Art of the 20th Century



A Revolution in the Arts

 



Art Styles in 20th century Art Map

 


 

The Great Avant-garde Movements


 

 


Rayonism
-
1912

Mikhail Larionov


Cubo-Futurism
-
1913


Constructivism
-
1913

Vladimir Tatlin
Alexander Rodchenko
Lyubov Popova
El Lissitzky
Naum Gabo
Antoine Pevsner


Universal Flowering
- 1913

Pavel Filonov

Artists Groups 1913-1914
Neo-primitivism. Russian movement, 1913
Synchromism - Style of painting, 1913
London Group - English exhibiting society, 1913
Rebel Art Centre - group of British artists, 1914


Vorticism
- 1914

Wyndham Lewis
Edward Wadsworth
David Bomberg
William Roberts
Henri Gaudier-Brzeska
Christopher Nevinson

Artists Groups 1914-1915
Activists - Hungarian artistic group, 1914
Cumberland Market Group - British group of painters, 1914
Nikakai - Society of  Japanese artists, 1914
Grass and Earth Society - Japanese group, 1915
Ready-made -
term applied from 1915
Amsterdam school - 1915


Suprematism
[Rus.: Suprematizm]
- 1915

Kasimir Malevich

Artists Groups 1916
Society of Independent Artists - Group of artists, New York, 1916
De Sphinx - Dutch artists’ society founded in Leiden on 31 May 1916
MA group - Hungarian group of artists and writers, 1916

 
 
 


Early Russian Avant-garde Movements
 

During the first two decades of the 20th century. Cubism and Futurism were adopted and developed by Russian artists who. except for those living outside Russia, had not previously been involved in the European avant-garde movements. From 1905 until the outbreak of World War I and, subsequently, from the time of the October Revolution until the mid-1920s, three important initiatives were launched in succession: Rayonism, Suprematism, and Constructivism. Founded on intellectual discipline and geometry, these modes entailed original theoretical and pictorial developments, along the lines of Abstractionism. Although aware of its legacy in painting and literature, young Russian artists felt burdened by the cultural tradition of realism and rejected it in favour of the new developments in France. They were mesmerized by the collections of Post-Impressionist works by Cezanne, Matisse, and Picasso, which were brought to Russia by wealthy merchants such as Shchukin and Morozov. who allowed public viewings.

Russian artists also admired Italian Futurism, avidly reading translations of the manifestos and attending Marinetti's lectures, held in Moscow from 1910 onwards. The Golden Fleece exhibitions of 1908 and 1909 included works by Natalia Goncharova and Mikhail Larionov (1882-1964) that recalled national tradition in robust primitivist scenes. In 1912. however, work presented at the so-called "Donkey's Tail" exhibition showed that these two artists had already started to embark upon a modernization of Russian painting. Although independent and critical of Western culture, these painters set great store by the Cubo-Futurists' experiments in the use of colour, dynamism of line, and the liberation of art from naturalistic representation.

In his "Manifesto of Rayonism" (published in April 1912 and revised in 1913 for the Target exhibition in Moscow), Larionov defined his new artistic theories as "a synthesis of Cubism, Futurism, and Orphism". Rayonism is said to have drawn its inspiration and name from the scientific discoveries of radioactivity and ultraviolet rays, which revealed the sum of rays derived from an object and the dynamic and simultaneous transmission of light. The movement was promoted in Western Europe throughout 1913 and 1914, and was taken up zealously in Rome during 1917, but failed to survive the upheavals of war. Its main protagonist, Larionov, moved to France to concentrate on stage designs for the Ballets Russes.

The works shown by Kasimir Malevich (1878-1935) at "0.10. The Last Futurist Exhibition", held in St Petersburg in 1915, represented an important move towards nonrepresentational art. He had sought to "liberate art from the dead-weight of objectivity" in 1913 by painting a single black square on a white ground, the sole content of which was "the sensitivity of nonobjectivity". The aim of this new movement, which Malevich named Suprematism, was to express the absolute supremacy of sensitivity in the creative arts. The goals of his manifesto, produced in collaboration with the poet Maiakovsky, were to liberate painting from the shackles of naturalistic or symbolic references; to divest it of any practical purpose; and to ensure that it existed only as pure aesthetic sensibility. This involved the composition of elementary geometric shapes, usually squares, which were initially painted black, but were later produced in several colours. The quest for purity and immateriality of form reached its logical conclusion in 1918 with a white square on a white ground. Vladimir Tatlin (1885-1953) exhibited at the St Petersburg shows held in 1915 and was a pupil of Larionov. His work evolved from the Neo-Primitive style towards more abstract compositions. His stormy friendship with Malevich ended when theoretical disagreements arose between them in 1917. Malevich continued to reject any connection between the "pure plastic sensibility' of art and the problems of practical life, whereas the Constructivists, led by Tatlin, held that art had to abandon individual aesthetic stances if it was to help emancipate modern society.

 

 

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Rayonism
[ Rus. Luchizm].

 

Term derived from the word for ‘ray’ (Rus. luch), used to refer to an abstract style of painting developed by the Russian artist Mikhail Larionov. Larionov himself claimed that he had painted his first Rayist work in 1909, but modern scholarship has shown his first Rayist works to date from the latter half of 1912. These included Glass: Rayist Method (New York, Guggenheim) and Rayist Sausage and Mackerel (Cologne, Mus. Ludwig). In 1913 Larionov began to expound and elaborate his theory in a series of manifestos.

   
 


Mikhail Larionov
 

   
 


Rayonism

(Encyclopaedia Britannica)

Russian Luchism (Rayism) Russian art movement founded by Mikhail F. Larionov, representing one of the first steps toward the development of abstract art in Russia. Larionov exhibited one of the first Rayonist works, Glass, in 1912 and wrote the movement's manifesto that same year (though it was not published until 1913). Explaining the new style, which was a synthesis of Cubism, Futurism, and Orphism, Larionov said that it “is concerned with spatial forms which areobtained through the crossing of reflected rays from various objects.”

The raylike lines appearing in the works of Larionov and Natalya Goncharova bear strong similarities to the lines of force in Futurist paintings. Rayonism apparently ended after 1914, when Larionov and Goncharova departed for Paris.

 

 

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Russian Avant-garde Movements
 

After the Bolshevik revolution and World War I, a new-artistic trend emerged in Europe. Unlike Dadaism's nihilistic stance, the aesthetic individualism of Suprematism, or Mondrian's abstract mysticism, which rejected all political and social value for art, this new movement stressed the need for artists to become actively involved in reshaping society. It declared that the combined forces of art, craftsmanship, and industry could help build a better world. In post-Tsarist Russia, the first Commissar of Education, Anatoly Lunacharsky, was broadly sympathetic towards modern artistic movements, and permitted avant-garde artists to play a role in cultural activity and teaching. Considered useful to society, art was expected to concentrate on architecture, the design of manifestos and household objects, and printing. Known as Constructivism, this movement sought to put these revolutionary aims and ideals into practice. It rejected any creativity that did not have a purpose and categorized it as a specific, purely aesthetic activity. From 1915 to 1916, Tatlin (1885-1953) and Rodchenko (1891-1956) made utensils and household objects in iron, glass, and other industrial materials. They were joined by two brothers. Antoine Pevsner (1886-1962) and Naum Gabo (1890-1977). and the Mayakovsky group, organized by LEV (the Left Front) whose manifesto was published in 1923.

After the first flush of shared enthusiasm among the artists, differences soon emerged over methods and results. Following the subsequent schism in the Constructivist group, Pevsner and Gabo espoused the virtues of realism, which, as expounded in their "Realistic Manifesto" of 1920, supported the absolute value of art and its independence from the structure of society, be it capitalist or communist. Immediately, Rodchenko and his wife Varvara Stepanova delivered their riposte in the "Programme of the Productivist Group", airing extreme utilitarian and "functional" views and ending with the exhortation:
"Down with art! Up with technology! Down with tradition! Up with Constructivist technical progress!" The art produced by Moscow artists who had emigrated, many of them before World War I, was much more in tune with international movements. Artists such as
Larionov, Sonia Delaunay, Goncharova, Chagall, and Soutine settled in Paris, where they found the artistic climate more congenial than in their native country.

   

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Cubo-Futurism


 


Alexander Rodchenko
Vladimir Mayakovsky, Moscow, 1924


 

Cubo-Futurism

Term first used in 1913 in a lecture, later published, by the Russian art critic Korney Chukovsky (1882–1969) in reference to a group of Russian avant-garde poets whose work was seen to relate to French Cubism and Italian Futurism; it was subsequently adopted by painters and is now used by art historians to refer to Russian art works of the period 1912–15 that combine aspects of both styles. Initially the term was applied to the work of the poets Vladimir Mayakovsky, Aleksey Kruchonykh, Velimir Khlebnikov, Benedikt Livshits (1886–1939) and Vasily Kamensky (1864–1961), who were grouped around the painter David Burlyuk. Their raucous poetry recitals, public clowning, painted faces and ridiculous clothes emulated the activities of the Italians and earned them the name of Russian Futurists. In poetic output, however, only Mayakovsky could be compared with the Italians; his poem ‘Along the Echoes of the City’, for example, which describes various street noises, is reminiscent of Luigi Russolo’s manifesto L’arte dei rumori (Milan, 1913).

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Vladimir Mayakovsky

(Encyclopaedia Britannica)

born July 7 [July 19, New Style], 1893, Bagdadi, Georgia, Russian Empire
died April 14, 1930, Moscow, Russia, U.S.S.R.

the leading poet of the Russian Revolution of 1917 and of the early Soviet period.

At the age of 15 Mayakovsky joined the Russian Social-Democratic Workers' Party and was repeatedly jailed for subversive activity. He started to write poetry during solitary confinement in 1909. On his release he attended the MoscowArt School and joined, with David Burlyuk and a few others, the Russian Futurist group and soon became its leading spokesman. In 1912 the group published a manifesto, Poshchochina obshchestvennomu vkusu (“A Slap in the Faceof Public Taste”), and Mayakovsky's poetry became conspicuously self-assertive and defiant in form and content. His poetic monodrama Vladimir Mayakovsky was performed in St. Petersburg in 1913.
Between 1914 and 1916 Mayakovsky completed two majorpoems, “Oblako v shtanakh” (1915; “A Cloud in Trousers”) and “Fleytapozvonochnik” (written 1915, published 1916; “The Backbone Flute”). Both record a tragedy of unrequited love and express the author's discontent with the world in which he lived. Mayakovsky sought to “depoetize” poetry, adopting the language of the streets and using daring technical innovations. Above all, his poetry is declamatory, for mass audiences.
When the Russian Revolution broke out, Mayakovsky was wholeheartedly for the Bolsheviks. Such poems as “Oda revolutsi” (1918; “Ode to Revolution”) and “Levy marsh” (1919; “Left March”) became very popular. So too did his Misteriya buff (first performed 1921; Mystery Bouffe), a drama representing a universal flood and the subsequent joyful triumph of the “Unclean” (the proletarians) over the “Clean” (the bourgeoisie).
As a vigorous spokesman for the Communist Party, Mayakovsky expressed himself in many ways. From 1919 to 1921 he worked in the Russian Telegraph Agency as a painter of posters and cartoons, which he provided with apt rhymes and slogans. He poured out topical poems of propaganda and wrote didactic booklets for children while lecturing and reciting all over Russia. In 1924 he composed a 3,000-line elegy on the death of Vladimir Ilich Lenin. After 1925 he traveled in Europe, the United States, Mexico, and Cuba, recording his impressions in poems and in a booklet of caustic sketches, Moye otkrytiye Ameriki (1926; “My Discovery of America”). He also found time to write scripts for motion pictures, in some of which he acted. In his last three years he completed two satirical plays: Klop (performed 1929; The Bedbug), lampooning the type of philistine that emerged with the New Economic Policy in the Soviet Union, and Banya (performed in Leningrad on January 30, 1930; The Bathhouse), a satire of bureaucratic stupidity and opportunism under Joseph Stalin.
Mayakovsky's poetry was saturated with politics, but no amount of social propaganda could stifle his personal need for love, which burst out again and again because of repeated romantic frustrations. After his early lyrics this need came out particularly strongly in two poems, “Lyublyu”(1922; “I Love”) and “Pro eto” (1923; “About This”). To makethings worse, during a stay in Paris in 1928, he fell in love with a refugee, Tatyana Yakovleva, whom he wanted to marry but who refused him. At the same time, he had misunderstandings with the dogmatic Russian Association of Proletarian Writers and with Soviet authorities. Nor was the production of his Banya a success. Disappointed in love, increasingly alienated from Soviet reality, and denied a visa to travel abroad, he committed suicide in Moscow.

Mayakovsky was, in his lifetime, the most dynamic figure of the Soviet literary scene, but much of his utilitarian and topical poetry is now out of date. His predominantly lyrical poems and his technical innovations, however, influenced a number of Soviet poets, and outside Russia his impress has been strong, especially in the 1930s, after Stalin declared him the “best and most talented poet of our Soviet epoch.”
 

 


 



Alexander Rodchenko



Photomontage for rear cover of Mayakovsky's "Razgovor c fininspektorom o poezii"
("A Conversation with a Tax-collector about Poetry"), 1926.
 

 




 

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Constructivism


Founded in 1913 by Vladimir Tatlin, the Russian Constructivist movement developed from Cubism, Italian Futurism, and Suprematism in Russia, Neo Plasticism in Holland, and the Bauhaus School in Germany. The term Constructivism is used to define non-representational relief construction, sculpture, kinetics, and painting. As a response to changes in technology and contemporary life, it advocated a change in the art scene, aiming to create a new order in art and architecture that referenced social and economic problems. Brothers Naum Gabo and Antoine Pevsner also supported the movement, infusing sculptural elements from cubism and futurism with an allusion to architecture, machinery, and technology. The movements first Constructivist manifesto was written in 1921 when the First Working Group of Constructivists was formed in Moscow. The movement later spread to Holland and Germany before gaining international popularity. The style was initially supported by the Soviet Regime, but later was deemed unsuitable for mass propaganda reasons. Following this decree, Gabo and Pevsner went into exile while Tatlin, Popova and El Lissitzky stayed in Russia. The Constructivist movement was also prominent in theatrical scene design, mostly spread by the efforts of Vsevolod Meyerhold.

 




Vladimir Tatlin


 



Naum Gabo


 




Lyubov Popova




El Lissitzky

 



 

 


Constructivism
 

Avant-garde tendency in 20th-century painting, sculpture, photography, design and architecture, with associated developments in literature, theatre and film. The term was first coined by artists in Russia in early 1921 and achieved wide international currency in the 1920s. Russian Constructivism refers specifically to a group of artists who sought to move beyond the autonomous art object, extending the formal language of abstract art into practical design work. This development was prompted by the Utopian climate following the October Revolution of 1917, which led artists to seek to create a new visual environment, embodying the social needs and values of the new Communist order. The concept of International Constructivism defines a broader current in Western art, most vital from around 1922 until the end of the 1920s, that was centred primarily in Germany. International Constructivists were inspired by the Russian example, both artistically and politically. They continued, however, to work in the traditional artistic media of painting and sculpture, while also experimenting with film and photography and recognizing the potential of the new formal language for utilitarian design. The term Constructivism has frequently been used since the 1920s, in a looser fashion, to evoke a continuing tradition of geometric abstract art that is ‘constructed’ from autonomous visual elements such as lines and planes, and characterized by such qualities as precision, impersonality, a clear formal order, simplicity and economy of organization and the use of contemporary materials such as plastic and metal.
 

 


 

 


Constructivism


(Encyclopaedia Britannica)

Russian artistic and architectural movement that was first influenced by Cubism and Futurism and is generally considered to have been initiated in 1913 with the “painting reliefs”—abstract geometric constructions—of Vladimir Tatlin. The expatriate Russian sculptors Antoine Pevsner and Naum Gabo joined Tatlin and his followers in Moscow, and upon publication of their jointly written Realist Manifesto in 1920 they became the spokesmen of the movement. It is from the manifesto that the name Constructivism was derived; one of the directives that it contained was “to construct” art. Because of their admiration for machines and technology, functionalism, and modern industrial materials such as plastic, steel, and glass, members of the movement were also called artist-engineers.

Other important figures associated with Constructivism were Alexander Rodchenko and El Lissitzky. Soviet opposition to the Constructivists' aesthetic radicalism resulted in the group's dispersion. Tatlin and Rodchenko remained in the Soviet Union, but Gabo and Pevsner went first to Germany and then to Paris, where they influenced the Abstract-Creation group with Constructivist theory, and laterin the 1930s Gabo spread Constructivism to England and in the 1940s to the United States. Lissitzky's combination of Constructivism and Suprematism influenced the de Stijl artists and architects whom he met in Berlin, as well as the Hungarian László Moholy-Nagy, who was a professor at the Bauhaus. In both Dessau and Chicago, where because of Naziinterference the New Bauhaus was established in 1937, Moholy-Nagy disseminated Constructivist principles.

 

 

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Antoine Pevsner


(b Oryol, 18 Jan 1886; d Paris, 12 April 1962).

 French painter and sculptor of Russian birth. Son of an industrialist and brother of the sculptor NAUM GABO, he grew up in Bryansk. He studied at the School of Art in Kiev (1902–9), where according to Gabo he first met Alexander Archipenko, and then spent a three-month probationary period at the Academy of Arts in St Petersburg. Among his early paintings, The Giant (1907) shows the influence of the Symbolist painter Mikhail Vrubel, but Pevsner was also impressed by the Russian Byzantine tradition.



Antoine Pevsner
Monde

 



Antoine Pevsner
Vision
spectrale

 




Antoine Pevsner
Construction
dans l'espace



 



Antoine Pevsner
Fresco, Fauna of the Ocean

1944
 
 





 


Universal Flowering


 


Pavel Filonov
(1883-1941)


 

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Universal Flowering
(Mirovoi rastsvet)


Universal Flowering
  is the name given by Pavel Filonov to his system of analytical art. The system arose from cubo-futurist experiments and works that he undertook from 1913-1915. It is characterized by very dense, minutely facetted, and relatively flat surfaces created by working from the particular to the general, using the smallest of brushes and the sharpest of pencils. The images have both Cubism's multiple vantage points and Futurism's representation of a figure over time. A number of the paintings, while having a given orientation, are painted as though they could be oriented in a variety of ways. Filonov's philosophy was originally formalized in written form in 1915, which was revised and published as The Declaration of Universal Flowering in 1923 when Filonov was a professor at the (then) Petrograd Academy of Arts. Filonov's main theoretical work The Ideology of Analytical Art (Ideologia analiticheskogo iskusstva) was published in 1930.

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Neo-primitivism

Russian movement that took its name from Aleksandr Shevchenko’s Neo-primitivizm (1913). This book describes a crude style of painting practised by members of the DONKEY’S TAIL group. Mikhail Larionov, Natalia Goncharova, Kazimir Malevich and Shevchenko himself all adopted the style, which was based on the conventions of traditional Russian art forms such as the lubok, the icon and peasant arts and crafts. The term Neo-primitivism is now used to describe a general aspiration towards primitivism in the work of the wider Russian avant-garde during the period 1910–14. It embraces the work of such disparate painters as Chagall, David Burlyuk and Pavel Filonov, and poets such as Velimir Khlebnikov and Aleksey Kruchonykh.

Russian artists associated with Neo-primitivism include: David Burlyuk, Marc Chagall, Pavel Filonov, Natalia Goncharova, Mikhail Larionov, Kasimir Malevich, Aleksandr Shevchenko.

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Aleksandr Shevchenko
(1883-1948)


Cubist Composition (Man with Guitar).
1915

 

 

 

 

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Synchromism

Style of painting based on the theory that colour provides the basis for both form and content. It was conceived in Paris shortly before World War I by Morgan Russell  and Stanton MacDonald-Wright. It was Russell’s idea that paintings could be created based on sculptural forms interpreted two-dimensionally through a knowledge of colour properties. Synchromist paintings, stressing an emphasis on colour rhythms, were composed of abstract shapes, often concealing the submerged forms of figures, for example Synchromy in Blue (1916; New York, Whitney) by Macdonald-Wright. The two artists first attracted attention at the Neue Kunstsalon in Munich in June 1913. Their second exhibition of Synchromist painting was at the Bernheim-Jeune gallery in Paris from October to November 1913.

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Morgan Russell
(1886-1953)



Morgan Russell
Cosmic Synchromy



Morgan Russell
Synchromy in Blue-Violet

 



 


Stanton MacDonald-Wright
(1890-1973)
 



Stanton MacDonald-Wright
Airplane Synchromy in Yellow-Orange


Stanton MacDonald-Wright
Califronia Landscape

 





Stanton MacDonald-Wright
Yin Synchromy No. 2

 



Stanton MacDonald-Wright
Oriental Synchromy

 



Stanton MacDonald-Wright
The Jade Flute No. 2



Stanton MacDonald-Wright
Still Life wit Cyclamen and Fruit

 




 

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London Group

English exhibiting society founded in November 1913. On its foundation it absorbed many members of the CAMDEN TOWN GROUP and also incorporated the more avant-garde artists influenced by Cubism and Futurism, some of whom afterwards joined the Vorticist movement. Among the founder-members were David Bomberg, Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, Jacob Epstein, Harold Gilman (the group’s first president until his death in 1919), Charles Ginner, Spencer Gore, Percy Wyndham Lewis, John Nash, Christopher Nevinson and Edward Wadsworth. The group was organized in opposition to the conservatism of the Royal Academy and the stagnation of the formerly radical New English Art Club. Though, as can be judged from the names of its founders, it had no homogeneous style or aesthetic, it acted as a focal point for the more progressive elements in British art at that time.

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Harold Gilman
Clarissa
1911

 

Harold Gilman

(British, 1876-1919)



Harold Gilman
Canal Bridge, Flekkefjord

 



Harold Gilman
Edwardian Interior

 

 





 

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Rebel Art Centre [Cubist Centre].

Meeting-place for a group of British artists. It was founded and managed by Wyndham Lewis in March 1914 at 38 Great Ormond Street, London, and was intended to rival Roger Fry’s OMEGA WORKSHOPS in the cooperative production of abstract fine and applied art. It was also planned as a club for the discussion of revolutionary art ideas and as a teaching studio for non-representational art. The original members, Lewis, Frederick Etchells, Cuthbert Hamilton and Edward Wadsworth, were a group of painters who had recently resigned from the Omega Workshops and had signed a well-circulated round robin condemning Fry. They adopted a militant Futurist stance and decided to meet on Saturday afternoons to discuss their mutual art ambitions. These meetings led to the birth and development of VORTICISM.

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Vorticism


A radical English art movement, led by Wyndham Lewis and named by the poet Ezra Pound in 1914. Lewis, EdwarWadsworth, Gaudier-Brzeska and others exhibited together in Brighton in 1913, presenting their work as and in 'The Cubist Room'. In 1914 they published their first polemical year-book, BLAST, and in 1915 they showed in London the Vorticist Exhibition which included several large paintings that are now lost. Essentially urban in its taste for hard, clear forms, Vorticism expressed great impatience with all Victorianism and all revivalism and sought to out-do the Post-Impressionist and Fauve modernism propagated by Roger Fry and his friends. Lewis met his associates when working in Fry's Omega Workshops; leaving with them after a disagreement with Fry, he adopted the vehemence and rhetoric of the Futurists in his onslaughts on Fry and made the Futurists' attempt to embrace industrial dynamism as the central concern of their art the concern also of Vorticism. Nevinson joined the group in 1913 but was the only one to call himself a Futurist. Epstein and Bomberg exhibited with them but did not become Vorticists. Though the war seemed an apt echo for their initially openly aggressive style and rhetoric - the subjects they used were neither necessarily aggressive nor even modern, though they shunned the French tendency to nudes, still lifes, domestic interiors and landscapes, preferring actions, even if the sources were classical antiquity or the Bible, rendered in varying degrees of abstraction — only Nevinson used his Vorticist art to make powerful images of it. The war and its aftermath also broke the group up and found alternative pursuits for its members. There is no exact end date for the movement. The June 1915 Vorticist Exhibition was the only one they put on, and the second and last BLAST came out in July 1915. That, in effect, was the end of Vorticist group activity.

Vorticism include:
Jacob Epstein, Wyndham Lewis, Wadsworth Edward, William Roberts, David Bomberg,
Henri Gaudier-Brzeska,
Christopher Nevinson, Frederick Etchells, Cuthbert Hamilton,
Lawrence Atkinson, Jessica Dismorr, Helen Saunders.


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Wyndham Lewis
(Canadian/British Writer and Painter, 1882-1957)


Dancing Figures
1914


 


Wadsworth Edward
(English Painter, 1889-1949)


Vorticist Landscape: Forest Scene, Lewes, Sussex
1913
 


Christopher Nevinson
(English Painter, 1889–1946)


Taube
1916
 



William Roberts
(
British Painter, 1895-1980)


The interval before Round Ten 
 



David Bomberg
(British Painter, 1890-1957)


Vision of Ezekiel
1912
 



Henri Gaudier-Brzeska
(1891–1915, French sculptor)
 



Henri Gaudier-Brzeska
Femme assise
1914

 



Henri Gaudier-Brzeska
Red Stone Dancer

1913

 





 

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Activists [Hung. Aktivizmus]

Hungarian artistic, literary and political group that emerged c. 1914, after the disintegration of the group THE EIGHT  in 1912. Though not a cohesive group, the Activists were stylistically united by their reaction to the predominantly Post-Impressionist aesthetic of the Eight. Instead they turned for inspiration to Cubism, Expressionism, Futurism, Dada and Constructivism, and although some of these had previously influenced the Eight, the Activists made most consistent and profound use of these modern movements. The most notable Activists were Sándor Bortnyik, Péter Dobrovic (b 1890), János Kmetty, János Máttis Teutsch, László Moholy-Nagy, Jószef Nemes Lampérth, Lajos Tihanyi and Béla Uitz, of whom only Tihanyi had previously been a member of the Eight. Many Activists were at some time members of the MA GROUP, which revolved around the writer and artist Lajos Kassák, the main theoretical, and later artistic, driving force behind Hungarian Activism.

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Sandor Bortnyik

(1893 – 1976)


19MA21 Album, (Vienna 1921)

 




 

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Cumberland Market Group

British group of painters. They took their subject-matter from everyday life, particularly that of north-west London, where Robert Bevan had his studio and held ‘At Homes’ for artist-friends. These formalized in late 1914 when Bevan, Charles Ginner and Harold Gilman established the group, joined in 1915 by John Nash. Christopher Nevinson and E. McKnight Kauffer attended meetings and compared works, although they did not exhibit with the group. Members consciously embraced the style called ‘Neo-Realism’, exploring the spirit of their age through the shapes and colours of daily life. Their intentions were proclaimed in Ginner’s manifesto in New Age (1 Jan 1914), which was also used as the preface to Gilman and Ginner’s two-man exhibition that year: it attacked the academic and warned against the ‘decorative’ aspect of imitators of Post-Impressionism.

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Charles Ginner
(1878-1952)

 

 

 



Charles Ginner
The Cafe Royal



Charles Ginner
Piccadilly Circus



Charles Ginner
Victoria Embankment Gardens

 





 

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Nikakai [Second Division Society].

Society of progressive Japanese artists. It was founded in 1914 by the painters Halentei Ishi, Shinto Yamashita and Honjiro Sakamoto, among others. The name is a reference to the divisions of Japanese government exhibitions, the First Division covering traditional work and the Second, the new school of art. Nikakai was seen as a breakaway movement from the official selection process. The first exhibition was held in 1914 with annual presentations thereafter. Sculpture was included from 1919. After World War II, exhibitions covered painting, sculpture, commercial art, photography and art theory.

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Grass and Earth Society [Sodosha].

Japanese group of Western-style (Yoga) painters, active between c. 1915 and 1922 in Tokyo. Its principal member was the painter Ryusei Kishida, who was said to have thought up the group’s name when he saw grass growing by the roadside as he walked along a Tokyo street. Other founder-members were Kazumasa Nakagawa (1893–1991) and Shohachi Kimura (1893–1958). Although Kishida was interested in the realistic depiction of nature, the group did not have a uniform style and concentrated on organizing exhibitions. In October 1915 the group held its first exhibition, sponsored by the Society of Contemporary Art, at the premises of the Yomiuri newspaper in Tokyo. The show comprised 172 works by 23 artists including the group’s founders. In the second exhibition in 1916 were 118 works shown by 13 artists, including Kishida’s Sketch of a Road Cut Through a Hill (1915; Tokyo, N. Mus. Mod. A.). A total of nine exhibitions were organized by the group, the last being held in 1922.

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Amsterdam school

Group of Expressionist architects and craftsworkers active mainly in Amsterdam from c. 1915 to c. 1930. The term was first used in 1916 by Jan Gratama in an article in a Festschrift for H. P. Berlage. From 1918 the group was loosely centred around the periodical Wendingen (1918–31). They were closely involved in attempts to provide architectural solutions for the social and economic problems in Amsterdam during this period.

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Ready-made

Term applied from 1915 to a commonplace prefabricated object isolated from its functional context and elevated to the status of art by the mere act of an artist’s selection. Unlike most types of OBJET TROUVÉ, of which it can be considered a sub-category, it is generally a product of modern mass production, and it tends to be presented on its own without mediation. In its strictest sense it is applied exclusively to works produced by Marcel Duchamp, who borrowed the term from the clothing industry while living in New York, and especially to works dating from 1913 to 1921. Duchamp envisaged the ready-made as the product of an aesthetically provocative act, one that denied the importance of taste and which questioned the meaning of art itself. According to Duchamp, the artist’s choice of a ready-made should be governed not by the beauty of the object but by his indifference towards it; to these ends it could be selected by chance methods, for example by a predetermined weight or at a predetermined time.

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Suprematism [Rus.: Suprematizm].
 

Term coined in 1915 by Kasimir Malevich for a new system of art, explained in his booklet Ot kubizma i futurizma k suprematizmu: Novyy zhivopisnyy realizm (‘From Cubism and Futurism to Suprematism: the new realism in painting’). The term itself implied the supremacy of this new art in relation to the past. Malevich saw it as purely aesthetic and concerned only with form, free from any political or social meaning. He stressed the purity of shape, particularly of the square, and he regarded Suprematism as primarily an exploration of visual language comparable to contemporary developments in writing. Suprematist paintings were first displayed at the exhibition Poslednyaya futuristicheskaya vystavka kartin: 0.10 (‘The last Futurist exhibition of paintings: 0.10’) held in Petrograd (now St Petersburg) in December 1915; they comprised geometric forms which appeared to float against a white background. While Suprematism began before the Revolution of 1917, its influence, and the influence of Malevich’s radical approach to art, was pervasive in the early Soviet period.

 

   


Kasimir Malevich


Suprematist Painting
 

 
   
 


Suprematism

(Encyclopaedia Britannica)

Russian Suprematism, first movement of pure geometrical abstraction in painting, originated by Kazimir S. Malevich in Russia in about 1913. In his first Suprematist work, a pencil drawing of a black square on a white field, all the elements of objective representation that had characterized his earlier, Cubist-Futurist style, had been eliminated. Malevich explained that “the appropriate means of representation is always the one which gives fullest possible expression to feeling as such and which ignores the familiar appearance of objects.” Referring to his first Suprematist work, he identified the black square with feeling and the white background with expressing “the void beyond this feeling.”

Although his early Suprematist compositions most likely date from 1913, they were not exhibited until 1915, the year he edited the Suprematist manifesto, with the assistance of several writers, most notably the poet Vladimir Mayakovsky. In these first Suprematist works—consisting of simple geometrical forms such as squares, circles, and crosses—he limited his palette to black, white, red, green, and blue. By 1916–17 he was presenting more complex shapes (fragments of circles, tiny triangles); extending his colour range to include brown, pink, and mauve; increasing the complexity of spatial relationships; and introducing the illusion of the three-dimensional into his painting. His experiments culminated in the “White on White” paintings of1917–18, in which colour was eliminated, and the faintly outlined square barely emerged from its background. Finally, at a one-man exhibition of his work in 1919, Malevich announced the end of the Suprematist movement.

Suprematism had a few adherents among lesser known artists, such as Ivan Kliun, Ivan Puni, and Olga Rosanova. While not affiliated with the movement, the distinguished Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky showed the influence of Suprematism in the geometrization of his forms after 1920. This geometrical style, together with other abstract trends in Russian art, was transmitted by way of Kandinsky and the Russian artist El Lissitzky to Germany, particularly to the Bauhaus (q.v.), in the early 1920s.
 

 


 

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Society of Independent Artists [SIA].

Group of American and European artists founded in New York in December 1916 to sponsor regular exhibitions of contemporary art without juries or prizes. Among the most important artist-founders of the SIA were Katherine S. Dreier, Marcel Duchamp, William J. Glackens, Albert Gleizes, John Marin, Walter Pach, Man Ray, John Sloan and Joseph Stella. The managing director was Walter Arensberg (1878–1954). Modelled on the French Société des Artistes Indépendants, a group founded in 1884 that exhibited until World War I as a kind of institutionalized Salon des Refusés, the SIA held its first exhibition, The Big Show, in April 1917. This offered artists an opportunity to exhibit for a small yearly fee, regardless of style or subject-matter. This exhibition, held at the Grand Central Palace in New York, was not only the largest exhibition in American history (about 2500 paintings and sculptures by 1200 artists) but one of the most controversial: it drew criticism for its no-jury policy and its innovative alphabetical installation, adopted to preclude judgements of a hanging committee. The exhibition coincided with the entry of the USA into World War I, a context that underlined the SIA’s dedication to democratic principles as part of a larger struggle. The SIA’s commitment extended to all of the arts; film screenings, lectures, poetry readings and concerts supplemented the exhibitions. Although none was as sensational as the first, exhibitions accompanied by catalogues continued on an annual basis under Sloan’s long tenure as president from 1918 until 1944 when the last exhibition was held.

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Katherine S. Dreier
(1877-1952)


Abstract Portrait of Marcel Duchamp

 



 
 


John Marin
(1870-1953)



John Marin
Saint Martin's in the Field



John Marin
Brooklyn Bridge

 



 

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De Sphinx

Dutch artists’ society founded in Leiden on 31 May 1916 as a continuation of De Anderen (The Others), the artists’ society that had collapsed as a result of conflicts between the ‘bewusten’ (‘conscious’) and the ‘intuďtieven’ (‘intuitives’). J. J. P. Oud was appointed chairman, and Theo van Doesburg became the second secretary. De Sphinx wanted more cooperation with architects and practitioners of other art forms. Cultural evenings were organized, at which van Doesburg read his poetry.

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MA group

Hungarian group of artists and writers, active c. 1916 to 1926. It was associated with the journal MA, whose name was derived from the Hungarian for ‘today’, but it also refers to the movement Hungarian Activism (Hung.: Magyar Aktivizmus). Founded by the writer and artist Lajos Kassak, MA first appeared in November 1916, and from then until it was banned on 14 July 1919 it was published in Budapest, at first edited solely by Kassák and by 1917 by Béla Uitz also. From 1 May 1920 until its demise in mid-1926 it was published in Vienna under Kassák’s sole editorship. It was the most important forum for Hungarian Activism, and over the years its members included Sándor Bortnyik, Péter Dobrovic (1890–1942), Lajos Gulácsy, János Kmetty, János Máttis Teutsch, László Moholy-Nagy, Jószef Nemes Lampérth, Béla Uitz among others. The first issue had a Cubist cover by the Czech artist Vincenc Benes  and an article by Kassák entitled ‘A plakát es az uj festészet’ (‘The poster and the new painting’, MA), which set the revolutionary tone of the group. The article suggested that painting should aspire to the same aggressive power as that achieved by posters: ‘The new painter is a moral individual, full of faith and a desire for unity! And his pictures are weapons of war!.’ Many members of the MA group did in fact produce posters during the short Communist regime under Béla Kun in 1919; Uitz, for example, designed Red Soldiers, Forward! (1919; Budapest, N.G.).

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Lajos Kassak
(1887-1967)

Architectural Structures

Bela Uitz
(1887-1972)


Sitting woman

Janos Mattis Teutsch
(1884-1960)


Composition

 

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