maybe their initially development to abstraction, which have the right to throw off those conditioned to seeing recognizable develops in art.

Some suggestions on dealing with these two issues:

Be frank in setting your students’ expectations: Communicate the over indevelopment first—”Think of how rapid everything began relocating approximately 1900. The days of a two-hundred-year imaginative phenomenon via agreed-upon conventions choose the Renaissance are over.” Then point out that, though this lecture will necessarily be a survey, tright here are a organize of associated movements, artists, and also factions global that can be explored by students external of course. Create, probably, a textual slide in your PowerPoint that lists these activities and artists as a recommendation for students wishing to view even more. Then, give your students a set of broad themes to allow them to talk across the activities fairly than delving as well deeply right into any one. I will imply several in Content Suggestions, listed below.As for abstraction, a great way to structure this material is to start your students through a straightforward idea: Modernism proposed that a paint or sculpture could be more than a reasonably basic, mainly recognizable remanufacturing of somepoint existing in nature. Once art was detached from that aim, its a lot of standard formal facets (line, color, and also depth, for example) came to be accessible for complimentary testing.


There are a number of general surveys that are good as textbooks for huge portions of the material at hand, yet the a lot of widely welcomed are:

For a general, all-purpose textbook: H.H. Arnason and also Elizabeth Mansarea, History of Modern Art, 7th Ed. (New York: Pearkid, 2012).For modern-day Amerihave the right to art: Wayne Craven, Amerihave the right to Art: History and Culture, Revised first Ed. (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2002) or the exhibition brochure David Anfam, American Art in the Twentieth Century (London: Royal Academy of Arts, 1993).

Given Modernism’s penchant for short-lived activities predelivered by manifestos that expressed their distinct aims, Mary Ann Caws’s Manifesto: A Century of Isms (Omaha: University of Nebraska Press, 2000) might be a beneficial source if you would choose to have students read such groundbreaking functions as the “Establishing and Manifesto of Futurism,” any kind of of Tristan Tzara’s fantastic Dada manifestos, or André Breton’s Surrealist manifestos.

Net resources:

For contemporary art, The Art is a site that gives matter-of-truth information on a huge number of European and also U.S. artists throughout the time period covered by this lecture.

Tright here are likewise a number of museum websites that administer excellent support for the examine of modern art, including, yet not restricted to:

Some themes central to artists in the period from 1900 to 1950 that can frame this lecture include:

Art as even more than a mere visual depiction of objective reality: why is tright here such a transition in the visuality of art roughly 1900? What motivating components are there?Art as the depiction of modernity: exactly how perform depictions of the contemporary city regularly specify contemporary art? What sorts of visual tropes permit us to discern an artist’s mindset towards modernity and also the brand-new city?Art as a way of social or political engagement: how does art continue—from a trajectory started in the middle of the nineteenth century—to approach issues of social justice or to allow politics into its create and topic matter?Art as a reflection of history: just how perform historic occasions or alters straight the course of art in the beforehand twentieth century?

These essential themes have the right to be explored in an hour and fifteenager minutes through a selection of examples, including:

Paul Cézanne, The Large Bathers, 1906Henri Matisse, Le Bonheur de Vivre (The Joy of Life), 1905–6Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Street, Dresden, 1908Wassily Kandinskies, Composition VII, 1913Pablo Picasso, Family of Saltimbanques, 1905Pablo Picasso, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (The Young Ladies of Avignon), 1907Umberto Boccioni, Simultaneous Visions, 1911–2Umberto Boccioni, Unique Forms of Continuity in Space, 1913Hugo Ball percreating the sound poem Karawane at the Cabaret Voltaire, Züaffluent, 1916Marcel Duchamp, Fountain, 1917Charles-Édouard Jeanneret (Le Corbusier), Still Life, 1920Gino Severini, Armored Train, 1915Gino Severini, Two Pierrots, 1922Pablo Picasso, Three Woguys at a Spring, 1921Piet Mondrian, Lozenge Composition via Red, Gray, Blue, Yellow, and Black, 1925El Lissitzky, The Constructor, 1925Herbert Bayer, Poster for Bauhaus Exhibition, 1923Marcel Breuer, “Wassily” Chair, 1925–6André Maskid, Battle of Fishes, 1926Postcard, World’s Fair, Paris, 1937Pablo Picasso, Guernica, 1937George Bellows, Cliff Dwellers, 1913Georgia O’Keeffe, City Light, 1926Aaron Douglas, From Slaexceptionally Thstormy Reconstruction from the mural cycle Aspects of Negro Life, 1934Jackkid Pollock, Full Fathom Five, 1947


Abstract Expressionism: a activity in the United States—exemplified below in the job-related of Jackchild Pollock—that smust express universal primal, psychological, and also emotional huguy values with greatly large-scale abstraction after World War II.

Abstraction: the attempt to distill art’s the majority of basic underlying creates from nature, abstractivity, or abstract art, typically begins from a recognizable figure and converts it right into more fundamental elements of geometry, form, or color.

Arbitrary color: non-naturalistic color applied to a kind or object.

The Ashhave the right to School: a team of like-minded artists from the USA in the early twentieth century—exemplified right here in the job-related of George Bellows—that painted Realist scenes in a direct, impressionistic manner.

Automatism: Automatic illustration or paint occurs when the artist renders an attempt to remove the mindful mind from the act of creation, with doodling or applying paint to a surconfront in a haphazard or unplanned manner. This was a Surrealist response to Freud’s thesis that the Unmindful is the root of creative creativity.

Bauhaus: Built on the influences of Expressionism, Neoplasticism, Constructivism (among others), the Bauhaus—exemplified here in the occupational of Herbert Bayer and also Marcel Breuer—was a revolutionary brand-new take on the typical art school version, bringing the fine arts (paint, sculpture, and also architecture) and also the applied arts (typically, style areas prefer furniture, stained glass, woodfunctioning, printmaking, and also so on) under one roof and also one curriculum.

Biomorphic: typically used to Surrealism, biomorphic indicates the development of abstract “lifeforms” that arise as the result of automatic illustration or painting.

Constructivism: commonly split right into 2 camps (Russian and also International), Constructivist art was made possible by new, commercial forms and also products wed to geometric forms and an idea that the artist should additionally be an engineer, creating a new and radical contemporary world. Exemplified below in the occupational of El Lissitzky in the Soviet Union, this was linked to socialist ideals; worldwide, artists were even more concerned via Constructivism’s formal and product possibilities.

Cubism: a semi-abstract motion in early on twentieth-century (mostly) French art—exemplified here in the work of Pablo Picasso—that ongoing the formal task started via Paul Cézanne’s evaluation of form, often geometricizing figures and collapsing traditional naturalistic notions of depth and perspective.

Dada: A set of principles more than a meaningful motion, Dada has been described as an “anti-art” motion as a result of its iconoclastic nature and also its tendency to critique and also question the extremely ethics underlying the commissioning, production, and circulation of art. Begun in Zürich in 1916 by a team of pacifist artists, the spirit of Dada conveniently took root in Paris, New York, and also Berlin, among other areas. It is exemplified right here in the performance of Hugo Ball and also the readymades of Marcel Duchamp.

Expressionism: with a capital ‘E’, a German-obtained semi-abstract movement of the beforehand twentieth-century—exemplified below in the occupational of Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and also Wassily Kandinsky—that provided shade and form to expush inner or extra-photographic qualities such as psychology, spirituality, and emovement. Because of this, it stands as a type of antidote to nineteenth-century French Impressionism, which smust recreate outward sensations. With a lowercase ‘e’, expressionist or expressionistic art indicates an attempt to express a greater or deeper value not viewed in the exterior appearance of a things.

Fauvism: a semi-abstract activity in early twentieth-century (mostly) French art—exemplified below in the work-related of Henri Matisse—that used bbest, regularly uncombined colors in an initiative to create a direct suggests of expression separated from earlier naturalistic trends.

Futurism: a semi-abstract activity in early twentieth-century Italian and also Russian art—exemplified below in the occupational of Umberto Boccioni—that took the vibrant colors of Neo-Impressionism and Cubism’s fragmenting of create and also room and supplied those to develop an art involved principally with themes of movement, rate, and dynamism.

Harlem Renaissance: a social blossoming of African-Amerihave the right to arts that originated in New York City after World War I.

Neoplasticism (additionally recognized as De Stijl): an abstract motion established throughout the interwar period in the Netherlands—exemplified below in the job-related of Piet Mondrian—that proposed simplicity, order, and functionality constructed on the most fundamental geometric creates (horizontal and vertical lines) and also the a lot of basic colors (the 3 main tones, babsence, gray, and also white) toward the opportunity of reaching global values in art.

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Purism: a semi-abstract motion in interwar France—exemplified here in the occupational of Le Corbusier—that proposed geomeattempt and simplicity as underlying values of art, proposing the need for originality and production based upon these orderly bases. Purism smust overturn the primacy of Cubism in the Parisian art scene after WWI.

Primitivism: a trend within Modernism wherein Western artists either a.) functioned in a “naïve” or “untrained” style in an effort to method a more standard, direct indicates of expression or b.) looked to non-Western forms of art to escape what was seen as the cul-de-sac of the Western heritage.

The Return to Order: a retrograde interbattle trfinish throughout Europe (but focused, perhaps, in France) toward naturalistic art, wherein artists turned amethod from “decadent” abstractivity toward conventional worths of beauty, proportion, and order.

The Stieglitz Circle: a constellation of artists grouped approximately the photographer-gallerist Alfred Stieglitz and his 291 Gallery—exemplified right here by Georgia O’Keeffe—that developed a very early, semi-abstract avant-garde in cshed dialog with European creative advancements in the early twentieth-century USA.

Surrealism: a motion in interbattle France—exemplified right here in the work of André Masson—that smust render a “higher” truth accessible by the unleashing of the Unaware or, often, the analysis of dreams.

The Works Progress Administration (WPA): a regime in the USA under the presidency of Franklin Roosevelt that offered work-related for a number of artists throughout the Great Depression, many notably on government-funded mural projects for federal, state, and also municipal buildings.

The First Wave: Modernism prior to World War I

The Post-Impressionist Paul Cézanne was attributed by two of Modernism’s pioneers—Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso—for laying the groundwork-related for twentieth-century art. Amongst various other points, his depiction of objects from multiple viewpoints and also his usage of color as a structure block for form (fairly than as a essential attribute of form) led both to the fracturing of create in Picasso’s Cubism and the usage of arbitrary (non-naturalistic) color in Matisse’s Fauvism. The Large Bathers, painted in the year of Cézanne’s death, was a radical exit from naturalism. The difficult outlines around his female numbers emphadimension the two-dimensionality of the canvas while contrasting visually with the passage of color from one form to another. It is clear, for instance, that certain brushstrokes relocate from one number to an additional throughout what should be their outline. Therefore, color has been liberated here from the develop that carries it, and also the forms themselves are built up by Cézanne’s constructive brushstrokes.

Cézanne’s canvases, but, were still connected to trends of nineteenth-century naturalism in just how they allotted color to objects. Matisse’s departure in Le Bonheur de Vivre (The Pleasure of Life) took Cézanne’s separation of shade from form to its logical extreme, using color as a purely expressive tool divorced from optical sensation. It can additionally be offered to present the concept of Primitivism in twentieth-century Modernism: at a minute of quick industrialization and modernization, artists choose Matisse decided to paint “naïve” functions of art in a manner that argues a natural state of simplicity. In The Joy of Life, yellow, blue-green, and pink nudes dance, sing, and frolic in an untouched, multicolored Eden. By alternately exaggerating and also simplifying develops, Matisse made imaginative options that emphasized the canvas as a two-dimensional support for the harmonious juxtaposition of color fairly than any type of kind of exact depiction of nature.

While some critics known the passion and vitality of Matisse and his followers’ brand-new direction (the name of his motion Fauvism derives from the French for “wild beast”), others tested Matisse for paint in this radical idiom, and also his reaction said a lot around the new territory of Modernism. Responding to charges of ugliness made about his Blue Nude of 1907, Matisse famously quipped: “If I met such a woman in the street, I have to run away in terror. Above all, I execute not develop a woguy, I make a snapshot.”

This idea—that art can be about something higher than mere representation—marked a radical change that was taken up by two of Modernism’s significant activities, Expressionism and Cubism. Expressionism, greatly a Germale development, was represented by 2 major groups: Die Brücke and also Der Blaue Reiter.

Die Brücke (The Bridge) was developed in Dresden in 1905 and included figural distortions, a Primitivist directness of rendering, and an expressiveness of color that linked it to Fauvism. In Street, Dresden, Die Brücke founder Ernst Ludwig Kirchner uses those ideregarding expush feelings of aliecountry within the contemporary city. A basic and also telling exercise: ask your students to make two columns, one for adjectives describing The Joy of Life, and also one for adjectives describing Street, Dresden. While The Pleasure of Life is an idyllic scene of healthy bodies in natural harmony, Kirchner’s scene reports the mask-choose, made-up encounters of woguys in the too-tight city street setting. Though these women attend to the viewer, their eyes are blackened, implying an inability or unwillingness to make basic humale connections. A issue over the impacts of modernity and also the city on the huguy psyche was a leitmotif of Expressionist thought.

Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider) was developed in 1911 in Munich and also concentrated on the possibility of pure abstraction (art without recognizable objects). The leader of Der Blaue Reiter, Wassily Kandinsky wrote an prominent writing entitled On the Spiroutine in Art in 1910 that, among various other things, suggested that abstraction available a universality that representation might not, and also that color acted autonomously from develop as a carrier for spiritual worths thshould be shed in the experience of modernity.

Kandinsky’s Composition VII gives an excellent chance to explain the sometimes tough idea of abstractivity to students. If, as Kandinsky suggests, shade can exist external of form, what would it look like? Kandinskies and also his followers were fond of comparing visual art to music. Consider terms mutually used to define art and music, prefer tone, harmony, and—for Kandinsky—the names of his paintings themselves: Composition, Improvisation, Study (Étude). Music, in the eyes of the Expressionists, was the perfect metaphor for abstract art; though it has actually form and also tone, though it deserve to be felt and heard, its creates cannot be seen.

They can, however, be written, notated, and also visualized. Someone can wear a “loud” shirt, Matisse created “harmonious compositions,” and Kandinsky—in Composition VII—painted a really “cacophonous” scene. Though the develops right here are all however unrecognizable (scholars have review certain of Kandinsky’s canvases as apocalyptic scenes with abstract imagery culled from the Publication of Revelations), the artist communicates clamor (again, one hregarding reach for sound as an analogy!), problem, and violent energies via his manipulation of create and shade separated from objective reality.

This link between contemporary art and music was not lost on the Cubists, who on a regular basis contained guitars, pianos, and also violins in their compositions (Georges Braque’s Homage to J.S. Bach concerns mind), or the Futurists or Dadaists that followed them, for that issue. However before, initially, the Cubist evaluation of form came directly from Pablo Picasso and also Braque’s study of Cézanne. A comparichild in between The Large Bathers and Picasso’s pre-Cubist period Family of Saltimbanques provides that visual debt immediately obvious via Picasso’s option of palette, his dealing with of paint, and also construction of creates through tiny, unstable brushstrokes.

By the time he painted Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (The Young Ladies of Avignon), yet, Picasso had plainly puburned past Cézanne’s experimentation right into a new visual idiom. Though he consisted of a clever before reference to the older artist’s penchant for paint off-kilter still lifes from multiple perspectives (the small setup of fruit not-quite-sitting in their crescent-shaped bowl on an awkwardly jutting table at the foot of the canvas), Picasso shattered Cézanne’s linked composition right into hard-edged facets. This is how, for example, it is feasible to view the women he stood for both frontally and in profile. It was this distinct style—emphasizing the hard geometry underlying Picasso’s form—that brought about critics to refer to the brand-new paint style as Cubism. Several of the women’s faces are additionally reinserted through or modeled on African masks that Picasso experienced on screen in ethnographic museums, indicating his own usage of Primitivism to discover brand-new develops of expression and to divorce his modern-day art from the Western artistic tradition.

The visual inventions of Cubism and also Expressionism catalyzed artists across Europe who sought to express the modern-day age in their art. In Italy (and also later, Russia), Futurism adopted modernity, particularly seeking to incorporate advancements from science and also industry right into their multifaceted production. The “Founding and Manifesto of Futurism” published by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti in 1909 (after a life-altering occasion wherein he ran his car off the road and flipped it into a ditch) was the first in a series of dynamic, combative, and incendiary messages publiburned by the movement’s artists, that moved right into a substantial selection of imaginative media: literature, theater and also set style, paint, sculpture, style, dance, photography, toymaking, clothes, film, and also so on. Their bellicose rhetoric and also celebration of the modern-day machine did not soptimal on the imaginative level, either; the Futurists cried loudly for Italy’s intervention in the first modern, mechanical war (World War I), and also many of the original coterie of Futurist artists dealt with for the Italian Army. Sadly, two of the the majority of important early on Futurists (Umberto Boccioni and Antonio Sant’Elia) passed away as an outcome of their involvement.

Before his death in 1916, Boccioni was possibly the the majority of prominent artist in the movement, as a painter, sculptor, and writer that mainly penned the “Technical Manifesto of Futurist Painting” in 1910. Simultaneous Visions encapsulates many type of of the major themes of Futurism. Spurred on by the maddening pace of contemporary life, the Futurists believed in the idea of simultaneity: that time taken place in its entirety, fairly than as a collection of discrete moments, and also that forms—as a result—were also unbound, interpenetrating and also exerting force on each various other. Here, a woman looks from a staggering height off of her balcony onto the city street below. The street and its comactivity, suggested by pressure lines that slice across the canvas, belengthy spatially to the balcony; meanwhile, the woman’s confront, recurring frontally and also hovering over the buildings throughout the street, belongs spatially to the street. This radical handling of perspective and the dynamism it creates is analogous in Futurist thshould the velocity of everyday life and was frequently compared to the telescoping whirr at the corners of one’s vision when they rode in a automobile, train, or airplane.

Boccioni additionally wrote the “Technical Manifesto of Futurist Sculpture” in 1912, in which he claimed that a sculpted object, much from a discrete entirety, must incorporate all those elements of its atmosphere that act upon it. His Unique Forms of Continuity in Space attempted to carry out exactly that, showing the advancement of a figure striding in forward activity. Though the upright number has actually effective legs that reduced the air, developing swirling vortexes, its face and also chest are largely caved in, saying the forces resisting its progress. Was Unique Forms an allegory for Italy’s search to define itself as a modern nation? Was it a modern man-machine, ready to leap right into battle? Was it, as Boccioni said, a solution to Marinetti’s insurance claim that a roaring vehicle engine was as beautiful as the Nike of Samothrace? Whatever before the instance, the iconic sculpture has actually come to be among Italy’s most celebrated modern-day works, also appearing (as the result of a renowned phone-in vote!) on the country’s variation of the twenty-Eurocent coin because 2002.

Dada arrived at the European scene in 1916 at a small nightclub called the Cabaret Voltaire in Züwell-off, Switzerland also. The artists that met tbelow were largely pacifists that relocated to the neutral nation during World War I, and their uproarious, playful, and iconoclastic performances (indeed, Dada is often referred to as an “anti-art” movement) lhelp hefty criticism on the bourgeois society and financial pressures they blamed for the battle. While it taken on modern art, then—Cubist and also Expressionist paints were showed at the Cabaret Voltaire, and Futurist sound poems and manifestos were declaimed—Dada agitated for the devastation of the commercial art school, making use of performance to produce art that can not be commodified. Dada stood for an take on of the irrational and also original versus standard ideas of reason and also tradition.

Hugo Ball’s Performance of the sound poem Karawane exemplifies this bent. The performance occurred in 1916 and is recognized by photographs and reproductions of Ball’s poem. Written in a nonsense language intended to mimic certain Afrihave the right to dialects (an unfortunately racist, if well-intentioned attempt to reach for impetus beyond the Western canon), Ball produced Karawane to be spoken aloud rather than review silently, and he hence emphasized the phonetic qualities of the words fairly than their definition. In the photograph, he stands wearing a “Cubist” costume, via a cylinder approximately his torso, one more atop his head, a conical wrap around his shoulders, and also a pair of bizarre angular gloves lengthening his fingertips. His performance of Karawane, then, have to be review as much as a celebration of modern-day art as it is a takedvery own of the henabled Western intellectual bastion of reason, which—for the Dada group—was not worth much, once it inevitably created machine guns, tanks, bombs, and various other gadgets to more efficiently kill millions in a destructive war.

As an principle, Dada spreview quickly, spawning factions across the globe. Marcel Duchamp was an artist whose job-related was very closely associated with Dada that operated between Paris and New York. His imaginative maneuvers—frequently expected to straight question the most basic assumptions of art itself—inserted him among the most essential artists of the twentieth century. Perhaps his best-known job-related is his Fountain, which led to an huge conflict upon its “development.” In 1917, Duchamp purchased a urinal from a hardware store, signed it “R. Mutt 1917,” and also submitted it to the Society of Independent Artists’ yearly exhibition. Though the committee for the exhibition asserted that it would accept and also display all effectively submitted works, they rejected Duchamp’s Fountain, resulting in an uproar in the creative area.

The committee’s verdict rode mostly upon the truth that Duchamp did not manufacture the job-related himself. Duchamp, that had actually been creating “readymade” works of art given that 1914 by repurposing existing objects, claimed that the urinal was art, and he was supported by an anonymous editorial that was circulated at the moment that read:

“Whether Mr Mutt made the fountain with his own hands or not has actually no importance. He CHOSE it. He took an write-up of life, inserted it so that its advantageous meaning disappeared under the brand-new title and suggest of view—produced a brand-new assumed for that object.”

Duchamp’s intervention ended up being the fountainhead for a variety of necessary questions regarding the condition of art itself. What is a work-related of art? Who gets to decide? If the artist gets to decide what a occupational of art is, then is choosing a work-related of art considerably different than developing it? Can an idea—not an object—be a work of art? In increasing these questions, Duchamp generated the idea of conceptual art, which didn’t need any type of evidence of the artist’s making. This opened up the floodentrances of what could be taken into consideration “art” to a staggering degree.