26 Mayıs 2012 Cumartesi


"A roaring automobile that seems to run on shrapnel is more beautiful than the Victory of Samothrace"

Filippo Marinetti (1876-1944)
Futurism was announced in the world in no uncertain terms by the Italian poet and propagandist Filippo Tommaso Marinetti:

"It is from Italy that we now establish Futurism with this manifesto of overwhelming and burning violence, because we want to free this country from its fetid gangrene of professors, archaeologists, antiquarians and rhetoricians."

Marinetti published Futurism in French on the front page of the Paris newspaper Le Figaro on 1909. His manifesto not only challenged the dominance of Paris as the site of aant-garde movements, it also rejected any suggestion of historical tradition in art. 

"We will destroy museums and libraries, and fight against moralism, feminism and all utilitarian cowardice."


The unifying  principle was a passion for speed, power, new machines and technology and a desire to convey the "dynamism" of the modern industrial city.

Carlo Carra (1881-1966)

Some other co-painters in this movement were :

Umberto Boccioni (1882-1916)
Gino Severini (1883-1966)

Dynamism of a Cyclist, Boccioni

Gun in Action, 1915, oil on canvas, Severini

Carlo Carra, Horse and Rider or The Red Rider, 1913

Although they were quick to declare their intensions, it took longer for them to resolve translating these ideas into the paintings. The works in their opening exhibition in Milan in 1911, which contained Futurist subjects rendered in largely traditional ways, were roundly criticized for their lack of self-confidence in a magazine.  Morinetti, Carra and Boccioni responded simply beating up the critic, Soffici, as he sat outside a café. Despite this Soffici joined the Futurist movement in 1913. The turning point was Severini's Paris trip in 1911. Some others also visited Paris to see avant-garde moves there, and came back to Milan with lots of new ideas.

After a major exhibition in Paris in 1912, Futurist idea and art spread quickly throughout Europe, Russia and USA. In the exhibition catalogue, they defined a concept called "lines of force" which is a characteristic of Futurist work.

Boccioni used colour to create a dramatic interaction between objects and space, wwhich he termed "dynamic abstraction". Futurism was popular among other branches of art, too -sculpture, photography, film, poetry, music, architecture...

Although primarily an Italian movement, and though short-lived, Futurist theory and iconography had an important impact on the international avant-garde. Many ideas developed by the Blaue Reiter, DADA, Constructivism originated from Futurism.

25 Mayıs 2012 Cuma

Die Brücke

Everyone who with directness and authenticity conveys that which drives him to creation, belongs to us.

On 7 June 1905 in Dresden, four German architecture students Fritz Bleyl, Erich Heckel, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and Karl Schmidt-Rottluff founded the "The Artist" Group of the Bridge, or Die Brücke (The Bridge). The group would become one of the main forces of German Expressionism. 

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
Erich Heckel
Karl Schmidt-Rottluff

The artists were young, idealistic and imbued with the belief that through painting they could create a better world for all. Their first manifesto, Programm, published as a broadside in 1906, contained Kirchner's call to arms:

"We call all young people together, and as young people, who carry the future in us, we want to wrest freedom for our actions and our lives from the older, comfortably established forces." 

They saw their role to be revolutionaries, or prophets like the Nabis, rather than keepers of tradition. The name was chosen by Schmidt-Rottluff to symbolize the link, or bridge, they would form with art the future:

"To attract all revolutionary and fermenting elements: that is the purpose implied in the name 'Brücke'."

Emil Nolde joined the group for a few months after this letter being persuaded, between 1906 and 1907. The philosophical originality of the group and the usage of 'bridge' motif has also been linked to Nietzsche's book Thus Spake Zarathusta,1883.

Despite their utopian aims, the group was united more by what they disliked in the art around them. (anectodal realism and Impressionism)

The Brücke artists were aware of existing developments in France, and in 1908 an exhibiton of Henri Matisse's work in Berlin confirmed their enthusiasm for the Fauves. Their work shares certain visual characteristics (simplified drawing, exaggerated forms and bold, contrasting colours) and both groups insisted on the freedom of the artists to explain the meaning of sources in nature in individual ways. The first major influence on Die Brücke was Art Nouveau. In 1903 and 1904 Kirchner studied in Munich under one the leading designers of the Jugendstil (german Art Nouveau), Hermann Obrist, and an early street scene, Street,Dresden(1907-8) was painted.

The Streer, 1907-8, Kirchner

Am meer,1906, Schmidt-Rottluff

Schmidt-Rottluff was the boldest colourist of the group, producing images in a disordant, forceful style. (e.g. Midday on the Moor, 1908).

By 1911 all of the members of the group moved to Berlin, and begun to go their seperate ways. Differences between the artists were beginning to be reflected in their works, as they moved away from the principles of style which had originally united them. Like the Fauve experiments in France, Die Brücke was indeed a bridge from Impressionism to Post-Impressionism to the art of the future which would assert its independence of means and expression through colour, line, form and two-dimensionality. As Kirchner wrote about Die Brücke:

"Painting is the art which represents a phenemenon of feeling on a plane surface. The medium employed in painting, for both background and line, is colour.... Today photography reproduces an object exactly. Painting, liberated from the need to do so, regains freedom of action... The work of art is born from the total translation of personal ideas in execution."

Les Fauves / Fauvism

Colours became charges of dynamite. They were supposed to discharge light. Everything could be raised above the real.

At the 1905 Salon d'Automne in Paris, a group of artists exhibited paintings so shocking - the colours so strong and brash, their application so spontaneous and rough- that they were immediately called les fauves (the wild beasts). The most prominent of those artists were ;
Henri Matisse
The Green Line by Matisse

André Derain
The Turning Road by Derain

Maurice de Vlaminck
The Circus by Vlaminck

Georges Rouault of Expressionism was also interested in this wave and had some pieces on this movement.

Fauvism was the first of the avant-garde

(Avant-garde represents a pushing of the boundaries of what is accepted as the norm or the status quo, primarily in the cultural realm.) movements of 20th century to shake up the art world, but the Fauves were never a consciously organised movement with an agreed agenda. Matisse, the oldest and most established, soon became known as "the king of the wild beasts".

In "Notes of a Painter", published in La grande Revue in 1908, Matisse clarified his conception of the role of art:

"What I am after, above all, is expression....I am unable to distinguish between the feeling I have for life and my way of expressing it.... The chief aim of colour should be to serve expression as well as possible.... What I dream of is an art of balance, of purity and serenity devoid of troubling or depressing subject matter, an art which might be for every mental worker, be the business man or writer, like an appeasing influence, like a menthal soother, something like a good armchair in which to rest from physical fatigue."

Luxe, Calme et Volupté, 1904, Matisse (Luxury,Calm and Pleasure)

This painting was exhibited in 1905 and Signac bought it immediately. Raoul Dufy said " In front of this picture, I understood all the new principles; Impressionism lost its charm for me as I contemplated this miracle of imagination produced by drawing and colour."

It should be notted that many of the Fauves (Matisse, Rouault, Camoin, Marquet, Manguin) studied under Gustave Moreau (Symbolism), whose open-minded attitudes, originality and belief in the expressive power of pure colour was inspirational.

Van Gogh had an overwhelming influence on Vlaminck. He first saw Van Gogh's work at an exhibiton in 1901, and confessed shortly after that he loved him more than his own father. He adopted the habit of squeezing paint directly from the tube onto the canvas calling attention to the physicality of material, as in Picnic in the Country.

Picnic in The Country, Vlaminck, 1905

Joy of Life, Matisse 1905-6

Paul Cézanne was also important to the Fauves, and his paintings became more widely known after 1907. He had a lasting impact on Matisse.

By 1906, the Fauves had in fact come to be seen as the most advanced painters in Paris. Joy of Life of Matisse, dominated the Salon des Indépendants and the Salon d'Automne inluded work by all the participants of the group, a dazzling array of brightly coloured landscapes, portraits and figure scenes.

The Fauves' dominance in Paris was monumental but brief, as the individual artists went their own
ways and the attention of the art world was eventually diverted to the Cubists. Derain, became close to Pablo Picasso, Vlaminck abondened Fauvism and liked expressive realism. Van Dongen became a member of Die Brücke group in Germany. Matisse remained a Fauve, becoming one of the best loved and most influential artists of the 20th century.

7 Nisan 2012 Cumartesi


For I have represented them, I have taken their place and put on their semblance through my visions. It is the psyche which speaks.

'Bride of the Wind', oil on canvas
painting by Oskar Kokoschka

Oskar Kokoschka

Expressionism is a term that has been widely applied to drama, visual arts and literature at the beginning of the 20th century, in varying senses. Expressionism filtered into common usage as an alternative to Post-Impressionism, to refer to the new anti-Impressionist tendencies in the visual arts that were developing in different countries from around 1905. These new art forms, which used colour and line symbolically and emotively, were in a sense in the opposite way of Impressionism: instead of capturing an impression of the world around him, the artist impressed his own temperament on his view of own world. This concept of art was so revolutionary that 'expressionism' became a synonym for 'modern art' in general.

Paula Modersohn-Becker 
With its emphasis on subjective emotions, its origin is from Symbolism and the work of Vincent Van Gogh, Paul Gauguin and the Nabis movement. In its expreimentation with the power of pure colour, it also related to Neo-Impressionism and the Fauves. It is characterized by the usage of symbolic colours and exaggerated imagery.

The most important native precursor of Expressionism in Germany was Paula Modersohn-Becker who based herself in the artists' colony at Worpswede, in Bremen,Germany. Her reading of Nietzsche, her friendship with the poet Rainer Maria Rilke and her encounters with the work of the French Post-Impressionists all effected her and she abondened the visions of Worpswede and used colors symbolically.

"the principal thing is my personal vision" she stressed in her journal in 1902.

Self-portrait Pregnant, 1906,
Paula Modersohn-Becker
Mysticism is another significant theme. Emil Nolde is the first name to think about in this area. His paintings combine simple, dynamic rhythms and dramatic colours.

The new art was promoted in Berlin by the writer and composer Herwarth Walden. Works by Oskar Kokoschka were exhibited in there in 1912. By Walden's help Berlin became an important centre of the international avant-garde in the years preceding World-War-I.

Another important Expressionist was the Frenchman Georges Rouault who began his artistic career as an aprentice to a maker of modern stained glass who also restored medieval stain-glassed windows. At the same time he took evening classes at the Ecole dés Arts Décoratifs in Paris, and later studied with Henri Matisse under Gustave Moreau.

Emil Nolde
Georges Rouault
Nolde masks, 1911
A painting by Georges Rouault

8 Mart 2012 Perşembe

Les Nabis

 "Remember a painting before it is... a nude or some anectode or other, is essentially a flat surface covered with colours assembled in a certain order"
Maurice Denis 1890

Sérusier - On the holy-wood /  1891
The secret brotherhood of Nabis was founded in 1888 by French artists and theoriticians Maurice Denis and Paul Sérusier as a rejection to acedemicism. Pierre Bonnard, Paul Ranson and Henri-Gabriel Ibels were the other original members. Other then them there were passionate young artists from Académie Julian in Paris since they were not inspirated with the phptgraphic naturalism there. A spiritual element existed in the ideas and practices of the Les Nabis wave. Moreover; the formation of a secret brotherhood connected them to previous groups of resistant/rebellious artists, such as the "Nazarenes" in Germany and Pre-Raphaelites in England.

Paul Gauguin was the most important mentor of the Nabis, and Séusier's account of a morning's painting under Gauguin in the Bois d'Amour woods in the summer of 1888i vividly describes the "Synthetist" effect on the improvement of Nabi practices. Following Gauguin's leads and advices Séusier finished the painting and showed it to the group. It seemed so original and daring that they believed it had mystical powers.

Maurice Denis - Homage to Cézanne / 1900
Les Nabis began to organise meetings to discuss three main topics: "the scientific and mystical bases of art", "the social implications", "the desirability of a synthesis of the arts" Not only Gauguin but also Georges Seurat, Paul Cézanne samples were drawed to understand the previous generations leading artists better.

The first Nabi group exhibition, organized by Denis, was held in 1891 at the chateau of St Germain-en-Laye. The majority of Nabis were included in the exhibition held at Le Barc de Boutteville,Paris. Since the title of the exhibition was "Peintres Impressionistes et Symbolistes" the Nabis were called Symbolists and they were welcomed among Symbolist poets. Although Denis' statement in the top of the page, about colours being in order, was taken up by abstract artists, the innovation of Nabis were primarily in style and theorization. Their choices of subject remained traditional /portraiture, scenes of Paris life, religious scenes.

As well as paintings the group exhibited prints, poster designs, theatre programme designs. Les Nabis exhibited together until 1899, after that they seperated. A devoted Catholic, Denis turned his attention to religious subjects and he founded the Studio of Sacred Art. Sérusier also turned to religious symbolism. Each and other member continued to define their own styles and concentrated on domestic interiors, which eventually led them to be called "Intimistes"


Hesiod and the Muse 1891; Oil on canvas,
 59 x 34.5 cm
  , Gustave Moreau
Emile Bernard 

The symbolists were the first artists to be interested in the inner world with the emotions and thoughts instead of the external one. Private symbols are used to reach those inner feelings and to activate them. Dreams and visions mystical experiences, the erotic and the perverse were some of the subjects to create a physiological impact. Women are usually portrayed as either virginal/angelic or sexual/threatening, the symbols to represent death, disease and sin are frequent.

In 1886 in France jean moreas published the first announcement of symbolism in art in addition to poetry.

Young Woman in Kimono Reading, 1887, Emile Bernard

Maurice Denis

Symbolism embraced a wide variety of artists. Emile Bernard, Maurice Denis , Paul serusier , georges Seurat, Paul Gauguin, gustave Moreau...gustave Kahn described symbolism as objectifying the subjective instead of subjectifying the objective, in 1886. Pierre puvis de chavannes' idealist, abstracted attitude was welcomed for for it's neutral aesthetic sense.

Mary Visits Elizabeth. 1894 The Hermitage, St.Petersburg  ,
Maurice Denis

Adam and Eve , Denis
Moreau got the possibility to spread his work and gain popularity later. He introduced his sense with the help of the writer, j.k huysmans putting his paintings in his book. The symbolistic movement was born and labeled in France, yet it paced all over the world becoming international. James ensor for example from Belgium was admired with his work, fantasy, carnival masks, monstrous figures, skeletons.. Norwegian Edward munch on the other hand was another non-French symbolist mirrored generally subjects like, emotional crisis, tragedies, sexuality, disease and death. American Albert Pinkham Ryder took madness, death and alienation being influenced by sheakespeare, Poe, the bible and mythology.
Symbolism lead the way for new waves and combination of different movements. It was in interaction with art nouveau , surrealism, decadent art.

Paul Serusier
Daugters , Paul Serusier

Georges Seurat (1859 – 1891). Bathers at Asnières, 1884,
The Talisman by Paul Sérusier
(see Impressionism, also)

Georges Seurat

Gustave Moreau

Gustave Moreau Salomé 1876
La mort du fossoyeur ("The death of the gravedigger")
byCarlos Schwabe is a visual compendium of symbolist motifs.Death and angels, pristine snow,
and the dramatic poses of the characters all express symbolist longings
for transfiguration "anywhere, out of the world."