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.