Julia Voss examines Hilma af Klint's background and her emergence as the first European abstract painter, a title famously claimed by Kandinsky.
Voss writes: "When Wassily Kandinsky wrote to his New York gallerist Jerome Neumann in December 1935, he was clearly anxious to reassure him once again that he had painted his first abstract picture in 1911... To be acknowledged as having produced the first abstract painting had become a highly coveted prize. Which modern artist could claim that prize was still being fought over. The other leading candidates were František Kupka, Robert Delaunay, Piet Mondrian and Kazimir Malevich. What Kandinsky did not know is that a Swedish painter by the name of Hilma af Klint had created her first abstract painting in her Stockholm studio in 1906, five years before him. What’s more, she had taken the same path towards abstraction. Without knowing of each other’s existence, the two artists seem to have travelled for a long way like two trains on the same tracks. Klint arrived before Kandinsky."
http://themaximilian.com/#Shadowy Things and the Pulpit of Modernism
Considering works by Van Gogh, Kandinsky, and Frank Stella, Mark Stone muses on the ongoing tension between figuration and pure abstraction in abstract painting.
Stone wrties: "What our abstract painting lacks is a more comprehensive way of seeing and producing imagery that accomodates both our lens-based dematerialised culture and the physical life we live. Our painting should define a different kind of visual engagement and understanding, one that moves us beyond the detrimental influence of our mannered Modernism. At this point in Post-modern cultural history we painters must begin to resolve the problem of illusionistic thickness defined in Stella’s early Black Paintings and the legacy of that shadow cast by van Gogh’s table. Yet, we choose to remain forever elsewhere, floating in Kandinsky’s nebulous universe."
The exhibition, which includes paintings by lesser known painters such as Jens Ferdinand Willumsen and Akseli Gallen-Kallela is "dedicated to Symbolist landscape painting... a more imaginative, emotional response to the world around them – a route which took [artists] from Naturalism to the edges of Abstraction. The exhibition will present a wide range of poetic and suggestive paintings of nature from about 1880-1910."
Richard Aste blogs about the Brooklyn Museum's installation of Russian paintings from their collection, titled Russian Modern.
Aste writes that the long term installation "will feature thirteen paintings... spanning one hundred years of modern Russian art history...The paintings range in scale and subject-matter from small cabinet pictures of Russian peasant life to large-scale pacifist paintings of imperial Russian warfare, from abstracted landscapes of Crimea and the Ukraine to classicizing, 'return to order' portraits from the years following the first World War."
The exhibition mixes Modernist icons, Soutine, Max Weber, and Kandinsky, with lesser known artists including Vasily Vereshchagin, Boris Anisfeld, Abraham Manievich, Aleksandr Yakovlev, and Boris Grigoriev.
Edited by artist Brett Baker, Painters' Table highlights writing from the painting blogosphere as it is published and serves as a platform for exploring blogs that focus primarily on the subject of painting.