Wassily Kandinsky

Kandinsky

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Pablo Journal

The Louvre Test

Entertaining · Amusing · Interesting. And Free.

1998 · Year 1 · No. 8 · Nov.19

ISSN1437-1367

All Abstract

Ellsworth Kelly

Kelly

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See also the other journals:
Daily Drawing 1.42
Art Journal 1.9
Creative Journal 1.9
Marketing Musings 
on Art 1.9
605-7 · Here I Am
Chagall · Cattle Dealer
Study on the Main Theme 
Puzzling Experiences
With Help from Friends

   

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Dedication

After World War II, Picasso was asked to donate some works to French museums. As a compensation, he was granted a confrontation of some of his paintings to works of his colleagues in the Louvre, on a day closed to the public. Only very few persons were present. In a kind of ceremony, his works were hung side by side with other works of his choice. Rarely did someone speak. Afterwards, Picasso is to have said: "C'est la même chose!", i.e. it's the same thing: He and the other masters were doing the same, despite of different styles and attitudes.

Hence this Journal is dedicated in humble reverence to
Pablo Picasso.

   

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Preface

This series is not intended to be a university course. I am not an art scholar, I am just a painter and art lover only. As lover I will approach one of the works of art the heritage of all mankind has left us, one by one, week after week, as long as I can. I will keep my investigation personal and simple, meant to open your eyes to see for yourself. Words can be used as a means to that end, but it is rather the space between the words that does the work. A great master of the art of appreciation of art, Kurt Rossacher of Vienna, demanded to see with nose first, eyes, tongue, heart, and only at last with the brain.

Your appreciation will give me the power and strength to endure. It is for you and all the great masters that I do this work, and I hope you will enjoy it. So don't hesitate to send me your feedback in order to help me with that goal! This kind of journal is new to the net, so please tell me if the size is ok (images are great, but big!).

As I am writing in a foreign language, I am not sure to express myself correctly, but I hope you will be able to guess what I mean any time.

Also, I invite you to join in my effort. Send me your articles and comments to be published in this journal.

Yours truly,
Signature Dr. Werner Stürenburg, Germany

   

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Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944)
In The Blue · 1925

Ellsworth Kelly (1923-)
Red Curve VI · 1982

Kandinsky

Kelly

   
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Location Size Scan

Kunsts. NRW, Duesseldorf

80*110cm 31x43"

publisher

Today I introduce abstract painting for the first time in this series. As always, be sure to imagine the size of the original, which is especially important in this pairing.

Kandinsky's painting is middle sized. If you have a decent living room, this painting would look very nice over your sofa.

Much in contrast, Kelly's painting would certainly be oversized. Its area is nearly 8 times greater! If you aren't really rich, chances are you won't have a wall to hang this painting at all.

When Kandinsky painted his picture, this size probably was quite large for the time. Europe still suffered from World War I, especially Germany, where Kandinsky lived again after leaving the communist revolution quite fast like many others, Chagall for example.

Kandinsky is Russian, lawyer by training, well off and well educated from his youth. He started a career in the academic world, but decided otherwise later.

He was born early and wealthy enough to experience the Impressionists as a revolution. After having seen them in Paris and St. Petersburg, he wanted to become a painter.

At the turn of the century, Kandinsky moved to Munich to study painting. Those days, Munich was an artistic center much like Paris later and New York today.

   

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One of his teachers in Munich was Franz von Stuck, Master of Art Nouveau, featured in the last issue, Pablo 1.7.

His first paintings were figurative, of course, and influenced by Russian folklore. At the age of 45, around 1910, he arrived at abstraction.

Kandinsky wasn't the only one to paint abstract at the time, as became apparent later. This development seems to have been necessary for mankind to experience.

(But then again: Stone Age people have produced lots of abstract items and signs already, most still not deciphered to this day.)

Surely Kandinsky is the most famous of the early abstract painters. He was influenced by music and wanted to show emotions without regression to objects, like music does.

During all his life, Kandinsky worked out theories and published his propagation of abstract painting as early as 1912 (the title "Über das Geistige in der Kunst" is hard to translate: "About the Mental in Art"). The work shown here is only one example of his many styles developed within the abstract realm.

Location Size Scan
Private Collection

189*357cm 74x141"

publisher

This reproduction looks like a conventional rectangular painting with a yellow background and a red triangular shape. Right? Wrong!

Well, this is a misinterpretation induced by the drastic reduction in size (remember, this painting is very large) and by the low quality photographic technique. If you saw the original you wouldn't be mistaken for a second.

This type of painting has been labeled sculpture, too. The painting is not framed and has a relatively thick base. Therefore it could be considered three dimensional as well.

But the most important fact is: The yellow background of our reproduction does not belong to the painting. The red shape is the painting. The yellow background is the wall this painting hangs to.

   

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You perceive this naturally when you see the original, but it is almost impossible with this reproduction. Also, it is almost impossible to imagine the impact of the original given by its shere overwhelming size alone.

Kelly is famous for his unconventional shaped canvases. He invented all kinds of queer forms and used many colors simultaneously at times, but mostly without any painterly modulation.

This example does not show any other color than red and no shading or modulation at all. The style itself has been labeled "Hard Edge" and was a very important American style in the 60ies supported by many other artists.

Once the dynamics of abstraction was started by Kandinsky and others, all possibilities had to be investigated. This adventure has not come to an end yet after nearly 90 years. Abstraction is still alive and may be labeled the style of this century.

Of course, sticking labels to centuries doesn't make much sense. This century has seen so many styles for one and abstraction in itself has split into so many directions in addition, not much is said if something is called abstract.

Kelly has developed his art during all his life. Like Kandinsky, he didn't start with this type of painting and he developed many different directions within his niche. After all, he is an artist and wouldn't be happy copying himself. When this particular painting was created, Kelly was 59 years old, exactly the same age as Kandinsky, when he created our painting "In The Blue".

Kelly studied initially in New England and moved to Paris in 1948, the year I was born. There he was influenced by Hans Arp and Victor Vasarely, the latter having achieved quite some popularity in the 70ies and 80ies.

   

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He returned to America in 1954 and must be considered a genuine American artist. Artists like Kelly have contributed to the shift art has made from Europe to the US, making New York the new metropolis of the western world, leaving Paris behind.

  

   

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Time to close this issue, time to remind you of the November contest at ArtQuest®. If you haven't done yet, surf over to ArtQuest and sign up for the draw end of November!

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I made a new screensaver with funny script screens in the vein of Niki de St.Phalle to celebrate the new start of Monday Magazine. Try it if you're on Win! Included is a comment on the new Art Editor of Monday Magazine (this screen can also be seen here). New this week a saver with interspersed biz rhymes, rhymes by Bud Dauphin.

All the best 'til next time. Yours truly,
Signature Dr. Werner Stürenburg, Germany

PS:
If you have enjoyed this issue, please support my efforts and recommend it to a friend. For your convenience, I prepared both a mailto: link at the top and a Recommend-It button at the bottom.

   

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Last week

Next week

Bronzino
Allegory

 

Stuck
Sensuality


Lust And Sin

Egyptian Grave Painting
Harachte and Hathor

 

Greek Vase Painting
Achilles Bandages Patroklos


Roots Of Our Civilisation

   

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