As we might expect, sculpture invited abstraction as did painting; many Cubists and Futurists were both sculptors and painters, and their abstractive methods, allowing for the physical differences of the media, were much the same. UMBERTO BOCCIONI (1882-1916) applied to sculpture the representational technique of Balla. What we want, he claimed, is not fixed movement in space, but the sensation of motion itself: "Owing to the persistence of images on the retina, objects in motion are multiplied and distorted, following one another like waves in space. Thus, a galloping horse has not four legs, it has twenty." Though Boccioni in this instance was talking about painting, his observation helps us to comprehend what is perhaps the definitive work of Futurist sculpture, his Unique Forms of Continuity in Space (figure above).
Unique Forms calls attention to the formal and spatial effects of motion rather than to the fact that the source for these is the striding human figure. The "figure" is so expanded, interrupted, and broken in plane and contour that it disappears, as it were, behind the blur of its movement; only the blur remains. Boccioni's search for plastic means with which to express dynamic movement reaches a monumental expression here. In its power and sense of vital activity, this sculpture surpasses similar efforts in painting (by Boccioni and his Futurist companions) to create images symbolic of the dynamic quality of modern life. To be convinced by it, we need only reflect on how details of an adjacent landscape appear in our peripheral vision when we are traveling at great speed on a highway or in a low-flying airplane. Although Boccioni's figure bears a curious resemblance to the ancient Nike of Samothrace (figure on the left below), a cursory comparison reveals how far the modern work departs from the ancient one. ut the representation of motion in sculpture reaches a limit here with Boccioni. After all, the piece itself does not move (It would be the motion picture, operating by rapid changes fixed images, that would produce convincing of movement.) Sculpture composed of actually moving parts, like a machine, would be designed by Alexander Calder and would make no pretense (figure on the right below) and would make no pretense of "representing" any movement other than its own.
Thus the field of experiment with abstraction was left to the Analytic Cubist sculptors, whose work assumed the observation to be in motion around an essentially stationary object rather than the object itself being in motion Analytic Cubism did not just open new ways of repre senting form on two-dimensional surfaces; it also inspired new approaches to sculpture. Picasso tested the possibilities of Cubism in sculpture throughout the years he and Braque were developing the style, but one of the most successful sculptors to adapt the spatial feeling of Analytic Cubist painting into three dimensions was JACQUES LIPCHITZ (1891-1973). Lipchitz was born in Latvia but resided for many years in France and the United States. His ideas for many of his sculptures were worked out in clay before being transferred in bronze or into stone. Bather (figure below) is typical of his Cubist style. The continuous form in this work is broken down into cubic volumes and planes. As with Cubist painting, there is no single point of view, no continuity or simultaneity of image contour. Lipchitz was part of the second generation of Cubists-artists who invested the innovations of Braque and Picasso with theo ry and a more consistent technical approach. Proportion and mathematics were important analytical tools for these artists. Like many of them, Lipchitz based a considerable number of his sculptures on the Golden Mean, which had been used in antiquity to suggest the perfection of ideal proportion and order. Lipchitz combined this Classical mathematical formula with a modern energy to create what he called "the sense of twisting movement, of the fig ure spiraling around its axis." The spiraling movement in Bather recalls both the energy of El Greco's painted figures), which Lipchitz much admired, and the twisting tension of Mannerist works like Giovanni de Bologna's Abduction of the Sabine Women (figure on the left below). Yet these qualities are modified by the way in which the cubic shapes of Bather seem to slip and slide before our eyes, presenting first one view of the body parts and then another; Lipchitz has fully invested this figure with the qualities of space - time so important to the Cubist vision An even more decisive break with the long tradition of Western sculpture than this analysis of mass into planes is the piercing of the mass. An early example of this new turn can be seen in Woman Combing Her Hair (figure in the center below) by the Russian sculptor ALEKSANDR ARCHIPENKO (1887-1964). This statuette, recalling in its graceful contrapposto something of Renaissance Mannerism, introduces in place of the head a void with a shape of its own that figures importantly in the whole design. Enclosed spaces have always existed in figure sculpture for example, the space between the arm and the body when the hand rests on the hip, as in Verrocchio's David. But here there is penetration of the continuous mass of the figure, and shaped space (often referred to as negative space) occurs with happen mass in the same design. Archipenko's figure shows the same slipping of the planes that we have seen in pictorial Cubism, and the relation of the planes to each other is similarly complex. Thus, in painting and sculpture, the traditional limits are broken through and the medium transformed. Archipenko's figure is still quasi-representational, but sculpture (like painting) executed within the Cubist orbit tends to cast off the last vestiges of representation A friend of Picasso, JULIO GONZALEZ (1876-1942), shared his interest in the artistic possibilities of new materials and new methods borrowed from both industrial technology and traditional metalworking. Constructed or "direct' shapes (using ready-made bars, sheets, rods, or the like) of welded or wrought iron and bronze can produce, in effect, simple or incredibly complex sculptured spaces in a kind of fluent openwork, in which the solids function only as contours, boundaries, or dividing planes.
In Woman Combing Her Hair (figure on the right above) by Gonzalez (compare with Archipenko's version of the same subject; (figure above), fantasy is restrained by no traditional convention of representation, and the actual constructive process is unimpeded by the more demanding methods of carving and casting. Sculptors in the 1960s and 1970s would fully exploit the advantages of this method: linear effects i for other modes, flexibility in construction, speed of execution, and easy correction of errors or changes in intention. The direct metal method in the hands of contemporary sculp tors parallels the methods used by the so-called Abstract Expressionist painters. It should be noted that although Gonzalez innovates in material and method, he still thinks (as the title of this piece indicates) of the human figure as a point of departure for abstraction, even though the forms could stand without external reference to the natural world After years as an unsuccessful painter, Gonzalez was asked by Picasso for technical help in constructing metal sculpture. From that time, his influence has been continuous with a special impact on today's sculptors. Lipchitz, Archipenko, and Gonzalez dismantle the tradi tional, sculptured figure respective it to planes and volume, piercing its mass with open space, and transforming it into an open work of spaces, lines, bars, and rods. Yet they take the traditional figure as their point of departure and make reference to it by labels such as ancer" or "woman combing her hair." One work by the essentially independent painter and sculptor AMEDEO MODIGLIANI (1884-1920), however, steps outside the tradi tion altogether. Modigliani, who was only loosely related to Cubism, takes as his model the carved African mask, which already has been "analyzed" into geometrical pattern by the abstracting formal instinct and practice of a native tradition. We have seen the influence of the African mask in Picasso's Les Demoiselles. There it is only one exotic motif among several. Modigliani's Head is an adaptation of the African mode of repre- sentation. Through it Modigliani rejects the Western tradi- tion totally, accepting the exclusive authority of African art as its modern and entirely appropriate replacement. In his painting, also, Modigliani derives his characteristic shapes and volumes from the same African source, but he adapts them to Western themes, composition, and setting. From the Cubist point of view, his painting is conservative.
Sources: ART THROUGH THE AGES, Tenth Edition, RICHARD G. TANSEY, FRED S. KLEENEX
Although the Bolognese painters were willing to imitate nature directly as possible, they believed that the Renaissance and Antique masters already had captured much of nature's essence and that the earlier masters would prepare them for the study of nature. Caravaggio (1573-1610) after the northern Italian town from which he came, thought very much otherwise. His outspoken disdain for the Classical masters (probably more vocal than real) drew bitter criticism from many painters, one of whom denounced him as the "anti-Christ of painting." Giovanni Pietro Bellori, the most influential critic of the age and an admirer of the Carracci, felt that Caravaggio's refusal to emulate the models of his distinguished predecessors threatened the whole Classical tradition of Italian painting that had reached its climax in Raphael and that was the philosophical basis of the Bolognese academy. Yet many paid Caravaggio the genuine compliment of borrowing from his innovations, and his influence on later artists, as mu outside Italy as within, was immense.
The unconventional life of this great painter was consisted with the defiant individualism of his art. We know alnost as much about Caravaggio from police records as from other documents. Violent offenses and assaults reaching to murder trace his tragic, antisocial career through restless, tormented wanderings, which, nevertheless, did not prevent him from producing a large number of astonishing works. His very association with lowlifes and outcasts may help to account for his unglorified and unfashionable view of the great themes of religion, as well as his indifference to the Renaissance ideals of beauty and decorum. In his art, he secularizes both religion and the classics, reducing them to human dramas that might be played out in the harsh and dingy settings of his time and place. He employs a cast of unflattering characters selected from the fields and the streets; these, he was proud to declare, were his only teachers to paint from them gave him sufficient knowledge of nature.
We easily can appreciate how startling Caravaggio's methods must have been for his contemporaries when we look at the Conversion of St. Paul (picture above), which he painted for the Roman church of Santa Maria del Popolo. The scene illustrates the conversion of the Pharisee Saul by a light and a voice from Heaven (Acts 9:3-9). The saint-to-be is represented flat on his back, his arms thrown up, while an old ostler appears to maneuver the horse away from its fall- en master. At first inspection, little here suggests the awful grandeur of the spiritual event that is taking place. We seem to be witnessing a mere stable accident, not a man over- come by a great miracle. The protagonist is not specifically identified; he could be an The ostler is a swarthy, bearded old man, who looks well acquainted with stables.
The horse fills the picture as if it were the hero, and its explicitness and the angle from which it is viewed might betray some irreverence on the part of the artist for this subject. Although Caravaggio found numerous sympathet- ic patrons in both church and state, a number of his works were refused on the ground that they lacked propriety (that is to say, decorum). He sometimes appears to pay no attention to the usual dignity appointed to scenes from scripture and to go too far in dismissing the formal graces of Renaissance figure composition and color.
The fact is that, above all, Caravaggio seeks to create a convincing copy of the optical world as a vehicle of spiritu. al meanings; his intention in this respect is like Bernini's in the St. Theresa (picture below). To this end, he uses a perspective and a chiaroscuro designed to bring viewers as close as possible to the space and action of the scene, almost as if they were participating in it. The Conversion of St. Paul is placed on the chapel wall and is composed with an extremely low horizon or eye level; the painting is intended to be on the viewers' line of sight as they stand at the entrance of the chapel. The sharply lighted figures are meant to be seen as emerging from the dark of the background. The actual light from windows outside the chapel functions as a kind of stage lighting for the production of a vision, analogous to the rays in Bernini's St. Theresa. Thus, Caravaggio, like Bernini, makes use of the world of optical experience to stage the visionary one. In the Conversion of St. Paul, what we see first as merely commonplace is in fact the elevation of the commonplace to the miraculous. The stark contrast of light and dark was the feature of Caravaggio's style that first shocked and then fascinated his contemporaries.
The sharp and sudden relief it gives to the norms and the details of form emphasizes their reality in a way than an even or subtly modulated light never could. next to light is naturally dramatic; we do not need a director of stage lighting to tell us this. Caravaggio's device, a profound influence on European art, has been called lene the Italian word tenebroso, or "dark manner brism, from Although is in Baroque art, it will its t consequences and the greatest in Spain material Netherlands This technique goes quite well with that is realistic and is another mode of Baroque illusionism by which the eye is almost forced to acknowledge the visu reality of what it sees. In the hands of Caravaggio, tene brism also contributes mightily to the essential meaning of his pictures. In the Conversion of St. Paul, the dramatic spot- light shining down upon the fallen Pharisee is the light of divine revelation that brings about Paul's conversion to Christianity.
A piercing ray of light illuminating a world of darkness and bearing a spiritual message is also a central feature of one of the early masterpieces of Caravaggio, the Calling of St. Matthew (picture below) , one of two large canvases honor ing the saint that Caravaggio painted for the side walls of the Contarelli Chapel in San Luigi dei Francesi in Rome The setting is typical of Caravaggio: a dingy tavern of the sort that the artist frequented himself. Into this mundane environment, cloaked in mysterious shadow and almost unseen, Christ, identifiable initially only by his indistinct halo, enters from the right. With a commanding gesture that recalls that of the Lord in Michelangelo's Creation of Adam on the Sistine Chapel ceiling, hesummons Matthew to a higher calling. The astonished tax collector, whose face is highlighted for the viewer by the beam of light emanating from an unspecified source above the head of Christ and outside the picture, points to himself in disbelief: "Can it be I that you call?" he seems to say. Never before had this New Testament theme been rendered in such a fashion, and its worldly, genre quality, regarded as irreverent by many, caused the church to refuse the work at first. Caravaggio's unorthodox realism finds full orchestration in his Death of the Virgin, which was also refused by the clergy but on the recommendation of the great Flemish painter Peter Paul Rubens, was purchased by the duke of Mantua for his own collection. The painting, which depicts the disciples and friends of Christ mourning over the dead Virgin Mary, was meant to serve as an altarpiece for Santa Maria della Scala in Rome. In Caravaggio's unique realization of the theme, the Virgin is unceremoniously laid out in the awkward stiffness of death, her body swollen limbs uncomposed, and feet uncovered (the last feature considered indecent at the time). Contemporaries com lained that Caravaggio had used as his model for the mother of Christ the corpse of a young woman who had drowned. Around the dead woman, in attitudes of genuine if uncouth grief, without rhetoric or declamation Caravaggio portrays the customary plebeian types that he usually casts in his pictorial dramas of reality. The drawn curtain emphasizes the stagelike setting, into which the grouping of figures invites the viewer as participant. The harsh light plunges into the space from a single source shattering the darks into broken areas of illumination that reveal the coarse materialities of the scene. But, again (as in the Conversion of St. Paul and the Calling of St. Matthew although in a different way), we can read the artist's interpretation not as diminishing the spiritual import of the theme but rather as informing it with a simple, honest, unadorned piety that is entirely sincere very piety that moves the humble watchers of the dead to tears.
Source: Gardner ART THROUGH THE AGES, Tenth Edition, RICHARD G. TANSEY, FRED S. KLEENEX (pages 843- 838)
A second abstract movement, which began in the mid-thirties had become by the forties the dominant trend in American art overshadowing a vigorous school of realist painting which had continued to flourish. Like surrealism abstractionism was nurtured by disillusion, fear and the awareness of helplessness in the face of the insoluble contradictions of contemporary capitalist reality. For many artists it became a refuge from reality, a withdrawal into an egoistic self expression Abstractionism is an extreme form of modernism, and evidence of the deep crisis of modern bourgeois culture. It deforms the outside world to the point of making it unrecognizable and resulted in the complete disintegration of form. The abstractionists severed the last ties which connected their art with visible reality. They maintain that art does not reflect, does not cognize reality, but is a means of expressing the subconscious emotional experience of the personal, instinctive artist. Their works are practically devoid of any image-bearing, intellectual, emotional or ideational content and sense. Their paintings are a confusion of patches and lines, their sculptures a conglomeration of absurd forms of metal, wood or stone Preaching unlimited arbitrariness and subjectivism in artistic creation they violate the fundamental principles of art they discard drawing and composition in painting and the reproduction of actual forms of the material world in sculpture By denying the criteria of artistic values in art, and by discarding national forms and traditions, abstractionism corrupts people's aesthetic taste, diverts them from the cognition of human life and human struggle and cankers their love for their national culture.
Abstractionism has a number of varieties. Joseph Walker Tomlin and Irene Rice Pereira represented the geometric or precise mode of abstraction which preval in the mid-thirties. Free-form abstraction was dominan in the forties. and fifties. This mode of abstraction goes by the name of "Abstract Expressionism" and is represented by American art critics as being "the most significant movement" "the triumph of American painting Abstract Expressionism developed by the fusion of expressionism - with its emphasis on emotional intensification, abstraction - with its rejection of representation of reality, and surrealism with its reliance upon automatism.
The way for Abstract Expressionism was paved by Arshile Gorky and Adolph Gottlieb, who were deeply involved in surrealist argument. About 1950 Abstract Expressionism broke into gestural abstraction or action painting (Franz Kline, Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning), symbolic Abstract Expressionism (Robert Motherwell, William Baziotes Theodoros Stamos) and chromatic or colour-field abstraction (Mark Rothko, Barnett Newmann, Clyfford Still, Mark Tobey). They have different styles and techniques, but all of them have they have nothing to do with real life one common feature and very little with art.
The "action painting" arising out of the "psychic automatism" of surrealism, came closest to pure automatism. With "action planned was by methods, in which the physical action of painting determined the final forms. Traditional brushwork gave way to ing or pouring the pigment on to the canvas. The most celebrated of action painting Jackson Pollock placed his enormous canvases on the floor and moved buckets around them puddling and splashing pain producing a vortex of swirling lines, spatters, and drips.
Some of Pollock's paintings (and a few of Mark Tobey’s, James Brooks’, Fritz Glarner's) possess at least a certain decorative quality which is lacking in the works of A. R. Motherwell, M. Rothko, A. Gottlieb and others, whose harsh and muddy colours and slovenly of smears produce powerful colour impression "to protest against the reputed equivalence of American painting and literal painting.”
Willem de Kooning's woman series in which monstrous fullbodied, wide eyed, toothy female figures materialize from a chaos of slashing brushstrokes and anatomical fragments spread across the canvas appeared to have run its course.
The decade of the 1960’s saw new trends, some a outgrowths of abstraction, some as reactions against it. The most influential "movement" of the sixties was pop art, opposed to the rude world of actual objects that are passed as "works of art” as fresh link to the current life . Pop art utilizes the common banal features of American daily life, billboards, comic strips, cans and even different sort of rubbish from a dump. The turn to real objects is upon concepts borrowed from the earlier schools of modernism complexes of "stream of consciousness refusal to express a concrete idea. These concepts are expressed by visual information and commodities wrenched from their habitual context actual objects as such, Pop art works offer to the viewer an unlimited set of disconnected associations political, commercial, sexual, which break in upon one another. No evaluation, interpretation or commentary is possible merely express a frigid attitude of noninvolvement. "The implication American art critic remarks, "that nothing can be done about a materialistic worldly society plunged into situations so that the only sensible attitude is one of the acceptance of the realities This secured for pop art official support "as truly American art" and at the same time made with left young movements, hippy ideology, etc. Though pop art was a reaction against abstraction there is much in common between them. They both display a passionate concern with visual experience.
The leading exponents of pop art in America were Robert Rauschenberg, Roy Lichtenstein, James Rosenquist, Tom Wesselmann, Andy Warhol and Claes Oldenburg.
R. Rauschenberg combines abstraction with pop art devices incorporating commonplace mass-produced items into his canvases. (See picture below). The result is a conglomeration of cloth, bits of newspaper, strips of canvases, splashes, blobs or drips of paint with stuffed animals, furniture, kitchen utensils, bottles, photos and the like protruding from the canvas or merging into it. His notorious masterpiece "The Bed" represents an actual pillow and a patchwork quilt splashed liberally with paint.
Throughout the ’80s and ’90s Rauschenberg continued his experimentation, concentrating primarily on collage and new ways to transfer photographs. In 1998 The Guggenheim Museum put on its largest exhibition ever with four hundred works by Rauschenberg, showcasing the breadth and beauty of his work, and its influence over the second half of the century. Rauschenberg lives in Florida and continues to work, bringing his sense of excitement and challenge into a new century.
Andy Warhol, perhaps the most pupularised of the pop artists and standardized consumer society as labels newspaper headlines magazine of manufactured product photographs makes pictures with currency and stamps. He makes pictures of soup-cans, tomato ketchup, n Coca-Cola bottles of famous personalities (Jacqueline Kennedy Jackie), film stars (Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Tylor); of works of art (Mona Liza, Thirty Are Better Than One). Warhol has created several Disaster series depicting car crashes, suicides, the electric chair etc. Each image is mechanically repeated a great number of times by means of mass-reproduction devices (photomechanical silk screening), e. g. One Hundred Campbell's Soup Cans, Green Coca-Cola Bottles or 5 Deaths 11 Times in Orange Roy Lichtenstein draws upon comic strips for his inspiration. His pictures are like comic book illustrations painted in bright colours and enlarged to a gigantic scale (over 13 feet in length) James Rosenquist is inspired by advertizing, especially the huge omnipresent billboard. He is known to have produced the largest pop painting, entitled F-111. The canvas is larger than the fighter bomber it represents and is 86 feet long. It 51 panels.
Tom Wesselmann found his inspiration in the bathroom. He is best known for his Great American Nudes and bathroom collages in which real (toilet paper, toilet seat, etc.) are incorporated with painted airy female figure painted flat.
Claes Oldenburg is famous for his sagging soft sculptures of food items and household utensils made of vinyl stuffed with kapok and enlarged to an absurdly gigantic size (Giant Hamburger)
By the late 1960s pop art became outmoded. "The rapidity of artistic change in the 1960s was unusual even in a period accustomed to the swift dispersal of outmoded styles into inglorious obsolescence," remarks Milton Brown. It is impossible to classify the bewildering number of modern movements that rocked the American art world in the sixties and seventies pop art. junk, assemblage, hard edge that lourished in the sixties re superseded by Op, Minimal Land, Systemic Primary, Performance, Body, Process, Conceptual, Post-Studio, and Light and Movement Art, that dominated the scene in seventies. These trends carried still further the drastic switch from tradition and a nihilistic attitude to the culture of the past and to humanitarian The bounderies of American art became so flexible that anything might be included from earthworks and videotape events to cornflakes scattered in an open area, grease, dirt, leaves ice blocks melting on a gallery floor or merely verbal statements and print. The search for novelty is very characteristic of the present day world and very often this is the primary concern of the artist. Speaking about the accelerated pace of innovation, Jack Levine very aptly compared it with the rat race "I think that the abstract, the non-objective, the modernistic artists have lost themselves in the wilderness. I think they have been motivated by a continuous sequence of rebellions one against the other so nobody remembers which came first, the why and wherefore of what they are doing.
Huge sums are donated by the art patrons for the museums of modernistic and propaganda of modernism through exhibitions The Museum of Guggenheim was founded in Solomon R. New York, the Museum of Modern Art was set up in 1939 by Ockfellers. of modernism as an official ideology of the United States is also manifested by the dominance of modernistic works at various national and international art exhibitions (Venice Biennial Paris Juvenile Biennial National Exhibition of American Art in Moscow), by the of sponsors to turn exhibitions into a forum of modernism, to make it pass as the main modern artistic phenomenon.
Sources: The Art of USA, painting, sculpture, I.P. Turishev.
Introduction to American Modernism before the WWII (Georgia O’Keeffe, John Marin, Marsden Hartley, Charles Demuth and others)
The beginning of the twentieth century was marked by a violent enhancement of the struggle between the two opposing tendencies in art the realist tradition and the reactionary academic and modernistic trends. American modernism, like its European counterpart, is represented by a multitude of trends but with all their apparent differences, all modernistic trends have one common decisive feature: all of them are opposed to realism in art and materialism in aesthetics; they reject traditions in the world of art and advocating extreme subjectivism ("self- expression") in creative work.
While Henri, Luks, Sloan and Bellows were successfully struggling against conservative academism and exalting the primacy of life over art, a new vanguard was emerging and gathering force in America under the idea of art for art's sake. A decisive role in fostering modernism in America was played by the famous Armoury Show of 1913, which was the first vast exhibition of modern European art. It included Impressionists and Post-Impressionists, the Fauves, Cubists, and "Dada (Derain Dufy, Manguin, Villon Friesz Picasso Braque, Leger, Picabia, Duchamp, Gleizes, de la Fresnay). The Armoury Show speeded up the decay of art evinced already by some artists such as Morris Prendergast and Arthur Davis, who paved the way for the frank departure from realism to purely formal and subjective experiments.
This vast demonstration of new and bold experiments of the most avant-garde artists of many countries shocked and bewildered the American public. It had a shattering effect on young artists who, lured by the tempting paths of free art free from any obligation to life abandoned realism to experiment with avant-garde style imitating now some European artists, dabbling voraciously in Expressionism, Cubism and Futurism.
The first wave of modernism in America was represented by Cubism (L. Feininger, Ch. Demote Ch. Sheeler), Futurism (J. Stella), abstractionism (M. Russell and S. Macdonald Wright) and Expressionism (M. Weber, A. M. Hartley Marin).
Expressionism was by far the most widespread form of modernism in America in the period between the Armoury Show and World War II. After a few years of experimentation many artists returned to more representationa styles, and about 1925 this first wave of modernism had passed.
There were some serious and undoubtedly very gifted artists who gave up realism search of new forms of expression and developed their talent in fruitful experimentation. Among purely formalistic works they would sometimes produce a work revealing a keen awareness of the beauty of American nature.
One of the most sensitive among the artists converted was John Marin (1870-1953). He was an modernism expressionist and like all other expressionists, he concentrated of which far surpassed own emotions, the intensity of his range of vision. Drawing on the Fauves and late Cezanne for his stylistic devices, he developed his own spontaneous colours and generalized style of painting, a with a number of abbreviated personal symbols of colour and line -a green triangle for a pine, a zigzag for a wave. His favourite medium was which he used with subject and suggestiveness. He found his subject matter in New York or in the state of Maine. In Maine he did his most memorable work - his breezy and buoyant water-colour landscapes of the coast of Maine. His best landscapes are a lyrical expression of the expansive, joyful poetry of earth and sea. He transmuted the rugged coast of Maine into a remarkable and lyrical harmony of form an radiant colour. (see picture above).
Marsden Hartley (1887-1943) as a painter is characterized by frequent changes of style. His early landscapes of the Maine mountain countryside profound admiration for Ryde In France he was influenced by Cezanne and the experimented with a cubistderived style. In Berlin under influence of he began experimentation in abstraction But it was German Expressionism that had the strongest impact on his style. (see picture below)
After years of experimentation, he returned native Maine, where he found his subject and his expressionistic manner. He painted the fishermen, pine woods and rock bound coast of Maine with an elemental simplicity and with great power. His best Majne landscapes, rough, blunt, with their simple colour areas and heavy-handed execution have the direct and uncomplicated impact of a primitive.
By the mid-to late 1920s, a group of modernists approached the changing urban and industrial landscape, transforming it into precisely structured forms that became paeans to American technological advancement. Charles Demuth (1883-1935), more known for his architectural and industrial scenes, which are rendered in the geometric mode of precisionism, is best in his more realistic water-colours of flowers, fruits and also in his night-club and vaudeville subjects. Even more expressive are the water-colour illustrations for Poe, Zola, Balzac and Henry James, which he made for his own pleasure. In these highly original and elegant water-colours he "taps a vein of psychological power practically unique in American art", as D. C. Rich put it.
Georgia O'Keeffe (1887) began with abstractions, giant sized flower forms irises, sunflowers, petunias, Jacks-in-the-pulpit enlarged until they had lost their identity as flowers. In the late twenties she moved to New Mexico and desert landscape provided her with new subject matter she painted its sands and skies, its crouching, hump-backed hills and bleached bones and skulls lying in the sage-brush. Her pictures of dried cow skulls placed against an abstract red, white and blue suggest a parallel with surrealist paintings.
The second wave began in the thirties. The modernism positions of modernism were largely strengthened by the arrival in America of many representatives of the European avant-garde at the beginning of World War II. In the early forties New York became the centre of cosmopolitan surrealism Surrealists used traditional painting techniques, but objects of the real world were torn from their accustomed environment and recombined illogically and arbitrarily. Surrealists drew for their expression on the subconscious, on dreams, fears and morbid fancies. They rendered their fearful, enigmatic and hallucinatory visions, their obsessions and complexes, in terms images. Their works are filled with the arbitrary and the monstrous with a morbid eroticism and horror of death.
The European fugitives Salvador Dali, Max Ernst, Andre Matta, and Andre Breton spent some years in New York while Yves Tanguy and Pavel Tchelitchev settled America for good. They went on with their exploration of the conscious and the irrational and translated their dreams and obsessions. variant of surrealism was American represented by P. Blume's and Berman's hallucinatory pathologic scrutiny of old age, and his obsessions with sensation of disintegration. This surrealistic unsubstantial intensitv of mood continued in the work of the so-called "magic realists" like Henry Koerner and Bernard Perlin.
Another group of surrealists was influenced by the "psychic automatism of Andre Breton. They symbolic semi-abstract forms a direct outpouring of impulses sometimes in symbolic often of sexual or of a estural nature. This of surrealism led to the subsequent gestural Abstract Expressionism or action painting" exemplified by Bradley Walker and Robert Motherwell, Arshile Gorky, Jackson Pollock and others. Continues reading in the next article.
Sources: The Art of USA, painting, sculpture, I.P. Turishev,
Archive Boston , web source
Christie’s Auction American Art Department
History collection is counting the early 1870s, when a young lawyer and ardent lover of art Bogdan took Khanenko marriage to Barbara Tereschenko family of prominent philanthropists and patrons.
From Bogdan memories:
"It is not only the prosperity of a public institution, but its very existence, as well as the life of every creature in our world is unthinkable without love, without that love which binds, gives strength and faith in the work and ensure its success."
The key person to this art collection - Varvara Nykolivna, was born on 9 August 1852 in the town of Glukhov, the eldest daughter of Nykola Artemiyovych Tereshchenko (1819-1903), a well- known sugar factory owner, Ukrainian philanthropist, and connoisseur of the arts. Devoted to the national culture, he funded the erection of St. Volodymyr Cathedral in Kyiv, the Kyiv Municipal Museum, as well as structures at the Kyiv Polytechnical Institute. In addition during his lifetime, her father donated more than three million rubles toward the construction of hospitals, asylums, schools, and churches. In 1899, the Kyiv City Council "Duma" renamed Oleksiyivska St. to Tereshchenkivska in his honor.
Nykolivna perpetuated Varvara as its family's passion for art as wel tradition of philanthropy. Over the years she shared in her husband's passion for collecting, and turned her energies toward the creation of the present collection. In ndebted to Varvara particular, We are o for the addition of the icon Khanenk collection, the Majolica pottery, and the porcelain. She also gave considerable attention to artifacts of Ukrainian folk art. With a view toward the support and encouragement of handicrafts, she opened trade school on her estate in the village of Olenivka, in the Vasylkiv district (or povit) of the wider Kyiv region (or guberniya) In keeping with Bohdan Ivanovych's March 1917 Will, his wife was to complete their work, and prepare the private Tereshchenkivska mansion for conversion into a public museum of world art. Following the death of her husband, and despite the privations of the ongoing Civil War, Varvara spent her remaining funds to secure and heat the mansion, all the while continuing to acquire new exhibits for the collection. Despite the emigration of nearly her entire family, Varvara Khanenko steadfastly refused every proposal to emigrate and remove the exhibitions Professor S.A Giliarov wrote of her: "She would not leave Kyiv: the museum was dearer to her than life." On 15 December 1918, concerned with the collection's safety, Varvara Nykoliv na signed a Deed of Gift transferring the ownership of the manse and collection to the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences. Due to events during those turbulent years, it was only in early 1921 that the Academy officially approved the Deed. In 1921-1922 Varvara Khanenko served as a member of the Committee of The B.I. and V.N. Khanenko Art. Museum at the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences (as the museum was known through December of 1923) Despite her unstinting cultural altruism, she suffered from relentless harassment at the hands of the Bolshevik authorities. Until her final days, she dedicated herself to the collection, occupying only a small room on the second floor mezzanine.
The most important single augmentation of the Khanenko collection is undoubtedly res that of the collection of Vasiliy Aleksandrovich ca Shchavinsky (1868-1924), made up principally of paintings and engravings by the Dutch and de Flemish masters. Shchavinsky had left his to artwork to The Khanenko Museum in his will k and accordingly, in 1925-26, transferred it from The Hermitage in St. Petersburg (then Leningrad), where the collector had entrusted the collection for safekeeping during that troublesome period of social uprising. In many ways, the Museum's destiny readily reflects events in the nation's history. Thus, at the beginning of the 1930s, the exhibition was reorganized to comply with the political necessity of "revealing the class nature of art Compelled to use the rhetoric at play in that era to "direct one's efforts toward the organization of proletarian consciousness", the Museum staff labored to engineer descriptions of the rooms and their contents in an appropriately propagandistic tone, designating each exhibit with fitting "social and economic characteristics". During that period of Ukrainian history, this offered a singular opportunity to illustrate "class-alien artwork". Brilliant art scholars, led by Professor S.A. Giliarov, consciously participated in this ruse, in order to be able to proceed with their important work: the renovation of exhibitions, and the restoration, study, and preservation of the priceless works in the collection.
Source: Khanenko museum website and articles and visuals from museum tour written by Olena Zhivkova translated by Illya Rakos
EUROPEAN DECORATIVE ART OF THE 18-19THCENTURIES - The Golden Chamber of the Khanenko Mansion in the next article
Michelangelo Merisi born 29 September 1571 in Caravaggio, a little market town in Bergamo, or perhaps in Milan. His mother, Lucia Aratori, is the second wife of Fermo, magister (architect-decorator and site overseer) to Franceso Sforza I, Marchese di Caravaggio. His brother Battista, who became a priest, is born a year later. Early childhood in Milan. Plague drives his family back to Caravaggio, where it claims his father and uncle. 1583: death of the Marchese di Caravaggio. Caravaggio's family suffers extreme poverty. 1576: death of Titian. 1581: Domenichino born. 1584: Frans Hals born.
1584-1595 At thirteen, Caravaggio returns to Milan and enters the studio of Simone Peterzano, an established painter and "pupil of Titian" The contract is approved by Prince Colonna. Peterzano, like the Campi brothers, is attracted to a more realistic style at odds with the prevailing Mannerism. A new style is born in Lombardy, whose influence the young apprentice feels. The great period of Renaissance painting is at an end. Pope Sixtus V is open to new trends in art. 1593: Georges de La Tour born 1594: Nicolas Poussin born. 1595-1598 Caravaggio, having acquired exceptional technical facility in Peterzano's studio, leaves for Rome, the cultural capital of the world. His itinerary is not known, but he no doubt sees Masaccio's frescoes, Lotto's paintings, the works of the great Venetians, such as Giorgione, and the frescoes of Niccolo dell'Abbate at Bologna. He also sees the drawings of Sofonisba Anguis- ciola at Cremona. He is given lodging by a Cardinal of doubtful morals. First works, all profane: Boy Bitten by a Lizard, Boy Peeling Fruit, Boy with a Vase of Roses, and the Concert, also called The Musicians, which includes a first self-portrait. Falls ill, recov- ers miraculously, and in his convalescence paints the Ill Bacchus, a second self-portrait. Acquires a powerful patron, Cardinal del Monte. He paints a woman for the first time, the Repentant Magdalene, followed by a Fortune Teller, and a second Bacchus in better health than the first.Has his first brushes with justice. Paints the famous Basket of Fruit (now in Milan).
1598-1600 Religious subjects: the Sacrifice of Isaac, The Ecstasy of Saint Francis, and others. 1598: Zurburan born. 1599: Velazquez born. 1600: Claude Lorrain born.
1600-1604 Two great commissions in which Caravaggio's powers are revealed: San Luigi dei Francesi (the Vocation and Martyrdom of Saint Matthew) and Santa Maria del Popolo (the Crucifixion of Saint Peter and the Conversion of Saint Paul Both are highly controversial, as is The Death of the Virgin (Louvre), modelled by a prostitute. A Madonna for Saint Peter's is refused. Caravaggio wounds a lawyer in a fight over a prostitute, and fees to Genoa. Major religious paintings. In April 1604, a melée at the Albergo del Moro caused by Caravaggio. He is accused of murdering a police sergeant. Arrested and tortured, he is helped to escape 1605-1607 Madonna di Loreto. 29 May 1606 (the police report has survived), Caravaggio kills one Tommasoni after accusing him of cheating at royal tennis. Wanted for murder, he escapes from Rome in disguise. He is banished: any representative of the law may kill him on the spot. Finds refuge in the territory of Prince Colonna. Late in 1606, goes to Naples. Wel comed there, he paints a Resurrection, a Flagellation, the Seven Works of Mercy and the Madonna of the Rosary; the latter alienates the Dominicans. He is an object of adulation. But the Pope's on is slow to come. Leaves Naples for Malta. 1606: Rembrandt born.
1607-1608 He wants to become a knight. believing this will facilitate his pardon. In Malta, paints major works for Valetta Cathedral and two? portraits of the Master of the order. He is made a Knight of Saint John. But a further indiscretion lands him in prison, he is expelled from the Order, and is again forced to flee.
1608-1609 He disembarks in Syracuse (Sicily), and goes to Messina and Palermo. In the despair of exile, racked with illness. he paints intensely moving works: a Resurrection of Lazarus, a Nativity, and an Ecce Homo. In late 1609, he decides to return to Naples 1609: A. Carracci dies.
1609-1610 This second Naples period was one of superlative works, including a last Saint John the Baptist, and a Martyrdom of Saint Ursula in which death is depicted, as if Caravaggio knew that he was doomed. An attempt on his life. News of his death spreads; in fact, he has left Naples, though wounded He disembarks near Rome, at Porto Ercole, then occupied by the Spanish army. His body is found on the beach. He was not yet forty.
Source: Gilles Lambert, Caravaggio 1571- 1610, A Genius Beyond His Time, TASCHEN
“I wanted to raise everything beyond the ground. My roosters are singing and my birds are flying!