Composition No. 7 Piet Mondrian 1914 "I make complexes of lines and colors on a flat plane in order to express universal beauty in plastic terms . . . . Nature (or the visible) inspires me . . . but I want to approach truth as closely as possible; I therefore abstract everything until I attain the essential of things (though still their outward essential!) . . . . I am sure that, precisely by not attempting to express anything definite, one expresses what is most definite of all: truth (the all-embracing)."
Seated Figure Luibov Popova circa 1915 "Representation of reality -- without artistic deformation and transformation -- cannot be the subject of painting." (From Popova's essay in the Catalogue to the 10th State Exhibition: Non-Objective Creation and Suprematism , Moscow 1919).
Untitled (brown and grey) Mark Rothko 1969 MFA Boston
Dancing Willows Arthur Dove about 1944 MFA Boston "I would like to make something that is real in itself," [Arthur Dove] once wrote, "that does not remind anyone of any other thing, and that does not have to be explained like the letter A, for instance." And so, in a sense, he did. For Dove was the first American artist to paint a completely abstract picture, or rather a set of six.
Hot Still-Scape for Six Colors- 7 th Avenue Style Stuart Davis 1940 MFA Boston Stuarts “Still-Scape” combines still life and landscape, alluding both to the objects in his studio and to the world outside, on Seventh Avenue. Davis wrote: “The subject matter of this picture is well within the everyday experience of any modern city dweller. Fruit and flowers and kitchen utensils; fall skies; horizons; taxi cabs; radio; art exhibitions and reproductions; fast travel; Americana; movies; electric signs; dynamics of city sights and sounds.” The artist’s impressions of the city are captured with energy and flair by his jaunty line, vibrant palette (the “six colors” of the title), and the gritty texture of his paint.
Street, Dresden Ernst Ludwig Kirchner 1908 (dated 1907) MOMA The German artists of Die Brücke explored the expressive possibilities of color, form, and composition in creating images of contemporary life. Street, Dresden is Kirchner's bold, discomfiting attempt to render the jarring experience of modern urban bustle. The scene radiates tension. Its packed pedestrians are locked in a constricting space; the plane of the sidewalk, in an unsettlingly intense pink (part of a palette of shrill and clashing colors), slopes steeply upward, and exit to the rear is blocked by a trolley car.
Self-portrait with model Ernst Ludwig Kirchner 1910
Self-portrait as a Drunkard Ernst Ludwig Kirchner 1914