THE GREAT MODERNISTS. A REVOLUTION IN THE ARTS

 

At the dawn of the 20th centuries, every year brought new breakthroughs, such as gramophones, cinemas, typewriters, electricity, airplanes, telephones, X-rays. New things made people euphoric about new possibilities, but there was some anxiety along with this. And so, we see the appearance of distance between reality and the way it is painted.

The main problem was not about the painted matter, but about the painting method (not the what but the how). The artist does not set out to render a painting of sometime that looks as close to reality as possible. Instead, the main task is to focus the viewer’s attention through spots and lines arranged in a certain way. Thus, Paul Signac turns everything he sees into a net made of myriads light points. The forms in paintings by Paul Gauguin are a combination of color points that bring us from the large industrial cities to the source-point of civilization; the images of Gustav Klimt hide behind oriental splendor. Wassily Kandinsky applies schematics to derive free associations. Generally, modernist paintings are enigmatic, forming a kind of labyrinth to the sight. By using open outlines, broken lines, vague contours, unexpected contrasts and incoherent compositions, modernism offers an inexhaustible source of meanings where the tradition sees only chaos and absurdity.

 Being exquisite and enigmatic, the modernist paintings are targeted at people who are comfortable with cinema and mass media, at people who are used to an endless flow of visual data, who know how to understand images and who are sensitive to purely aesthetic effects. A hundred years ago, the paintings by modernists acted as nunciate of the new hi-tech future and this is why these paintings find a new life through digital technologies so easily.

HENRI ROUSSEAU

Henri Julien Félix Rousseau, also know as Le Douanier (the Customs officer) (1844—1910) was a French self-taught artist. He is also one of the most famous painters in the Naïve or Primitive schools.

PAUL GAUGUIN

Eugène Henri Paul Gauguin (June 7, 1848 — May 8, 1903) was a French painter, sculptor, print-maker, and ceramist. Along with Paul Cézanne and Vincent van Gogh he was an important figure in Post-Impressionism.

GUSTAV KLIMT

Gustav Klimt (July 14, 1862, Baumgarten, Austria-Hungary — February 6, 1918, Vienna, Austria-Hungary) was a world-wide famous Austrian painter, founder of Modernism in Austrian painting.

PAUL SIGNAC

Paul Signac (November 11, 1863, Paris — August 15, 1935, Paris) was a French Neo-Impressionist painter who contributed to development of the Pointillist style.

EDVARD MUNCH

Edvard Munch (December 12, 1863, Løten, Hedmark — January 23, 1944, Ekely, near Oslo) was a Norwegian painter and printmaker, stage designer, and art theorist. He was one of the first painters to work in the expressionist manner. His works helped shape modern art. The themes of his paintings often include death and loneliness, but are also full of a lust for life.

Henri Toulouse-Lautrec

Henri Marie Raymond comte de Toulouse-Lautrec Monfa (November 24, 1864, Albi — September 9, 1901, Malromé castle, Gironde) was a French Post-Impressionist painter and printmaker, a descendant of the Counts of Toulouse and Lautrec. He is also very famous for his advertisement posters.

WASSILY KANDINSKY

Wassily Wassilyevich Kandinsky (December 4 (16), 1866, Moscow — December 13, 1944, Neuilly-sur-Seine, France) was an influential Russian painter, printmaker and art theorist. He is credited with painting one of the first purely abstract works. He was among the founders of the Blue Rider group and taught in Bauhaus.

KAZIMIR MALEVICH

Kazimir Severinovich Malevich (Pol. Kazimierz Malewicz, February 11 (23), 1879[2], Kiev — May 15, 1935, Leningrad) was a Russian and Soviet avant-gard painter, teacher, art theorist and philosopher of Polish origin. He is also known as the founder of Suprematism, i.e. one of the first manifestations of abstract art in history.

AMEDEO MODIGLIANI

Amedeo Clemente Modigliani (July 12, 1884, Livorno, Italy — January 24, 1920, Paris, France) was an Italian painter and sculptor, one of the most famous painters of the late 19th century and early 20th century, and a prominent expressionist painter.