Art of the 20th Century



Postwar Developments & Contemporary Art

 

 


Art Styles in 20th century Art Map

 


Art in the Postwar Period

 


 

     

     


Abstract Expressionism
- 1943


Barnett Newman  
Ad Reinhardt
Jackson Pollock
Willem de Kooning
Mark Rothko
Franz Kline
Adolph Gottlieb
Clyfford Still
Philip Guston
Mark Tobey
Jean-Paul Riopelle
Jack Tworkov
Bradley Walker Tomlin
Arshile Gorky
Louise Bourgeois
Louise Nevelson

     

Art brut - 1945
Jean Dubuffet
Adolph Wolfli
Joseph Crepin 
Scottie Wilson

     

Artists Groups - 1945
Imaginistgruppen.
Swedish Surrealist group - 1945
European School. Hungarian artistic group - 1945
Jeune Peinture Belge. Belgian group of avant-garde artists - 1945

     

Neo-realism in Italy - 1946

     

"Spazializmo" - 1946
Alberto Burri

     

Artists Groups - 1946-1947
Fronte Nuovo delle Arti.
Italian group of artists - 1946
The Concretists. Swedish group of artists - 1947
Forma 1. The group was founded in Rome in 1947
Perceptismo. Argentine movement - 1947
Magnum. International photographic agency - 1947

     

COBRA - 1948
Asger Jorn
Pierre Alechinsky

Karel Appel 
Corneille

     

DAU AL SET - 1948
Antoni Tapies

     

Art Informel -1948
Jean Fautrier

Georges Mathieu
Antonio Saura
Arnaldo Pomodoro

     

Homme–Temoin - 1948
Bernard Buffet

     

Artists Groups - 1948-1949
Concrete Art -
1948
Movimento arte concreta. Italian art movement - 1948
New Horizons. Israeli group of painters - 1948
Zen 49. German association of non-objective artists - 1949




While it tore Europe apart, World War II ironically accelerated the globalization

of culture and increased the number of artistic centres worldwide. Although figurative

art was still being produced, it was in the field of non representational art that more

revolutionary experiments were taking place and in which the avant-garde

styles and ideas in the first quarter of the century were developed.


 

Until the outbreak of World War II, the art scene had been dominated by European artists. Even when artistic influences from outside Europe stimulated the emergence of new styles, guidance came primarily from artists within Europe. This was exemplified by the interest Van Gogh and Gauguin showed in Japanese art and, for different reasons, the attention Picasso paid to African art. The avant-garde movements of the early 20th century were born in Europe, and it was from Europe - the instigator of world conflict - that the impetus for postwar changes in America would come. In the early 1940s, artists such as the Surrealists Andre Masson, Joan Miro, Yves Tanguy, and Max Ernst sailed to New York to escape the war. Their ideas soon spread there, thanks to the promotional work of Peggy Guggenheim, who founded the Art of this Century Gallery in 1942, where she first exhibited the work of Jackson Pollock. However, the rise of art to prominence in New York, especially in the commercial market, did not overshadow the flourishing European art scene, which remained of great importance.
 




 


The Mid-1900s

 

After the war, artists began to question their role in a society that had experienced such appalling suffering. The roads they took were varied and often contrasting. On the one hand, the widespread feeling of existential malaise fostered the Expressionist figurative painting of the English artists Francis Bacon (1909-1992) and Graham Sutherland (1903-80), and that of the Danish, Belgian, and Dutch artists of the CoBrA group. The malaise was evident, too, in Spain in the ironic Surrealism of the Catalan painters of the Dau al Set, who aimed to shatter the traditional values preached by Franco's dictatorship. On the other hand, both America and Europe saw a growth in the various manifestations of Art Informel, (art without form), spurred on by an urge for the negation of form which, in spite of the avant-garde movements, remained in evidence. Italian artists, in particular, were torn between adopting a Realist language, which seemed more in tune with their political and social needs, and pursuing an interest in Art Informel and the techniques of geometrical Abstraction. The outcome was a composite array of proposals and the production of manifestos promoting the various trends, which in content echoed the style and exhortational tone of the early 20th-century avant-garde.

 


Francis Bacon




 


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Abstract Expressionism
 

At the end of the 1940s, a conflict developed between Realism and Abstraction, between a figurative form of art derived from 19th-century models and a nonrepresentational form, inspired particularly by the De Stijl movement. In Italy, the opposing sides regarded each other with mistrust, the Neo-Realists believing that only they were capable of expressing the urgent need for social change and of communicating in a language that the wider public understood. The Abstract artists, though they did not intend to isolate themselves, wanted to choose their own direction and not to be used for any political ends. Equally, they sought to keep up to date with the international art scene and distance themselves from the traditionalism of the figurative style. This reawakening of an interest in Abstraction was not confined to Europe. The movement developed in the US as well, in great part due to Piet Mondrian (1872-1944), who spent the last years of his life in New York.

Within the field of Abstract Expressionism in the 1940s and 1950s, artists such as Barnett Newman (1905-70) and Ad Reinhardt (1913-67) displayed an interest in an even more radical form of Abstraction. Their art was drawn out into a balanced construction of uniform areas of colour - ''colour fields" that were later to influence the minimalist work of the 1970s. Thus, they bridged the gap between art, which was predominantly instinctive, and the often extreme intellectual-ization that characterized geometric abstraction.
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Abstract Expressionism


(Enciclopaedia Britannica)

Most widely used name for a movement, in painting first and mainly, which emerged in New York from 1943 and became prominent in the 1950s. The name signals aims and processes rather than a style. Its progenitors' work was linked by an emphasis on the process as generating the work by externalizing feelings through action. There was otherwise no evident unison in the work of the painters that drew attention to the movement. Pollock, De Kooning, Rothko, Gottlieb, Kline, Still, Newman and others explored paths suggested by European art, notably by Surrealism and Expressionism, sharpened by the presence in America of European artists such as Ernst and Miro and supported by New York's collections of European art, notably those of the Museum of Modern Art and the Museum of Non-Objective Art (now the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum). The late canvases of Monet, certain paintings of Matisse, and especially the expressive abstract work of Kandinsky presented unexplored possibilities. Impulses to large-scale, rhetorical art came from the Mexican muralists, Orozco especially. Further impetus came from the dominant role the Second World War gave to the USA and New York's awareness of European developments in psychology and philosophy, especially Existentialism, complemented in some cases by an answering input from Eastern thought such as Zen Buddhism. The movement in time acquired something like national backing. Lavish exhibitions and publications, financed by public and private patronage, gave the New American Painting (as it was sometimes called) a dominant place in western art in the 1950s and 60s. The paintings of Pollock, in particular, suggested that Kandinsky's art had been directed to Surrealist ends of deep self-reflection. There was talk of Abstract Surrealism, of art as self-exploration, profound enough to contact the archetypal imagery described by the psychologist Jung. The large scale on which Pollock and others worked demanded exceptional physical activity and this was at times seen as central, with the painting surface as the arena within which the artist performs. The term Action Painting drew attention to this. Pollock's mid-1940s paintings were generally made by dripping and trickling paint on to canvas spread out on the floor. Pools and waving lines of paint hint at space and time and present extremes of openness and closure. Photographs of him thus at work were received as a declaration of the new art's essence.

This remained in dispute though its meaning was soon established: it was venturing into the unknown, in art and within oneself, and thus resisting the loss of individuality forced by mass society yet connecting with humanity at basic levels. Success related to finding a process leading to an identifiable result. Pollock became famous for his skeins of paint, Kline for broad, calligraphic brushstrokes, Rothko for suave veils of colour hovering mysteriously on vertical canvases, Still for opaque surfaces with torn edges that revealed contrasting colours behind them, Gottlieb for juxtaposed explosive and rounded forms, etc. On the West Coast Tobey painted with lines of (typically) white paint that looked like abstract writing and hinted at the East. Thus the new art transcended the technical as well as the stylistic limits of western art.

In sending this art out to big international events and as grand touring exhibitions, promoting it verbally as a matter of national pride, and then also finding a positive response to it abroad, America celebrated a form of world ascendancy. A well-known history of the movement, by Irving Sandler (1970), was entitled The Triumph of American Painting. Reactions against it, attempted by a younger generation from the late 1950s on (notably Johns, Rauschenberg and then the Pop artists), were at first received as violence against an elevated art. Similarly, individual efforts among prominent Abstract Expressionists, tiring of the movement's rhetoric, to reclaim freedom of expression attracted fierce criticism, as in the cases of De Kooning and Philip Guston.
 

 



 



Barnett Newman



Ad Reinhardt



Jackson Pollock

 

 

 
 

 

 



Willem de Kooning



Mark Rothko



Franz Kline

 

 

 
 

 

 



Adolph Gottlieb



Clyfford Still



Philip Guston

 

 

 
 

 

 


Mark Tobey


Jean-Paul Riopelle



Jack Tworkov

 

 

 
 

 

 



Bradley Walker Tomlin



Arshile Gorky



Louise Bourgeois

 

 



Louise Nevelson

 





 

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Art brut
[Fr.: ‘raw art’].

Term used from the mid-1940s to designate a type of art outside the fine art tradition. The commonest English-language equivalent for art brut is ‘Outsider art’. In North America, the same phenomenon tends to attract the label ‘Grass-roots art’. The French term was coined by
Jean Dubuffet, who posited an inventive, non-conformist art that should be perfectly brut, unprocessed and spontaneous, and emphatically distinct from what he saw as the derivative stereotypes of official culture. In July 1945 Dubuffet initiated his searches for art brut, attracted particularly by the drawings of mental patients that he saw in Switzerland. In 1948 the non-profit-making Compagnie de l’Art Brut was founded, among whose partners were Andre Breton and the art critic Michel Tapié. The Collection de l’Art Brut was supported for a while by the company but was essentially a personal hobby horse of Dubuffet and remained for three decades an almost entirely private concern, inviting public attention only at exhibitions in 1949 (Paris, Gal. René Drouin) and 1967 (Paris, Mus. A. Déc.). In 1971 Dubuffet bequeathed the whole collection to the City of Lausanne, where it was put on permanent display to the public at the Chateau de Beaulieu. At the time of opening (1976), the collection comprised 5000 works by c. 200 artists, but it grew thereafter.

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Jean Dubuffet
 



Adolph Wolfli
 

 

 

 

 



Joseph Crepin 
 



Scottie Wilson
 

 


 
 

Art Brut.

The idea of "Art Brut" appeared around 1945. Its conception is generally attributed to the French painter Jean Dubuffet who meant by the term "works executed by those immune to artistic culture in which imitation has no role; in which their creators take all (subjects, materials, transposition, rhythm, style etc.) from their own individuality and not from the base of classical art or stylish trends". One can understand from this definition that parctitioners of "Art Brut" are mentally or socially marginal: prisoners, patients of psychiatric hospitals or other institutions, originals, solitary beings, condemned, all individuals who have a social status removed from the constraints of cultural conditioning.
 

 


Art Brut

(Enciclopaedia Britannica)

(French: “raw art”), art of the French painter
Jean Dubuffet, who in the 1940s promoted art that is crude, inexperienced, and even obscene. Dubuffet, the most important French artist to emerge after World War II, became interested in the art of the mentally ill in mid-career, after studying The Art of the Insane by the Swiss psychiatrist Hans Prinzhorn. Dubuffet applied the name art brut to the drawings, paintings, and doodlings of the psychotic, the naive, and the primitive, works that he regarded as the purest forms of creative expression. Like theearly Cubists' discovery of primitive Oceanian and African sculpture, Dubuffet's study of this type of art gave him the inspiration he sought for his own art, as it represented for him the most authentic expression of emotion and human values.

Originally inspired by the childlike art of the Swiss painter
Paul Klee, from the 1940s on, Dubuffet's paintings emulated the sincerity and naiveté that he associated with real art brut. The first of these works shows a childlike vision of humanity and civilization, with bright, gay colours and naive drawing. Later works, passionate and primitive, sometimes pathetic, sometimes obscene, incorporate forms derived from graffiti and psychotic art; painted in thick impasto or constructed in collage, these densely detailed and intensely expressive works convey a sense of teeming life and brutal force.
 

 




 

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Imaginistgruppen
[Swed.: ‘Imaginist group’].

Swedish Surrealist group, founded c. 1945, which grew out of the short-lived MINOTAURGRUPPEN. Its founders were C. O. Hultén, Max Walter Svanberg and Anders Osterlin (b 1926), and later its members included the artists Gosta Kriland (1917–89), Bertil Lundberg (b 1922), Bengt Orup (b 1916), Bertil Gado (b 1916), Lennart Lindfors and Gudrun Ahlberg-Kriland. The Imaginistgruppen followed the example of the Minotaurgruppen by using the styles and techniques characteristic of Surrealism, as in Hultén’s Beach Statue ( frottage, 1948; Malmo, Kstmus.). In 1947 the group founded its own publishing house in Malmö, and that year it produced a collection of frottages, Drommar ur bladens hander (‘Dreams from the hands of leaves’), by Hultén. Första fasen (‘First phase’), a text on Imaginism written by Svanberg in 1948, was included in the catalogue of an exhibition of his work in Goteborg in 1949. In this ‘manifesto’, the first part of his Deklarationer om imaginism i tre utvecklingsfaser (‘Declarations on Imaginism in three phases’), Svanberg discussed the crucial role played by imagination, stressing the free and revolutionary nature of Imaginist art. He claimed that the image, which contained disparate elements, was central and that its realization required the overthrow of traditional art forms, as these were based on reality. These were all familiar Surrealist ideas, and Svanberg developed them further in Andra fasen (‘Second phase’) (1950) and Tredje fasen (‘Third phase’) (1952), so becoming the group’s chief theorist. The Imaginistgruppen participated in the Surrealist exhibition held at the Galerie Aleby in Stockholm in 1949, and Imaginistgruppen exhibitions were held in Stockholm in 1951, in Malmo and Goteborg in 1952, at the Galerie de Babylone in Paris in 1953 and at Lund University in 1954. In 1950 the publishing house issued an album of eight lithographs by Svanberg. Svanberg left the group in 1953, claiming to be the only true Imaginist, but the group continued in existence until 1956.
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European
School [Hung. Európai Iskola].

Hungarian artistic group formed in 1945 and active in Budapest until 1948. It was modelled on the Ecole de Paris and founded on the belief that a new artistic vision could only be established from a synthesis of East and West. According to its programme, it represented Fauvism, Cubism, Expressionism, abstract art and Surrealism in Hungary. The aim of its members was to organize exhibitions, publish writings and encourage contact between artists. Members included the art historians and critics Erno Kállai, A’rpád Mezei and Imre Pán, and painters in the group included, among others, Margit Anna, Jeno Barcsay, Endre Bálint, Béla Czóbel, József Egry, Jenô Gadányi, Dezso Korniss, Tamás Lossonczy, Ferenc Martyn and Erno Schubert. Among the sculptors were Dezso Bokros Birmann, Erzsébet Forgách Hahn, Etienne Hajdu (in Paris), József Jakovitz and Tibor Vilt. Marcel Jean, the Surrealist theorist who lived for a while in Budapest, was an honorary member, while Imré Amos and Lajos Vajda were looked to as role models. The group did not adhere to a unified style; for example, while Jeno Gadányi’s Fantastical Landscape (1948; Budapest, N.G.) was Expressionist, Jeno Barcsay’s Street (1946; Budapest, N.G.) was influenced by Cubism. The members sought to use both organic and inorganic forms to balance rationalism and intuition in their work. The majority of them started from the Constructivist–Surrealist scheme introduced by Lajos Vajda. Some of them produced ‘bioromantic’ work after World War II. Others worked towards monumentality through Expressionist–Constructivist works. They organized 38 exhibitions of members’ (and some foreign) work.
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|

Jeno Gadanyi
(1896-1960)
Fantastical Landscape

1948

 
 



 

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Jeune
Peinture Belge.

Belgian group of avant-garde artists active from 1945 to 1948. It was formed on the initiative of an art critic Robert L. Delevoy and a lawyer René Lust, with the intention of promoting the work of young contemporary painters and sculptors through exhibitions. It developed from the groups Route libre (1939) and L’Apport (1941–51). The main exhibitions took place in 1947 in Brussels at the Palais des Beaux-Arts. The ‘first generation’ of artists involved in the foundation of the group included the sculptor Willy Anthoons (b 1911) and the painters René Barbaix (1909–66), Gaston Bertrand (b 1910), Anne Bonnet (1908–60), Jan Cox (1919–80), Jack Godderis (b 1916), Emile Mahy (1903–79), Marc Mendelson (b 1915), Charles Pry (b 1915), Mig Quinet (b 1906), Rik Slabbinck (b 1914) and Louis Van Lint (1909–87).

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Willy Anthoons

(1911-1983)
Eve aux bras leves et le serpent



Anne Bonnet

(1908–1960)
Abstracte compositie

 




 

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Neo-realism in Italy
 

After the war, Italy was searching for an explanation of the recent events that had devastated the country and seeking a stimulus for widespread recovery. It was in this context that "Oltre Guernica" ("Before Guernica") was drawn up in Milan as the manifesto of Realism in 1946. The following year the Fronte Nuovo delle Arti (New Arts Front) was founded in Venice, a movement that drew its inspiration from Picasso's Guernica (1937) and its testimony to social commitment. The strong desire

for social participation provided a common focus for its members, whose styles and tastes varied greatly. While Renato Guttuso (1912-87) and Armando Pizzinato (b. 1910) displayed more inclination towards Realism, artists such as Renato Birolli (1905-59), Ennio Morlotti (b. 1910), Giuseppe Santomaso (b. 1907-90), and Emilio Vedova (b. 1919) were involved in developing abstraction. The heterogeneous nature of the group became clear in 1948 when the Communist Party, with which the artists were linked, was excluded from the government.

Indeed, the Communist party soon made it clear that they had no time for abstract art, which showed no apparent political commitment and was, therefore, of little value for its propaganda purposes. Through the 1950s, although artists such as Guttuso and Pizzinato stressed the didactic element of the popular style that they had developed, Birolli, Morlotti, Santomaso, and Vedova refused to tolerate any artistic limitations. In 1952 they joined the Gruppo degli Otto (Group of Eight) supported by the critic Lionello Venturi, giving free rein to their abstract inclinations.

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Armando Pizzinato
(b. 1910)
 The Defenders of the Factorie



Renato Birolli
(1905-1959)
Natura morta con brocca



 

 

NEO-REALIST CINEMA

During the 1940s, Italian cinema followed in the footsteps of the art world and turned its attention to the horrors of the war. particularly to the material and psychological havoc it had wreaked. In strong opposition to the propagandist and escapist cinema of the Fascist era, directors such as Luchino Visconti (1906-76), Roberto Rossellini (1906-77), and Vittorio de Sica (1901-74) sought to represent the miserable way of life of the masses (La terra trema. 1948), the atmosphere of the rounding up of partisans during the German occupation (Rome. Open City, 1945), and the existential miser)' to which the weakest, particularly children, were subjected (Shoeshine, 1946).

The cinematographic style was basic and rough, bordering on documentary crudeness. The casts were mostly made up of ordinary people rather than actors, and local dialects as well as Italian were used in the dialogue. In La terra trema. for example, the inhabitants of Acitrezza in Sicily spoke in their local dialect. The precarious conditions in which the directors had to work meant they had to put the stylistic needs of their vision in second place. Rossellini had to shoot Rome, Open City with out-of-date film and on makeshift sets.

 




 

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"Spazializmo"

Spazializmo began with the "Manifesto Blanco", issued in 1946 in Buenos Aires by Lucio Fontana (1899-1968) at the Altamira Academy and became a movement a year later in Milan. Fontana wanted to open up artistic boundaries to the technical advances taking place. In his second manifesto (seven were published between 1947 and 1953). he announced that new forms of artistic expression could be transmitted via the medium of television, and in 1952 he actually put forward a proposed artistic programme for television, even though the medium was still in its early stages. Fontana was looking for a new artistic dimension that would allow him to escape from the confines of traditional tools, which would open up the skies with "artificial forms, rainbows of wonders, luminous sky writing." From this faith in technology came his use of ultraviolet light to create his "spatial atmosphere" at the Galleria del Naviglio in 1949. his neon decoration for the ninth Triennial in Milan in 1951. In his painting, he strove to go beyond the limited spheres of Neo-Realism and geometric Abstraction: hence his method of piercing the canvas in order to establish contact with the space surrounding the painting. As well as the conceptual value of this action, the slashes in the canvas had a pictorial impact, creating protrusions and indentations with subtle chiaroscuro effects. The inevitable links with the working practices of Art Informel became more obvious when Fontana abandoned monochrome backgrounds. He took to making his canvases more elaborate with the additions of coloured materials - a technique that would lead to the Stone series (1951-56), followed in the 1960s by his "slashed" paintings. In fact, the experiments of the founder of Spazializmo far outlasted the active life of the group, which ended in 1954. During its life, it had involved personalities of various backgrounds, including Gianni Dova (b. 1925), Roberto Crippa (1921-72), and Cesare Peverelli (b. 1922), and even artists inclined towards more informal styles, such as Parmigianni Tancredi, Giuseppe Capogrossi, and Alberto Burri. During the 1960s, Fontana continued his activities, when he produced works including Ambienti spaziali and Teatrini, which were forms of sculpture-paintings with irregularly moulded projecting frames in lacquered wood.
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Alberto Burri




 



Gianni Dova
(1925-1991)
Woman in an Interior



Cesare Peverelli
(b. 1922)

Insetti

 



 

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Fronte Nuovo delle Arti.

Italian group of artists. It was founded by Renato Birolli in 1946 as the Nuova Secessione Artistica Italiana and renamed in 1947. The manifesto of 1946 was signed by Giuseppe Santomaso, Bruno Cassinari, Antonio Corpora, Renato Guttuso, Ennio Morlotti, Armando Pizzinato (b 1910), Giulio Turcato, Emilio Vedova and the sculptors Leonardo Leoncillo (1915–68) and Alberto Viani. During the first group exhibition, which was held at the Galleria della Spiga in Milan in 1947, Cassinari resigned, and the sculptors Pericle Fazzini and Nino Franchina (b 1912) joined. This was the vanguard of Italian painters and sculptors who, in the wake of the fear and stagnation brought on by World War II, endeavoured to revitalize Italian 20th-century art, which they felt had died with Futurism and Pittura Metafisica. Although the artists were stylistically very different, ranging from abstraction to naturalism, they were united by left-wing politics and by their wish, as stated in their manifesto, to give their ‘separate creations in the world of the imagination a basis of moral necessity’. While the group also shared an admiration for Picasso, the polarization of the abstract formalists and the realists became increasingly evident during the Venice Biennale of 1948. That year the Communist journal Rinascita published an article highly critical of works exhibited in Bologna by Fronte Nuovo members. The assumption that the Communists had no artistic preferences was shattered and this helped to destroy the group. Its stylistic diversity is indicated in a comparison of Guttuso’s powerfully figurative Mafia (1948; New York, MOMA) with Turcato’s Revolt (1948; Rome, G.N.A. Mod.); the latter evokes the resistance to German repression in near abstract forms derived from Picasso’s Guernica (Madrid, Prado). The group had disintegrated by 1952, when Birolli, Corpora, Turcato and Vedova were among the abstract painters gathered together in Lionello Venturi’s GRUPPO DEGLI OTTO PITTORI ITALIANI.

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Giuseppe Santomaso
(1907-1990)

Composition



Bruno Cassinari
(1912-1992)
Il bambino pover



Leonardo Leoncillo
(1915–68)
Il Cane

 





 

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The Concretists
[Swed. Konkretisterna].

Swedish group of artists active in the early 1950s. The members were the painters (Olof) Lennart Rodhe (b 1916), Olle Bonnier (b 1925), Pierre Olofsson (b 1921), Karl-Axel Ingemar Pehrson (b 1921) and Lage Johannes Lindell (1920–80) and the sculptor Arne Jones (1914–76). With a number of other artists they had exhibited in Ung konst (Young art) in Stockholm in 1947 and came to be called ‘1947 ars man’ (‘Men of the Year 1947’). In an article in Konstrevy in 1947, Sven Alfons (b 1918; painter and writer on art history) saw a common element in their work and described these artists as ‘young Goth[ic]s’. The ‘gothic’ aspect is especially clear in several of Jones’s sculptures (e.g. The Cathedral, 1948; Stockholm, Västertorp).

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Lennart Rodhe
(1916-2005)
Untitled



Arne Jones
(1914–1976)
Triangular Komposition

 




 

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Forma 1

The group Forma 1 was founded in Rome in 1947. Its intention was to make a stand against Realism, which was now seen as anachronistic, and to invite comparison with other European artistic tendencies. The group's manifesto was published in the only issue of the magazine of the same name, published in the same year. The members - Carla Accardi (b. 1924), Pietro Consagra (b. 1920), Antonio Sanfilippo (b. 1923) . Piero Dorazio (b. 1927), Ugo Attardi (b. 1923), Giulio Turcato (1912-95), Achille Perilli (b. 1927), and Mino Guerrini -declared themselves "Formalists and Marxists". In order to placate those that were suspicious of Abstraction and associated its activities with bourgeois decadence, they emphasized that formal research did not necessarily rule out political commitment. As for their aesthetic aims, they declared that they were not interested in the figurative tradition ("the form of the lemon interests us, not the lemon"). They appeared to look to the French Neo-Cubist experience for inspiration and visited Paris frequently between 1947 and 1949. After three years, their collective activity gave way to individual work and led to the disbanding of the group in 1950.

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Carla Accardi
(b. 1924)
Blue Concentric



Pietro Consagra

(b. 1920)
Untitled



Giulio Turcato

(1912-95)
Gli scar

 




 

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Perceptismo.

Argentine movement initiated in Buenos Aires in 1947 under the leadership of the painter Raúl Lozza (b 1911) and the theoreticians Rembrandt Lozza (1915–90) and Abraham Haber (1924–86). It was announced in 1948 by an exhibition and manifesto. Like the ASOCIACIÓN ARTE CONCRETO INVENCIÓN, from whose internal disagreements the movement emerged, it was concerned with the promotion of Constructivism in Argentina. The theories they promulgated were also conveyed through a magazine, Perceptismo: Teórico y polémico, published from 1950 to 1953. One of their primary concerns was with the relationship between the quantity (in terms of surface area) and quality of flat colour; they conceived of the surface as a field against which to arrange shapes whose only justification lay in their interrelationships. In rejecting the supposed conflict between pictorial or fictitious space and the physical space in which we move, they proposed that both were equivalent in value. Lozza’s use of enamel on wood to create surfaces as polished and perfect as lacquer typified the technical perfection sought by these painters as a means of suppressing any trace of subjectivity that would otherwise distract the observer from the physical presence of the work, as, for example, in Painting from the Perceptist Period: No. 184 (1984; Buenos Aires, Mus. Mun. A. Plást. Sívori).

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Abraham Haber
(1924–86)



Untitled
 



Untitled
 



Untitled




 

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Magnum
[Magnum Photos, Inc.].

International photographic agency, founded with offices in New York and Paris in April 1947 by the photographers Robert Capa (1913-1964), Henri Cartier-Bresson, Chim, George Rodger (b 1908) and William Vandivert (1912–c. 1992). In the period after World War II, when illustrated news magazines flourished, Magnum became the most famous of picture agencies. This was initally due to the reputation of its founder-members, who had photographed the Spanish Civil War (1936–9) and World War II (three of them as correspondents for Life magazine). Its celebrity was sustained by the success of its work, the quality of the photographers it continued to attract and by the deaths while on assignment of Capa (the driving force behind Magnum), Chim and Werner Bischof, the first new member to be admitted.

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Robert Capa
(1913-1964)



Falling soldier

 


Untitled




 

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COBRA

Founded in Paris in 1948, the CoBrA group took its name from the native cities of its founding members: Copenhagen, Brussels, and Amsterdam. Danish artist Asger Jorn (1914-73), Belgian artists Pierre Alechinsky (b. 1927) and Corneille (b. 1922), and Dutch artist Karel Appel (b. 1921) developed a style that could be traced back to German Expressionism in its violent brushwork and distorted forms, but which p-roved less sombre in its choice of subjects and chromatic range. Although form seemed at times to give way to abstraction, it never stopped being the essential element of their work. It testified to the group's desire to react against the widespread contemporary interest in abstract art. Between 1948 and 1951, they had three exhibitions and printed eight issues of the magazine Cobra. However, they soon went their separate ways, and the group dissolved.

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Asger Jorn



Pierre Alechinsky





Karel Appel





Corneille

 

 

 


COBRA

(Enciclopaedia Britannica)

Expressionist group of painters whose name is derived from the first letters of the three northern European cities—Copenhagen,Brussels, Amsterdam—that were the homes of its members. The first of the group's two large exhibitions, organized by the Danish painter Asger Jorn, was held in 1949 at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; the second exhibition was held in 1951 at the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Ličge, Belgium. COBRA included among its members Karel Appel, Corneille (Corneille Guillaume Beverloo), Constant (Nieuwenhuis), Pierre Alechinsky, Lucebert (Lubertus Jacobus Swaanswijk), and Jean Atlan. Influenced by poetry, film, folk art, children's art, and primitive art, the semiabstract canvases by these artists display brilliant colour and spontaneous, violent brushwork that is akin to American Action painting. The human figure, treated in a wildly distorted, Expressionistic manner, is a frequent motif in their art. COBRA had a great impact on the development of subsequent European Abstract Expressionism.

 

 




 

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"DAU AL SET"

The Spanish Dau al Set (which means "the seventh side of the dice" in Catalan) was a courageous attempt to react against the intellectual stagnation of postwar Spain. The group was born in 1948 out of the friendships between the poet Joan Brossa, the philosopher Arnaldo Puig, and the painters Joan Pone (b. 1927), Modest Cuixart (b. 1925), Antoni Tapies (b. 1923), and Joan Tharrats (b. 1918). It took its inspiration from the Dada movement, which had become known in Spain thanks to the promotional efforts of Francis Picabia (1879-1953), who had founded the magazine 391 in Barcelona in 1917.

Another source of inspiration was Surrealism, to which Joan Miro (1893-1983) was still making a lively contribution. The Dau al Set adopted its provocative style, creating imaginary compositions that were often tinged with demonic elements. Soon after, Tapies opted for a calmer type of painting that focused on an examination of the material quality of the paint used. After 1952, when the collective activity of the Dau al Set ceased, he freely embraced the ideas of Art Informel.
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Antoni Tapies




 



Modest Cuixart
 (b. 1925)
Brufungles
1949

 



Joan Tharrats
 (b. 1918)
Who Looks ...
 
1961

 




 

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Art Informel

In the late 1940s and 1950s, Art Informel was a discernible trend in both America and Europe, particularly in France in the work of Jean Fautrier (1898-1964), Jean Dubuffet (1901-85), Georges Mathieu (b. 1921). Given such a wide geographical base, the results were varied, depending on the approach of individual artists and the particular cultural heritage that informed the works.

Art Informel soon abandoned figurative and geometric form and assumed various aspects that focused on gestural, material (matter-related), and calligraphic elements. In these three types of works, it exploited the energy of the gestures adopted in the execution of the painting; it extolled the values of the pictorial materials, not treating them in the traditional wav as media, but giving them their own expressive force; and it used a sort of sign-writing derived from the "psychic automatism'' of the First Manifesto of Surrealism (1924). While the styles that the artists adopted differed, one common denominator seemed to be the prevalently autobiographical nature of many of the works. They became symbolic visualizations of the artist's inner nature and a reflection of the artist's objection to the apparent lack of individuality in contemporary industrial society.

Among the most noted exponents of Art Informel in Spain were Antoni Tapies (b. 1923), Rafael Canogar (b. 1935), and Antonio Saura (b. 1930); while in Germany, Emil Schumacher (b. 1912) and Georg Meistermann (1911-90) were the most important representatives. There was also some notable sculpture produced, particularly that by Asger Jorn  (1914-73), Corneille (b. 1922), Fontana (1899-1968), and the brothers Arnaldo Pomodoro (b. 1926) and Gio Pomodoro (b. 1930).

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Jean Fautrier



Georges Mathieu



Antonio Saura




 


Arnaldo Pomodoro

(b. 1926)



Disco



Untitled



Sphere

 




 

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Homme–Temoin.

French group of painters who held their first exhibition as a group at the Salon des Moins de Trente Ans in June 1948. Their manifesto, which affirmed their commitment to realism and to communism, was drawn up and published by the critic Jean Bouret. In the preface to the exhibition catalogue he stated that ‘painting exists to bear witness, and nothing human can remain foreign to it’. The best-known artists associated with the group were Bernard Buffet and Bernard Lorjou (b 1908). Buffet’s style, as represented by such series as Flagellation, Resurrection (both 1952) and Horrors of War (1954), illustrates the atmosphere of ‘existential’ Angst that characterized the work of many painters associated with Homme–Témoin. Lorjou’s the Atomic Age (1950) is a tableau of post-war urban suffering, oppression and spiritual longing. The painters were obviously strongly influenced by the harsh and expressionistic styles of Francis Gruber and Chaim Soutine. In content, their work developed almost into a pastiche of those contemporary artists who protested against war atrocities or political opposition to tyranny, such as Fautrier or Matisse.

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Bernard Buffet

 





 

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Concrete Art

In 1948, the Movimento Arte Concrete ("Concrete Art Movement" or MAC) was founded in Milan to promote exploration into pure form.

Their objective was to ignore reality and create "art for art's sake", making "concrete" pictorial subject matter that would otherwise have remained in a mental sphere. Their argument was directed not only at the figurative art of the Neo-Realists but also at "lyrical abstraction" in general; they believed that it involved too much psychological analysis to be compatible with rigorous geometrical purism, as found in the work of the group's spiritual guides, Mondrian and van Doesburg. Although they shared the same beliefs in purity and "concreteness", the founders of the movement - Gillo Dorfles (b. 1910), Gianni Monnet (1912-58), Bruno Munari (1907-1998), and Atanasio Soldati (1896-1953) - differed greatly in their choice of techniques. The paintings of Dorfles featured a dreamlike element, absent in the strictly formal work of Munari, whose tireless research was directed towards Arte Programmata ("Programme Art"). In a decade of activity, the movement widened its horizons. In 1953, MAC became associated with Groupe Espace - a society promoting the fusion of architecture, sculpture, and decoration in order to give art a more active role in the social context. As a result, they worked closely with the architects of Studio B24 and showed much interest in industrial design. However, when Gianni Monnet passed away in 1958, the group recognized that it had failed in its original objectives.

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Gillo Dorfles
(b. 1910)
Robot



Bruno Munari
(1907-1998)
Negativo-positivo giallo-rosso

 



 



Atanasio Soldati
(1896-1953)
Composizione, 1951



Gianni Monnet
 (1912-58)
Metamorfosi

 

 

 




 

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Movimento arte concreta
[MAC].

Italian art movement founded in Milan in December 1948 by the critic (and at that time painter) Gillo Dorfles (b 1910), the artist and architect Gianni Monnet (1912–58; the originator and leader of the group), Bruno Munari and Atanasio Soldati (1896–1953), a painter who had been working in an abstract idiom during the 1930s. They were inspired by the growth of CONCRETE ART in Switzerland and immediately attracted a large following with other Italian artists, among them Galliano Mazzon (b 1896), Luigi Veronesi, Mario Nigro (b 1917), Mauro Reggiani (b 1897), Ettore Sottsass and Amalia Garau. In Turin, Naples and Florence, other groups of Concrete artists formed that had links with the Milan group, which disbanded after Monnet’s death in 1958. MAC had no rigid programme or manifesto: despite its name, its adherents did not discriminate rigorously between what they termed ‘Concrete art’ and more generic abstract or geometric art, which did not flourish in Italy. In Milan the group brought together those few artists who had rejected the tradition of Novecento Italiano and who did not accept the artistic and ideological attitudes of social realism. Similarly, some years after its foundation, when non-representational art became prominent, MAC defended the positions of rationalism and perceptive rigour and was in fact responsible for the diffusion in Italy of the theories of Gestalt psychology and rejected automatism, irrationalism and profusion of sentiment in non-figurative works. MAC’s theoretical antagonism towards non-representational art was not, however, borne out coherently in the works produced by its members, which, particularly after 1954, reflected the influence of action painting. The most interesting of MAC’s activities was the publication of their monthly and, from 1954, annual bulletins, the graphics, typography and layout of which were truly innovative: they included such features as a square format, transparent paper and pages cut into shapes or sewn together (for which Munari was mainly responsible), and they contained articles on design, on visual perception, on the synthesis of the arts and on the reproducibility of art work.
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New Horizons
[Heb. Ofakim Hadashim].

Israeli group of painters founded in 1948 around Yosseff Zaritsky after his dismissal from the chairmanship of the Israeli Association of Artists and Sculptors over his choice of artists for the Venice Biennale in that year. He and other founder-members such as Arie Aroch, Zvi Mairovich (1911–74), Yehezkel Streichman and Avigdor Stematsky, who first exhibited together in November 1948 at the Tel Aviv Museum, wished to free Israeli art from the Expressionist style and Jewish imagery and symbolism that it had inherited from the 1920s. Among the 30 painters contributing works to the first show were Marcel Janco, Yochanan Simon (1905–76) and Aharon Giladi (b 1907).

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Zvi Mairovich
(1911–1974)



The Orchard



A girl with flowers  



Young Girl

 




 

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Zen 49.

German association of non-objective artists, founded in the Galerie Otto Stangl in Munich on 19 July 1949. Its seven founder-members were the painters Willi Baumeister, Rolf Cavael (1898–1979), Gerhard Fietz ( 1910-1997), Rupprecht Geiger, Willi Hempel (1905–85), Fritz Winter and the sculptor Brigitte Matschinsky-Denninghof. Originally called the Gruppe der Ungegenstandlichen, the group took the name Zen 49 in 1950 and saw itself as keeper of the traditions of the Blaue Reiter in Munich and of the Bauhaus, taking up artistic positions that had been vilified by the Nazis as ‘degenerate’. The new name of Zen 49 was inspired by a general understanding of Zen Buddhism rather than by any intensive preoccupation with the subject. Through Eugen Herrigel’s Zen in der Kunst des Bogenschiessens (Konstanz, 1948) and Daisetz Taitaro Suzuki’s Die grosse Befreiung (Leipzig, 1939; 3rd edn, Konstanz, 1948), Zen was known as a spiritual pathway, along which the unconscious was made conscious, and the group’s name was chosen in reference to the philosophy’s open and non-specific character. The date of foundation was affixed in order to indicate that the group was not to be identified exclusively with the oriental philosophy.

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Rolf Cavael

(1898–1979)
No. 61/AG7



Gerhard Fietz
( 1910-1997)
Untitled

 
 
 

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