Ralph Larmann

Art Department

University of Evansville

ART 340 Painting
FALL 2004

Instructed by Ralph Larmann
Office: FA203 / Hours: 8-10 am MWF or by appointment

back to: early modern painting Painting in the 20th Century

The Red Room
oil on canvas
by Henri Matisse

Les Demoiselles d'Avignon
oil on canvas
by Pablo Picasso

Composition with Red, Blue, and Yellow
De Stijl
oil on canvas
by Piet Mondrian

Modernism was a movement that started around 1880 and ended in 1980. It was characterized by its theoretical approach to art. "Art for art's sake" was a term which exemplified this movement because it basically said that art should be examined further to find out more about itself. The Modernists worked on theories of color, spirituality, universality, psychology, perception and the idea behind the art sometimes became more important than the image produced.

-worked from ideas in psychology like Faber Birren's Psychology of Color. Birren found that people reacted differently when exposed to different colors. For instance, red made people hungry; blue was a calming color; etc.

the Fauves
-means "wild beasts" in French, referring to use of wild color and flat planes
-associated with the work of Cezanne
-Andre Derain's on the Thames

Henri Matisse
-used flat planes and bright vivid color. He was most interested in planes.

Portrait of Mdme. Matisse (the Green Stripe), 1905, oil on canvas, 16"x 12"
-used light that is reflected from different sources
-complementary colors are used
-portrait of Matisse1s wife

Vassily Kandinsky
-believed that colors had a spiritual quality and that sounds could be associated with particular colors
-believed that good art was a reflection of good moral character in an artist

Painting Number 201, 1914, oil on canvas, 5'4"x 4'
-based on a "symphony of colors"
-used abstract lines and shapes

-was developed as a way to show all sides of an object in a two-dimensions
-developed by Georges Braque but made most public by Picasso
-analytical Cubism worked with paint, synthetic Cubism used collaged objects.

-Spanish artist who worked in expressionist and cubist movements

Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, 1907, oil on canvas, 8'x 7'8"
-influence from African masks
-picture of prostitutes in Avignon, France done in harsh, primitive way

Three Musicians, 1921, oil on canvas, 6'7"x 7'3"
-flattened abstracted forms
-arranged in rhythmic patterns
-slight diagonals add to rhythms

Guernica, 1937, oil on canvas, 11'6"x 25'6"
-painting memorializing first saturation bombing of a civilian area
-Picasso stipulated that the painting not be returned to Spain until democratic rule was restored

De Stijl Painting (the style)
This abstractionist movement was based in the idea that a "universal" aesthetic be produced. The members of the movement abstracted the world by using vertical lines (man) and horizontal lines (the horizon) to produce a grid. From their perspective, they are creating a form of art that has no basis in any other aesthetic tradition, i.e., African, Asian, etc.. Members of the movement include Piet Mondrian and Theo Van Doesburg, both Dutch artists.


Abstract Expressionism
by Jackson Pollock

Late 20th Century Painting

Abstract Expressionism
-first truly American art movement began and was developed in New York
-based on abstraction and energetic gestural and painterly way of working
-reflected the "wild" brash American spirit

Jackson Pollock
-Abstract Expressionist who worked with a dripping process using house paint called Action Painting.
-was trying to create a universally acceptable painting style that others may be able to emulate, that would fit into any culture/environment.

Lavender Mist, enamels, 1954, detail.

Mark Rothko
-Abstract Expressionist who worked with the idea of spirituality in his work
-layered oil paints to create a psychological and spiritual void where one could meditate
-like Abbot Suger and Kandinsky, Rothko saw a close relationship between aesthetic experiences and spiritual experiences

Pop Art
by Robert Rauschenberg

Pop Art
-Pop artists were interested in raising mundane everyday things to heroic proportions

Andy Warhol
-artist who took images from popular culture, soup cans, etc. and through his art gave them greater than usual importance
-used a workshop of artists who mass-produced work, just like a factory (so he emulated the manufacturing process for everyday items in the art process)
-recognized cultural icons (Elvis, Marilyn Monroe, etc.) and used them as heroic figures by mass producing their images (just like the Greek ideal human forms)

Postmodern Painting
Postmodernism is the term most associated with the art which has been done since around 1980. The works of this movement are characterized by their subjectivism, regional character, interest in social and political issues, and their eclectic character. It is basically a reaction against the simplicity and theoretical nature of the Modernist movement. Postmodernist artists draw from a variety of historical sources that are Modernist, Classical, Prehistoric, Asian, Hispanic, African, etc.

Robert Rauschenberg who was originally associated with the Pop Art Movement of the 1960's and 70's is truly a Postmodernist. He has set up a non-profit organization called ROCI (Rauschenberg Overseas Cultural Interchange) through which he funds projects which involve cultural interactions. His works are conglomerations of images and objects which identify a culture. He did a number of works in the 60's dealing with JFK and the NASA space program.

Odalisk, c. 1960, sculpture

Super Realist Painting
The artists Chuck Close, Richard Estes, and Ralph Goings did works which describe the world in its most believable way. Their works are so realistic that they actuallly allow a viewer to see more than they would normally be able to with the naked eye.

The last ten years has seen the rise of Neo-Expressionism (Kiefer), Grafitti Art (Haring, Basquiat), and a host of other small regional movements. Art today draws from every conceivable source and exists in the most basic conceptual context to the most primitive and immediate. It really depends on the artist's intention, the ideas that they want to communicate, and the need to create and discover.

Web sites of some significant living painters

Guerrilla Girls
Faith Ringgold
Hung Liu
Jennifer Bartlett
Elizabeth Murray
Roger Shimomura

Contact Ralph Larmann

© copyright 2004 by Ralph M. Larmann, all rights reserved.