Kandinsky Squares & Circles Poster

Abstract Expressionist painter Wassily Kandinsky's masterpiece "Farbstudie Quadrate" Poster - Abstract Squares & Circles on Canvas - Contemporary German Modern Abstract Expressionism in early 20th Century
Farbstudie Quadrate, c.1913

Farbstudie Quadrate, c.1913 Poster
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"Life", "the experience of life -- or of imagination", "the innermost essence of life", these are the slogans which accompany the birth of Expressionism, the art movement breaking new ground. When speaking of German Painting "in our time", we realise that the term, as applied to the forces present and active in contemporary art encompasses far more than the creative work of painters. Baumeister, Feininger, Hofer, Nolde, Pechstein and, of the younger generation, Werner Heldt, passed away. But is the influence of the contemporaries of the "older" generation who died earlier -- Beckmann, Jawlensky, Kandinsky, Kirchner, Klee, Schlemmer -- less present?

Motivated by a common desire to find their creative inspiration in life itself and to submit to the experience of life, three young students of architecture -- Kirchner, Heckel and Schmidt- Rottluff -- form the group "Die Bruecke" in Dresden in 1905. They are joined in 1906 by Pechstein and, for one year, by Emil Nolde, and later, in 1910, by the Silesian painter Otto Mueller. The three artists work together in Kirchner's studio, a former cobbler's store which they decorated with their own mural paintings, with batik designs and carvings. They work from life-models, "in free naturalness", comparing one another's styles. They would go out together to the Moritzburger Lakes, to Alsen, Fehmarn, the Dangaster Moore, to the Curish Haff, and paint the lakes, the moores, the bathing people. Blue waters, verdant bushes animated by vermilion and orange coloured nudes: a youthful sense of closeness to nature, a passionate abandon to the intoxicating shades of luminous complementary colours, vitality and the explorer's delight radiate from their paintings.

The emotive character of the Expressionist artist's reaction to the world is traceable in many ways to unsatisfactory emotional relationships with father, teacher, or minister. These difficulties arose from the strictures of family and social life, the rigid hierarchical relationships at home and in public -- in short, the respect demanded for authority as such. In a world unduly dominated by the ideals of Respect, Duty, and Order, the sensitive man's reaction often is explosive and rebellious. The stronger the strictures, the stronger is bound to be the reaction against them.

Yet it is an outstanding characteristic of the Expressionist that he wishes to lose himself in some force or power greater than or outside of himself. As he moves away from the authoritarian pattern of family, school, or art academy, he finds a substitute in self-identification with the forces of nature, the infinite, the otherworldly, symbolized in various ways by the art of Die Bröcke and Der Blaue Reiter. Just as modern man in general, with his sense of isolation, tends to give up his unbearable individuality to a social, economic, or governmental force greater and more reassuring than himself, so the Expressionist writer or artist, fleeing from what to many Germans was a comforting and supporting social pattern, turned to something else to take its place.

The revolutionary element operative at the beginning of our century which has been made the starting point of our discussion, was confined to the "Bruecke" and the "Blaue Reiter" movements. But it was not intended to write a history of the art of that period. If this had been so, Lovis Corinth, for instance, who achieved an Expressionist style beyond Impressionism, or Paula Modersohn-Becker who, though going her own way, never lost touch with her time, would have had to be extensively discussed. The works of the Impressionists projected themselves decisively into the contemporaries' sphere of existence. Whatever "historical" events are referred to, are mentioned only for general guidance.

Art is never merely an illustration of contemporary philosophical and scientific findings; it is analogous to them and often anticipates them. The brief and striking quotaotins from Kant to Heisenberg cited in the opening pages take the place of an historical introduction and are intended to promote a better understanding of our century's changed spiritual situation and to deepen the reader's awareness of the fact that artistic creation is not an esoteric occurrance but the expression of universal spiritual transformations.

Jackson Pollock Dropping & Splashing Print - Convergence

Convergence Art Print - American Abstract Expressionist painter Jackson Pollock's masterpice - Dropped and Splashed Technique Paint onto Canvas

Jackson Pollock Convergence Art Print
Jackson Pollock
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JACKSON POLLOCK'S NEW YORK SCHOOL OF PAINTING - American Style Abstract Expressionism of the 1950's - Freedom of Expression in Modern Art

American Abstract Expressionist painter Jackson Pollock has long been recognized as a leading figure of this so-called "New York" school of painting. His fame skyrocketed after his death at age forty-four in a car crash on eastern Long Island. That gruesome death gave the Abstract Expressionist movement unprecedented public recognition, and conclusively transformed Pollock the man into Pollock the myth. But in doing so, it also obscured his specific achievements (and limitations) as a painter and thinker. What link remains between the achievements of the early 20th century masters and the solutions proposed by those painters who have come of age (artistically speaking) and produced their maturest work since 1945? What is the relationship, for example, between Cubism and Action Painting? Or between Fauvism and French Abstract Impressionism? The words of Matisse quoted above point to the nature of this relationship, while the common denominator of all the investigations and experiments of 20th century art may be defined in the words of Mondrian.

"All modern art is distinguished by a relatively greater freedom from the oppression of the subject. Impressionism emphasized the impression of reality more than its representation. After the impressionists, all art shows a relative negation of nature's aspects; the cubists delivered a further blow; the surrealists transformed it; the abstract artists excluded it."

Freedom of expression, then, with respect to the subject, this is the commondenominator of art in our time, in our century. But this does not mean that the artist has ceased to express the shifting yet permanent sum of features and factors that go to make up the human situation in all its complexity. The fallacy of superficial detractors of non-figurative art is to suppose that it signifies a more or less complete abandonment of reality; on the contrary, it probes into reality more deeply than ever before. This is as it should be. The artist cannot divorce himself from a state of society which, on the one hand, is profoundly disturbed by doubts and anxieties, but which, on the other, has achieved a great deal in the way of technical advances and social betterment. Why should painting reject new conceptions of time, space, matter and energy (and the new sensibility perforce bound up with those conceptions) when the other forms of artistic expression accept them? Already in Proust we read of the painter Elstir, that his "effort to exhibit things, not as he knew them to be, but in accordance with those optical illusions of which our first glimpse of a thing is compounded, had led him to emphasize certain laws of perspective, thus rendered peculiarly striking, for his art was the first to disclose them." And what is "le temps retrouvé" of the final volume of Proust's masterwork, but a new dimension of the mind, a new sensibility, transcending the measurable, chronological lapse of years, days and hours? It is not for nothing that we find Proust writing in 1919 of "the great, the admirable Picasso."

Action Painting Print by Jackson Pollock


Composition Art Print
Pollock, Jackson
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American Expressionist - American Expressionism Abstract Art Masterpieces - Jackson Pollock Action Painting Poster Print - Spontaneously dropping, dribbled, splashed or smeared onto the very large format canvas painting - 1950's American Gestural Abstraction Art Print