The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Monday, June 18, 2018

Paths to Abstraction Opens at the Art Gallery of New South Wales
André Derain, Three figures on the grass, 1906. Oil on canvas, 38 x 55. Musee d'Art Moderne de la ville de Paris.

SYDNEY.- One of the most ambitious exhibitions the Art Gallery of New South Wales has ever undertaken, Paths to abstraction will include more than 150 pivotal works by some of the most influential pioneers of modernism, spanning 50 years when paintings, drawings and prints edged their way by degrees towards purely non-representational images.

Curator Terence Maloon has secured representative works of more than 40 of the leading artists of the late 19th and 20th centuries including Whistler, Monet, Cézanne, Matisse, Munch, Gauguin, Picasso, Kandinsky, Klee, Derain, Denis, Marc, Duchamp, Braque, Bonnard and Mondrian among others.

These works are from 59 institutions including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; National Gallery of Art, Washington; Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice; Museu Picasso Barcelona; Centre National d’Art et de Culture Georges Pompidou; Tate Modern; Tate Britain; Kunstmuseum Bern; J Paul Getty Museum and Victoria & Albert Museum as well as private collections.

In the first decades of the 20th century, a radical new approach to art emerged almost simultaneously across Europe and the United States: abstraction. Yet abstraction was never a ‘movement’, it didn’t originate in one place, nor was it practised by one cohesive group of artists.

So how had these artists arrived at such a convergence?

How had abstract art taken root so quickly?

Paths to abstraction explores the avant-garde movements and artists of the late 19th and early 20th centuries that preceded and paved the way for purely abstract art.

Non-representational paintings are first shown in a large, mixed exhibition in Paris. A senior member of the municipal council writes an open letter to the Ministry of the Arts protesting at ‘the housing of such horrors in a national monument’. The controversy becomes so heated that the disputed works are shown on the Gaumont newsreels. But abstract art has its defenders as well. In February 1912, the poet and art critic Guillaume Apollinaire writes an article about it:

If the aim of art remains what it has always been – to serve the pleasure of the eyes – then, from now on, art lovers shall be expected to find a different pleasure in art from the pleasure they procure from the spectacle of natural things.

We are heading towards an entirely new art. It will be related to painting (painting as it has been conceived until now) as music is related to literature. It will be pure painting, just as music is pure literature.

The First World War is drawing to an end. The Russian Revolution breaks out. The jazz age begins. Abstract art is five years old. Many of its supreme masterpieces have already been created. The most radical implications of its various freedoms have been grasped and acted upon. The expanded parameters of modern art have been staked out. Abstraction is now an international phenomenon: in France, the Netherlands, Switzerland, the United States, Great Britain, Germany, Russia, Italy and Portugal, it has become a feature of contemporary cultural life. But how did this situation come to pass? What were its origins?

James McNeill Whistler re-titles his paintings, giving them abstract titles. Symphony in white no III is the first work to be shown in public with this sort of title. From that point on, Whistler’s titles serve to draw attention to the formal arrangement, the colour harmony, the tonality and mood of his pictures – in other words, he emphasises their abstract qualities. Whistler writes: Art should be independent of all clap-trap – should stand alone and appeal to the artistic sense of the eye or ear, without confounding this with emotions entirely foreign to it – devotion, pity, love, patriotism and the like. All these have no concern with it and that is why I insist on calling my works arrangements and harmonies.

This is the period covered by the exhibition Paths to abstraction, a survey of the evolution towards an entirely non-figurative art. Although many of the artists who are featured never produced entirely abstract paintings, their work, in its time, demonstrated an unprecedented degree of abstraction, and was an inspiration to the first generation of abstract artists: Kandinsky, Mondrian, Malevich, Robert and Sonia Delaunay, Kupka, Larionov, Klee, Arp and Picabia, whose work is also featured.

Art Gallery of New South Wales | "Paths to Abstraction" | Terence Maloon |

Today's News

June 28, 2010

Light and Language by Brigitte Kowanz in Retrospective Opening at MUMOK in Vienna

Paths to Abstraction Opens at the Art Gallery of New South Wales

Steve McCurry Launches New Exhibition at Birmingham Museum

Soviet Dictator Josef Stalin Statue Removed in Georgian Home Town

Fundación Botín Pays Homage to Russia's Valiant Efforts to Conquer Space

Definitive Collection of Collage Series by Mark Bradford Published in New Book

IVAM Celebrates Formula 1 Grand Prix with Installation by Lorenzo Quinn

Poet Laureate Curates Collection Display at Tate Liverpool

Brian Gross Fine Art Opens Ed Moses' Airborne at One Post Street

Contemporary Cuban Art Opens at the Katonah Museum of Art

Ron Mueck and Guy Ben-Ner at Oakville Galleries at Centennial Square

Rackstraw Downes Exhibits at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum

Wall Drawings by David Tremlett for the Gallery of Contemporary Art

Haughton Announces Dealers and Plans for the 22nd Annual International Fine Art & Antique Dealers Show

Decades of Art by Women at the Long Beach Museum of Art

A Useful Dream: African Photography 1960-2010 at Centre for Fine Arts

LACMA to Screen Robert Adanto's Pearls on the Ocean Floor

The Anatomy of Movement: Harold Edgerton- An Interview with the Curators

Vogel Collection and Andy Warhol Polaroids at PAFA

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- Porsche Super Speedster offered for first time in 50 years at RM Sotheby's Porsche 70th Anniversary Auction

2.- Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens opens 'Storytelling: French Art from the Horvitz Collection'

3.- Gauguin: Voyage to Tahiti stars Vincent Cassel as the famed French artist

4.- Stunning colored diamonds expected to dazzle at Heritage Auctions' Summer Fine Jewelry Auction

5.- US designer Kate Spade found dead at 55

6.- Vincent Van Gogh painting sells for over 7 million euros: Artcurial auction house

7.- Sir Stanley Spencer painting discovered hidden under a bed during a drugs raid

8.- Oxford's Bodleian Libraries unveil UK's first major Tolkien exhibition in decades

9.- Major exhibition at the Guggenheim explores decades of work by Alberto Giacometti

10.- World's largest freshwater pearl goes for 320,000 euros

Related Stories

Art Gallery of New South Wales Receives Important Collection from Mollie Gowing

Entombed for Over 2000 Years, Warriors of China's First Emperor, Arrive in Sydney

Tracey Moffatt to Speak at the Art Gallery of New South Wales

Alfred Stieglitz: the Lake George Years on View at the Art Gallery of New South Wales

Victorian Paintings on View at the Art Gallery of New South Wales

Gleeson O'Keefe Foundation Provide Funds to Acquire Sidney Nolan Painting

Art Gallery of New South Wales Exhibition Focuses on Six Photographers

Australian Artist Rupert Bunny's Life in Paris Examined in Exhibition

Australian Artist Pam Hallandal Wins Dobell Prize for Drawing 2009

International Japanese Conceptual Artist Tatzu Nishi Brings 'Home to Art'

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher:Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful