These are the artworks that are currently displayed in exhibition as


Artworks 1 to 5 are as follows:

Apologies for the weird layout of the pics, the lack of scale of the paintings and lack of text in places.  The very largest painting is GALAXIES GALORE#2, while STARLET is one of the smaller works and the COSMIC diamond-shaped trio are the smallest, with SUPERNOVA being the tiniest.  The rest are all fairly large works.

Apologies for the multiple Updates – I hope the layout comes through properly now – at least for Desktops.  What it does on mobiles is going to be pot-luck!  I had a lot of trouble loading and arranging these pics – they refused to be moved, deleted themselves or other pics, and finally refused to be named.  This program needs a lot of work to make it more user-friendly.

See my blog Shaped Canvases Open Images: SPACE IN SHAPES to see the theoretical concept underlying these Astonomical works.

Jud House   30/07/2017

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SURREALISM – 1924 ->

This is still practiced today by contemporary artists by replicating real nature to get unrealistic impact.  They aimed to allow the imagination to come forward through work.  It causes the viewer to be active, by sending them in different directions in the same work.

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The Sun Sets Sail – Rob Gonsalves

Artistically, Surrealism is pure psychic automatism through which the real function of thought is expressed.  It is a level of reality which isn’t tangible, but is still real.  Dreams, imaginings, thought processes are real though you can’t touch them.

It promotes the idea of chance painting, automatic drawing, expressing the real function of thought – completely uncontrolled expression of thought, independent of moral or aesthetic limitations.  There are no longer worries about rules, or whether it’s artistic – it is a whole new level of reality, a new plane of artistic existence for the artists – unencumbered by reason.  Cubist, Impressionist, Fauvist and even Neo-Plasticist artists were all heading in this direction – freedom from rules.

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1949(?) – Memory of a Journey – Magritte – 1955

Surrealism is a direct descendant from Dada – grew out of Dada.  They attempted to establish a new approach to art and life – chances didn’t have to be ignored, psychic coincidences, mental states, and dreams were all part of life.  They used the incorrect logic of the mad-man.  Childhood realities were investigated, as were dreams – they also experimented with these things – the unreal sense of the dream landscape.

The Surrealists recognised that  subconscious thought patterns were very real.  Metaphysical levels were investigated – Gods, etc were on different planes – there was a reality beyond the five senses – and different dimensions.  They were aware of SciFi beliefs and metaphysics – the scientific side of SciFi.  There was also Freud’s psychoanalysis of people’s psyche.  (Body language nowadays).  It opened up new realms, new interpretations of new realities, of the inner world and our inner selves.

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House Angel (Triumph of Surrealism) – Max Ernst

Surrealism appears to be the artistic visual interpretation of subconscious – we look at the artist’s imagination, emotions, thought patterns – automatic drawing.  Surrealism could be drug or alcohol induced, but not necessarily.  The Surrealists wanted to shock and broaden the public’s mind.  Fantasy is make believe – Surrealism is very believable, touching on realities.

Influenced by Kandinsky’s loss of image, development of abstraction freed the artist from needing image as Cubism freed them from a 3D image, Dada from specific standards, and Futurists from the sense of immobility.  The artists had all the traditional academic rules broken, and were completely free to work on their art in whatever style they chose, and to use artistic elements in their own way.  The artist dictated the rules.

Surrealism took two avenues – highly Abstract, and Figurative with startling clarity.

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The Disquieting Muse – De Chirico – Geometric comp. with factory landscape

Giorgio De Chirico:  was the founder of Surrealism, was a strong inspiration to Tanguy and Magritte, and produced both Figurative and Abstract Surrealistic works.  He used strong perspective, chiaroscuro modelled gently with values, rigid architecture, unexpected objects clashing to create troubled atmosphere.  Everything within his works was ever so slightly off, with metaphysical interiors symbolising the inner labyrinth of man.  He usually had trains somewhere in his paintings.  After the 1930’s he reverted to academic paintings.

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This is not a pipe – Magritte – The Philosopher’s Lamp

Rene Magritte:  painted Figuratively with conscious procedure, rather than by chance, with juxtaposition of everyday objects – subjects that stir uneasy feelings.  His titles reinforce his message.  He explored words as visual stimuli for paintings, he used words as symbols – “This is not a pipe”.  He used them arbitrarily.

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Indefined Divisibility – Tanguy – Melt

Yves Tanguy:  saw the realities of the intuitive world, Abstract Surrealism. He used traditional means to express feelings of anxiety and unease (traced back to Munch) – Surrealism personified.  It unnerved and attracted the viewer.  he used spectral forms occupying real space – spacial recession with unreal occupants.

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Carnival of Harlequin – Miro – Woman with Birds

Joan Miro:  used a mixture of Abstract, Dada and Surrealism.  He often worked in collage, he simplified shapes to mere curvilinear suggestions – organic and geometric shapes, using bright primary colours and black.  He created spontaneous works with the brush leading the hand instead of the other way around.  He appreciated the philosophy of the Surrealists, while creating works that were very simple, naive, and sincere.

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Melting Watch – Dali

Salvador Dali:  was an ideal Surrealist – his whole lifestyle was Surreal.  He produced sets for theatres, movies, a 3D Art Room, paintings – he took Surrealism into everything, and was interested in Cubism, Futurism and Metaphysics.  His early works were traditional and skillful, realistic techniques, replicating nature – works relating to the natural world.  He began working with elements of form to create works that were startling. He was influenced by Leonardo, producing works from clouds, etc.  He produced a visual association between unrelated objects.  He was considered a Figurative Surrealist.  Some of his shapes transmute from the real to the unreal, he creates frenzied patterns or minute correct detail, with an ideal sense of space.  he was an excellent draftsman, and showmanship was part of his art.

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Galatea of the spheres – Dali – 1952

NB:  If you choose to quote from this blog please cite its URL in your Bibliography.

Jud House  5/10/2016

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Post World War I:

Neo-Plasticism:  De Stijl (The Style) –  Mondrian
Suprematism:  Russian – Malevich
Constructivism:  Maun Gabo, Antoine Pevsner

Formal Art is the production of art in technique and skill rather than as an expressive message, with interest in the formal rather than the personal, religious, or symbolic context.  Formal Art was seen in ancient times, through Greek, Roman, Medieval times using symbols (halo, blue robe, etc) to make it understood by the illiterate viewers.  In Oriental works, art was used for ideology (third eye, many arms, blue face, etc), which created symbolic laws of art.  Formal Art manifests itself as theoretical, tending to be well pre-planned, and well thought out. It’s very objective in its approach to subject matter – it’s more between the artist and his thoughts than to do with the actual subject.  In Visual Art, Classic means classical Greek – well thought out, very proper and correct.  20th Century classic art emboied perfection of aesthetic – that is producing Image as an ideal.

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Evening; Red Tree – Mondrian

FORMAL ABSTRACTION may appear very precise, impersonal, hard edged, non-figurative, often geometric, but mostly devoid of other aesthetics. The artist abbreviates the content, and depends on the control of the elements of form.  The art should be viewed for colour, line, and shape in relationship with the world.  The artists were concerned with actual structure, more than with impact.  This can be traced back to Cezanne, and to Analytical and Synthetic Cubism.

Neo-Plasticism 1912 – De Stijl (The Style)

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Gray Tree – Mondrian – 1911

Piet Mondrian: wanted to produce a new type of beauty.  War was reflected in most art of that time.  He wanted to produce a beauty independent of emotion, that was universal, with no subject matter.  Beauty of the intellect with no individuality.  He was influenced by things beyond the art world.  He came from a Calvanist tradition of simplicity and austerity.  He used economy of line, geometry of laying out towns, dykes, and roads. Very puritanical, austere, and strict, Calvanism shows in the art of the Protestant revolution in their revolt against the opulence of the Catholic church.

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The Apple Tree – Mondrian

So Calvanism had an affect on Mondrian’s art – other influences being a philosophy called Theosophy which dealt with metaphysics and mysticism, and into the nature of God.  The artistic influences were Cubism and the Divisionalism of Seurat, with their new theories of colour, line, ambiguous space, and no subject matter – their independence of art and its elements.  Mondrian used art to communicate with God.

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Pier and Ocean – Mondrian – Composition 1916

He was free as an artist to search for purity in art, regularity of nature in art (e.g. seasons), and for the essence of the relationships of elements (e.g. the meeting of horizontal and vertical lines, and of simple primary colours.)  He created harmony, intensity, and precision by total equilibrium – he wanted to restore balance to a suffering world.  He wanted to create a universal art form to exist for and by itself – to transcend all social, political, and religious boundaries.  The German Expressionists and Cubists were working at this time, and Mondrian felt that they led art astray, and he wanted to bring it back to purity, to a universal aesthetic.  He wrote a magazine on De Stijl, and his designs were used in the Baahaus, and in clothing, architecture and flooring.

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Line over Form – Modrian

Suprematism 1915 – Russia

A couple of years prior to the Russian Revolution chaos ruled the country, with the rural sector sending food to the black market, and with an incompetent government.  Russian art was affected by this turmoil.

Kasimir Malevich was an active revolutionary, whose art was a derivation of Gris’ Cubism.  He concentrated on geometric shapes – triangles, circles, and rectangles.  He was aware of Kandinsky’s work, the German Expressionists and the Parisian art of the time.  Malevich and Vladimir Tatlin sought supreme priority of form – a visual mantra, for visual meditation.  They used a theoretical and technical approach to make it formal going back to basics, removing all superfluous elements, eliminating, and abbreviating.  The result was dynamic art that suggested space and movement, with spacial references created by scale and position, and the movement by diagonal lines.  It was non-figurative abstraction about movement.  Reality in art was the sensational affect of colour – cool white on warm white as a pure abstraction.  Art aiming at non-objectivity by eliminating emotions.

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 Suprematist Composition  1916 – Malevich – White on White  1918

Constructivism – from Suprematism

Vladimir Tatlin didn’t like the idea of producing art outside of life.  He wanted a more functional purpose for art, rather than mere aesthetics.  he wanted to produced useful constructions that had a purpose.  Naum Gabo and Antoine Pevsner disagreed with the ideals of Suprematism having individual value – art should be for the government and society.  they wrote a manifesto – and their art grew out of Cubist collages, into the assemblage of 3D works, which added to the ideas of interest in space, the concept of time and maths analysis.

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Counter Relief 1914-15 – Tatlin – Monument to the Third International 1919-20

They wanted art to reflect time and space, which they considered essential factors of life.  So they applied industrial engineering and maths concepts to create non-figurative art works from modern materials – nylons, plastics; works with voids giving interior volume of space, which in sculpture was part of the form.  They drew on man-made machines rather than nature as their source, turning to Science rather than intuition.  They had non-emotional concepts as their base – emotions only resulted in wars.  They wanted to reflect the character of industrial society – Socialist Art, for the people.

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Linear Construction in Space No. 3 with Red – Gabo;
Projection in Space – Pevsner

NB: If you choose to quote from this blog please cite its URL in your Bibliography.

(C) Jud House  22/09/2016

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Cubist art approached visual reality from a revolutionary track, defying the accepted norms of society of how works should be presented.  There were five revolutionary ways in which Cubism was presented.

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Mediterranean Landscape – Picasso;     Musical Instruments – Braque

  1.  It sought a new pictorial experience – not repeating constant flux of artistic tradition but relying on personal reconstructions of what the artist thought was real – not based on tradition, but on insights and instincts.
  2. It dissected the volume of its subjects – its volumetric form.
  3. It simplified pictorial space – with no perspective or space – no illusion to spacial depth, with the flatness of the picture plane.
  4. It approached, examined and experimented with construction of 3D images on 2D picture planes.
  5. It discovered the essence of reality of volume in space and represented it without distortion – Simultaneity.

The Cubists tried to rewrite the rule, in particular the old problem of a 3D image on a 2D picture plane.  The Egyptians had solved the problem of depicting the whole of the subject by showing the eyes front on in a profile. They maintained the flatness of the picture plane surface while implying volume within the subject matter.

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Portait de Femme – Braque;     Picasso – Woman Blue Hat

Pablo Picasso and George Braque based their works on Cezanne’s ideas, deciding to convert the cubic volume into planes to create a whole new pictorial reality.  Cubism rejected the emotional way of representation – they wanted to reconstruct as a formal style of art, which could be expressive as well.  they worked side by side pushing the ideas along – analysing the picture plane and turning the volume into planes.  Picasso and Braque were the co-originators of Cubism, although there were no theories or manifestos written about it until this was done late by critics.

There were other developments during the developement of Cubism – Xrays, microscopes, aircrafts, Freud, etc.  These changes were reflected in art.  There were no specific rules, but many styles of Cubism – Formal, Expressive, Interpretive.  Cubism liberated the artists completely, from medium, form, content, and subject, e.g. sculpture of BULL’S HEAD.

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Head of a Woman (First Cubist Sculpture) – Picasso – Bull’s Head

The Cubists made constructive sculpture of odd materials.  Shapes also were no longer completely descriptive – not the underlying shapes – they could be avoided if the artist chose.  They didn’t have to use symbolic meanings.  The content was altered, with no need for  a message, e.g. happy or sad.  Also with the subject matter – there was no need to paint things as they were.  This released artists from the need to imitate nature, while their art still related to life and nature.

Cubism was one of the greatest revolutionary contributions in artistic space since the 15th Century.  The concept of looking into the canvas was changed to looking onto the canvas – it broke the ‘window of the world’ – giving no spacial depth while suggesting volume and depth in a different way.  They used the idea of ambiguous space by overlapping, with colours advancing and receding, and of an arbitrary nature.

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Man on a Balcony – Albert Gliezes 1912; Portrait of Picasso – Gris 1912

1.  Proto-Cubism – Cezanneism  1907 – 1910
2.  Analytical Cubism –  1910 – 1912
3.  Synthetic Cubism –  1912 – 1914

  1. Proto-Cubism:  Depth through slabs of colour, using planes – addressed volume as planes – each plane had a value – could create ambiguous spacial references – cool colour planes receded, warm colour planes advanced.  Each composition had various value planes.  It freed images from representational state – used transparent overlappings, threw away some of the planes, and emphasized patterns.
  2. Analytical Cubism:   was overlapping of transparent colours, removing colours, discarding concern for the subject matter – pattern-making with emphasis on ambiguous space.  Pictures became monochromatic to create whole new visual – they reshuffled the planes.
  3. Synthetic Cubism:  They recomposed planes of volume into whole new picture images.  They made collages, geometric shapes that became organic images.  They used mixed media which involved building depth up on the canvas, with the interest in its visual image rather than its subject matter.  It had no relationship to reality, but to ideas.

Pablo Picasso      Individual characteristics.
George Braque    Revolutionary characteristics.
Juan Gris             Pictorial analytical style.
Fernand Leger
(Robert Delauney)

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Guernica – Picasso

Pablo Picasso realised what Cezanne was doing, and understood the theories he wrote about, and followed them through in a revolutionary way.  He searched for different ways to arrange the elements of the subject on the picture plane.  He was faithful to what he was doing – was   a leader, an innovator.  He was more than a Cubist painter – he did lithographs, sculpture, drawings, constructions – moving from on to the other freely, intuitively, working on them simultaneously at times.

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The Musician’s Table – Braque 1913

George Braque worked in tandem with Picasso.  His work was Fauvish initially, he created subtle relationships in his paintings, colour to pattern to texture.  He worked in the synthetic stage, reconstructive work in a lyrical style.  He showed the ideology of respect for the surface of the painting, reflected good design sense, and a flattening of space.  He used simultaneity, harmonious colours, motif making.  He developed Cubism to a high degree. He also worked in stained glass, art designed jewellery, and lithographs.

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Clock and Bottle – Gris

Juan Gris was usually colourful, aimed to create objects not found in nature, composed with abstractions – started with colours suggesting the subject to him.  He worked with abstractions of colour and shapes – collages.  He advanced on to Synthetic Cubism (intuitive creativity) then on to Surrealism.

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Soldiers Playing Cards – Leger

Fernand Leger had machine precision evident in his work, and also factories.  He produced art that celebrated modern urban life, with which he showed dissatisfaction later, with his figures becoming robot-like, de-humanised.  He experimented with film, designed sets, did series paintings (builders, constructions, bicycle riders, machinery), mosaics, murals, stained glass, ceramic structures, and he extended 2D art into different media.  He created stability and movement together by interlocking planes of volume together.  He disassociated colours to shapes and outlines.  His works were puzzle-like – disassociating on element of art from another.

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Simultaneous Windows on the City 1912 – Delauney – Orphism

Robert Delauney was lyrical, vital, sensual with his use of colour, with an interest in the music/colour relationship like Kandinsky.  He eliminated the reference to subject, to volume, bringing in light and rhythm by use of colour.  Along with Kandinsky, he was a pioneer of Non-Figurative art. With his wife Sonia, he co-founded the ORPHISM art movement, with colour forces, and abstractions with rhythmic circles and discs, thus breaking the rigidity of Cubism.

NB: I you choose to quote from this blog please cite its URL in your Bibliography.

(C) Jud House  18/09/2016

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The German Expressionists broke up into two groups – The Blue Rider, and The Bridge – which was pre-World War I, though some continued on between the Wars.

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Autumn Study in Oberau – Kandinsky

THE BLUE RIDER – Munich – 1911 – 1914

This was the Abstract group – non-figurative, non-object, non-representational works – with Modernism as its doctrine.  They were not looking at optical reality (like the Impressionists), or at a structural or symbolic reality (like the Post-Impressionists), but were highly interested in colour (like the Fauves).  But here their pursuit of the abstract was through looking for their inner spiritual vision.  They brought about a whole new system of approaching art – one which showed their Germanism.  A philosopher, Hermann Obrist, explained the psychic affects and the power of abstract forms and colour, and followed it through with their affects on people.  Also this was the time of Einstein’s theories, and other scientific discoveries, which also had an affect on the artists.

Some members of the Blue Rider were Kandinsky, Klee, Marc, and Von Jawlensky.  They declared an independence from all boundaries, in order to create an imaginary artistic arena, with a whole new artistic language.  An inner vision onto canvas without relating to nature.  They created a new tradition, made up new rules, pure abstraction as an escape, with art relating to form – not to the real world or nature.

They were influenced by Impressionism, music, folk art, colour, and Medieval icons.  They were aware of cubic ideas of picture space, with the many influences of old, new and contemporary art.  Their works were highly colourful, and they played with colour and its link to music.

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Blue Mountains – Kandinsky – Composition VIII

Wassily Kandinsky, one of the greatest abstract expressionists, was the discoverer of non-figurative abstraction.  He progressed from very real landscapes, to Fauvism, to figurative improvisations (BLUE MOUNTAINS), to non-representative abstraction, and non-geometric abstraction.  He worked with a furious use of line, and a vehement use of colour.  He wrote a detailed theory of colour as it was related to music.

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Tale a la Hoffmann – Klee – Early and Late Years 1894-1940

Paul Klee, who taught at the Baahaus, created works of perspective fantasies, and allegories, with a sense of underlying geometry – very childlike innocent works, joyful, trusting, simplistic, harmonious, spiritual.  He worked in many media – pencil, oil, etching, water colour, gouache, brush and pen, both painting and drawing.  He was influenced by Abstract Expressionists, German Expressionists, Dadaists, and Surrealists.

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Blue Horse – Marc – Pigs

Franz Marc made a symbolic use of animals in his works, also looking at his works through a prism, and painting the resultant break-up of the colours.  He was more in tune with nature than with man.  His gentle and emotional abstractions reflected man, God and nature.  He was affected by Van Gogh’s work, and use of swirling colour.  Nature could be used for expressing his soul, and that symbolic use of colour could further his aim.  His parcels of colour never decorate, and were not arbitrary, but based on a symbolic code – blue is the male principle, severe and spiritual; yellow is the female principle, gentle, cheerful and sensual; and red is matter, brutal and heavy.  This relates to how colour affects us emotionally.

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Portrait of Andreas – Von Jawlensky – Mystical Head

Alexi Von Jawlensky never got into total abstract expressionism.  He began to summarise his paintings – Schematizations.  He was influenced by the Fauves, but reduced images and faces – removing the details.  He was not a ‘member’ of the Blue Rider group.

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Summer in Davos – Kirchner

THE BRIDGE – Dresden – 1906-1913

This was the Figurative group – they wanted to bridge the ideas from the past to the future.  They were very proud of the German origin of their art.  They established a new aesthetic, linking past to present, learning from great artists, transposing from the past to modern media.  They linked academic heritage and traditions to modern art.  They ignored the fact that introspective realism didn’t exist in Medieval art due to a lack of understanding of perspective in those times.  They actually created new symbols in art – a new style.

They were founded by Ernst Kirchner, Emil Nolde and Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, who were influenced by Oriental and primitive art, Van Gogh, Gauguin, and colour in African art.  They looked for symbolic content, expressed personal ideas, also influenced by the Fauves and Impressionists, by Ensor and Munch.  But they wanted to remove the French influence and Cubism from their art – to extol the German in their art.  [I feel that they reflected the mood of their country at that time.]

But these influences show in their work – we can see the expressive use of colour and broad flat areas of colour, distortions, unreal perspective.  The Bridge artists knew how to do these things correctly, but they wanted freedom of expression, with no fixed rules.  It was a paradox.  They bridged everything going on in art throughout Europe.  They liked the idea of symbolism, and were interested in human rather than artistic ideas.  They were social critics showing moralistic reality, by the use of evocative and emotional themes.  They were influenced by the writings of Nietzsche – of the superman or woman with the doctrine of ruthless will to power.

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Female Artist – Kirchner – Street Scene

Ernst Kirchner was the founder of Figurative Expressionism called The Bridge.  He was an architectural student, interested in Graphic Art.  he did many woodblocks.  In his paintings he used the Fauves colour, more in an unreal manner rather than for mood.  He searched for underlying values in what he painted in subject matter.  He used arbitrary colour to get beyond the identification of subject.  He was interested in primitive carvings, Japanese prints, and Medieval stained glass windows.  There is a sense of agitation in his works, angularity of lines, to show the stress in industrial society – a passing of old traditions and morality, an approach to war.  The agitation and violence of his art reflects his era.

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The Burial (oil) – Nolde – Lake Lucerne (watercolour)

Emil Nolde was looking for something under the surface – sought emotional reality behind appearances – bridging the soul of man to life. His works appear to be very violent, with distorted forms, clashing colours, and textural in his oils.  In his watercolours he used mild peaceful themes – reflecting Matisse and Ensor.  He had an instinct for colour.

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Cats (woodcut) – Schmidt-Rottluff – Corner of a Park

Karl Schmidt-Rottluff used simple angular forms, lines, similar to primitive art, with a bold use of colour.  He had a brutal style of line in his woodcuts, and his paintings showed a bold use of primary colours.

NB:  If you choose to quote from this blog please cite its URL in your Bibliogrpahy.

Jud House  16/09/2016

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James Ensor,   Edvard Munch

The idea of individuality in art, brought on by Matisse saying that an artist is responsible for his own feelings and expressing them according to his own rules, together with the influence of Van Gogh and Gauguin, the recognition at the time of the breakdown in social traditions, and the approach of war, caused a strong move towards Expressionism in art in Europe.  In Expressionism its hard to separate art from life, because good art always reflects life.

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The Intrigue – Ensor 1890

Ensor was Belgian – his early works were Impressionistic, with his use of colour and brushstrokes, surface texture, and optical considerations.  His subject matter was grotesque and macabre, yet drawn in happy colours.  This tricks the viewer, who is shocked to find skeletons and skulls in his compositions.  This relates back to the moralisers of the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries – like Bosch and Broegel.  Ensor was also a moraliser, suggesting society was a facade over a rotting core.

Munch gave us a personal view based on his unstable life.  He was a critic of modern morality, many of his works depicted negative emotions, and seemed to be extremely violent despite being very controlled.  He took an idea then worked it in different media.

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The Scream  –  Munch  –  Despair

He used very swirling, expressive lines, distorted his images, and employed clashing colours.  He had a cold and harsh palette.  His purpose was to demonstrate moods – anger, jealousy, fear, love, silence, anxiety.   His drawings, lithographs, woodcuts, and paintings all followed this idea.

With these precursors of German Expressionism, James Ensor and Edvard Munch, we see Expressionists who tried to record through non-traditional means their reactions to the world situations.  Ensor and Munch tried to express the negative side of life – corruption, decay, unhappiness, jealousy, etc.

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The Three Judges – Rouault

Georges Rouault bridged the gap between German and French Expressionism.  He combined subject matter and colour to give us depressing images in light-weight colour.  He was not making subtle innuendos, but comments on religious hypocrisy, the judicial system of his era, the lack of morality – he painted a series on prostitutes, judges and Christ.  His techniques was quite heavy, strong outlines, bold brushstrokes, with light-weight washes, and with shocking imagery.  He was himself – not in any category.

There was a definite sense of artistic freedom, sensitivity, and revolutionary purpose in art in the 20th century, with stronger, more obvious, social commentary.  This can be attributed to the Precursors of German Expressionism – James Ensor and Edvard Munch – and also to Georges Rouault.

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Cirque de l’etoile filante – Rouault

All art is political in that it represents the dominant ideologies of culture.  When art criticizes that ideology it becomes revolutionary – it times are ugly or confused, so the artwork of that time will appear to be ugly or confused.

See Expressionists – Max Beckman, George Greosz, and Kathe Kollwitz.

NB:  If you choose to quote from this blog please cite its URL in your Bibliography.

Jud House   15/09/2016

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FAUVES 1905 – 1908

Henri Matisse;  Andre Derain;  Maurice De Vlaminck

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The Music – Matisse

While there was the liberation of colour by the Post-Impressionists – Formally by Cezanne and Seurat, Expressively and with symbolic meaning by Van Gogh and GauguinMatisse, Derain and De Vlaminck exhibited works wild with colour.  As a result of an intended insult, a new movement was created called ‘Les Fauves’.  These artists were bound by no rules, discarding all academic rules, both French and British.  They painted how they wanted, using colour emotively, expressively – this was derided at their exhibition.

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Collioure Le Port de Peche – Derain;        Chatou Bridge – De Vlaminck

The whole purpose of painting was light, colour and patternmaking – using brilliant colour, simplified design, correct use line in pattern-making.  Matisse was their undisputed leader.  He believed ‘today’s beauty is today’s beauty – not past or future’, following readings of Beaudelaire.  Colour used, free of traditional purpose, for the sole purpose of painting.


  1.  Use of colour for its own sake, as a viable end in art.
  2.  Rich surface texture, with awareness of the paint.
  3. Spontaneity – lines drawn on canvas, and suggested by texture of paint.
  4. Use of clashing (primary) colours, playing with values and intensities.
  5. Varied subject matter – picking out elements of genre scenes, landscapes, inside studios, etc.
  6. The colour and the object painted was the real subject, whether still life, landscape, etc.

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l’Estaque – Derain;                            Tugboat – De Vlaminck

Both Derain and De Vlaminck painted reactions to their subjects in pure colour, using powerful brushstrokes, and high keys.  Derain used short brushstrokes, while De Vlaminck used longer swirling strokes.

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The Dance – Matisse

Henri Matisse worked in many media – oils, stained glass, sculpture, collages.  His tended to be very happy works, based on his feelings, with no narrative or message.  He distorted perspective and ignored conventions to create a total design.  In THE DANCE, he moved away from the fact that there were figures, and rather tried to convey the joy, music and movement of the four dancers, placed on an arbitrary picture plane.  “The whole arrangement of my painting is expressive.”

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Egyptian Curtain – Matisse

He was influenced by African, Polynesian, Central and Southern American, and primitive art, and the designs that came from their textiles, their masks, and their interest in texture.  He felt that the artistic treatment was more important than the representation of nature.  His preference was for thickly applied primary colours, and the use of colour to convey emotion.

The Fauves were involved with getting in touch with an emotional reality in their art, seeing themselves as humans, as emotional beings, and expressing that through their art.  By 1908 the Fauves disbanded as a group, due to their individual development.

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London Bridge 1906 – Derain

Derain returned to a more traditional style of painting, taming his Fauvism, with his colours more subdued, with less obvious brushwork. Matisse continued along Fauves ideas of freedom of expression and colour, retaining his unique style.  He was criticized that he distorted too much in his figure-work – he replied “This is not a woman, this is a painting.”

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Purple Robe and Anemones 1937 – Matisse

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(C) Jud House  14/09/2016

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