ATHENS, GA.- The Georgia Museum of Art
at the University of Georgia presents Cercle et Carré and the International Spirit of Abstract Art, the first major exhibition in the United States devoted to the art and activities of the group Cercle et Carré, from Oct. 12, 2013, through Jan. 5, 2014. The exhibition will allow visitors the opportunity to view a dynamic assembly of abstract works of art rarely seen as a group and seldom discussed in relation to one another for more than 80 years, said Lynn Boland, Pierre Daura Curator of European Art at the museum, who organized the exhibition.
Cercle et Carré (which translates as Circle and Square) was founded in 1929 by Belgian artist and critic Michel Seuphor (19011999), Uruguayan-Catalan artist Joaquín Torres-García (18741949) and Catalan-American artist Pierre Daura (18961976). Consisting of about 80 artists, the group formed in opposition to Surrealism and, in its own words, to promote structure and construction. Members including Wassily Kandinsky, Le Corbusier, Fernand Léger, Piet Mondrian, Kurt Schwitters and Sophie Taueber-Arp sought to develop the theories of abstract art first advocated in the circles of Russian Constructivism and Dutch De Stijl. In addition to publishing a periodical to broadcast its theories and feature its works, the group staged an international exhibition of abstract art in Paris from April 18 to May 1, 1930. Now recognized as a landmark event in the history of modernism in general and abstraction in particular, the exhibition included 130 works by 46 members of the group, diverse in nationality, style and medium. According to Boland, A compelling aspect of the Cercle et Carré group was its democratic nature. Its members were male and female, emerging and established, from Western and Eastern Europe, North and South America and Russia.
Organized around the works displayed in the original 1930 Paris venue and featured in the three issues of the groups periodical, Cercle et Carré and the International Spirit of Abstract Art offers an alternative to previous exhibitions that have categorized modern art by nation, an approach that further isolates and privileges only popular artists in the field. The exhibition reunites some works from the 1930 exhibition and includes work by 31 of the 46 participating artists, preserving the democratic character of the group. Lenders include the Centre Pompidou in Paris and the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, among other institutions.
A catalogue published by the museum accompanies the exhibition. Because Cercle et Carré is seldom discussed in depth, especially in English-language publications, this catalogue presents new research and a new perspective on important works by both major and lesser-known artists.