Saturday, February 1, 2014

The Great Upheaval

The Great Upheaval bears witness to how dazzlingly fruitful an eight-year period can be….In the brief interlude before the outbreak of war, original ideas sprang up in such profusion that a single metaphor cannot contain them: they skyrocketed, snowballed, mushroomed, and multiplied...
Ariella Budick, Financial Times
Featured artists include Mondrian, Modigliani, Picasso, Delauney, Chagall, Kandinsky, Matisse... What an incredible collection. It was my second visit in two months and I hope to return for more before it leaves town March 4.

Such a bleak, cold January, I so needed a visit like this. Colour! It's like art touches a whole different part of my brain and presses some kind of reset button.

I could sit and stare at Franz Marc's Yellow Cow for hours. His aim in this painting was to create a metaphysical realm. In 1911, the year this painting was completed, he joined with Kandinsky to found the Blue Rider, a loose confederation of artists devoted to the expression of inner states. I felt so uplifted drinking in its images and colours, it almost brought tears to my eyes.

... and The Football Players by Henri Rousseau, with its odd perspective. It turns out that Rousseau was a 'Sunday painter' who could have faded into anonymity if it weren't for his friendships with artists like Kandinsky who admired his "naive" and primitive approach.

It seems that two of my favourite paintings from the exhibition have a common element: Kandinsky.  Here is Pastorale, one of the last paintings he did with an attempt at representational form. I appreciate his later abstracts for their kinetic quality, but there is something special about his earlier expressionist works, so evocative. This page from the Gugenheim Online is an interesting snapshot of his progression between the years 1908-1944.

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