ART 234 Lecture Notes - Lecture 8: Fauvism, Kazimir Malevich, Wassily Kandinsky

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3 Oct 2016
Department
Course
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Non-Objective Art in Russia
Tuesday, September 27
Kandinsky and Non Objective Art in Russia
Characteristics
-Russian avant guard art was put away for safe keeping during Stalin soviet art era
-the revolution was about people looking for a change in society, the Russian
revolution is tied to this type of art
-so much of advanced art was in Russia before the war and during the war (lots of
early 20th century art, such as Picasso’s and Matisse, and van Gogh and other
western art were being collected here)
-the notion of the Russian soul
if you read Russian literature the sense is that the Russians had been under
incredible physical restraints (repressive leaders for most of their history) but for all
of this the Russians are gong to survive, not for the physical world but the spirit
world, runs very deep in Russian sensibility
Sassily Kandinsky 1866-1944
-responsible for making some of the first non-objective art
-as a young man he had extensive university studies in Moscow and held degrees in
law, music (abstract medium), ethnology which deals with folk art and folk traditions,
all things are component parts in his art
-decided to go west and do art in 1905-07, goes to paris and sees those first fauvist
expositions
-1908-15 he goes to Germany where he gathered with several friends and made a
group called the blue rider (his favorite color was blue and his friends favorite animal
was the horse)
-theosophy: a religion he was a member of as well as many artists, conceived of a
future almost like a second coming, the world would end and beyond that would be a
world filled with colors and vaporous mysterious forms
-given credit for first non objective art
!1
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Non-Objective Art in Russia
Russian Beauty in the Landscape 1906
-his early works are characterized by folk tales
-a folk art tendency
-the style is a pointillist style, created this visionary moment by
pointillist technique
Blue Mountain 1908-1909
-here he puts warm and cool colors next to
each other (creates optical vibration)
-collage like cut out to it, sets object cross
each other on the surface
-pointillist qualities suggest this is not reality
we are looking at
-more abstract, the forms are simpler and the
colors are brighter
-more abstract than matisse
-the subject (horsemen in a landscape)
suggests something that is mysterious and
fantasy
-they could be the 4 horsemen of the apocalypse (a lot of talk during this time of an
unsettled Europe) shows he is thinking about these apocalyptic messages
Landscape with Tower 1909
-more abstract than Duran’s westminster
bridge
-the clouds are as solid as the trees and
vaporous as the air
-tower is no more mass than the air & clouds
around it
-broken uniform brushwork seems to
communicate something that is other worldly,
more spiritual
!2
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Non-Objective Art in Russia
The Cow 1910
-spotted swiss cow
-enforces theosophy ideas
-can make out the girl milking the cow and the cow
head and cow horns and body and tail
-right on the border of something recognizable
Improvisation #30, 1913
-he does a ton of works titled improvisations
-the title comes from music, trying to liken the
work to the most abstract of art mediums,
music
-looks almost totally abstract but we see there
are things represented in very simplified
fashion
-you can see canons with wheels
-collapsing people and architecture
-smoking clouds
-the content is what the spectator lives and
feels under the formation of color
Composition #3, 1914 & Fragment 2 from
Composition #7, 1913
-breaks down the things
-something weightier is at the bottom of the composition is
meaningless
-to talk about foreground and background is meaningless
-you separate line from color
-move a long way away from representational painting
!3
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