The headline revelation emerging from Hilma af Klint: Paintings for the Future at the Guggenheim Museum is that a Swedish woman, born in 1862, was making ravishing abstract paintings on an enormous scale several years ahead of the modern artists usually credited with inventing abstraction -- men such as Wassily Kandinsky, Piet Mondrian, Kazimir Malevich and Frantisek Kupka
The gallery shows the likes of the Czech cubist Frantisek Kupka
, represented here by a 1932 gouache Etude de la serie 'Circulaires et rectilignes'.
Alert to wider contexts, she remains closely focused on the artistic production of Kees Van Dongen, Maurice de Vlaminck, Pablo Picasso, Juan Gris and Frantisek Kupka
. This evades generalisations and fulfils two aims: the revision of widespread misconceptions of Anglo-American literary modernism as 'conservative and even reactionary' (p 178), and the representation of anarchism as complex and multifaceted, contra the persistent stereotype constituency of 'bomb-throwers' (p 8, p 178).
Work shown includes that of Toni Stadler, Marino Marini, Auguste Herbin, Fritz Glarner, and Frantisek Kupka
. Courtesy of Archiv Stadt Kassel.
Inspired by the two-dimensional abstract art of Frantisek Kupka
and Robert Delaunay that he had seen in Europe in 1909, Wright has here, paradoxically, used the traditional craft of stained glass to create a work that reflects the emergence of abstract art.
Formally, his image vocabulary is perhaps more closely tied to these of Hilma at Klint and Frantisek Kupka
, though at no point does Helbig limit himself to mere paraphrase.
In the past, the museum has presented renowned artists including Paul Klee, Andy Warhol, Frantisek Kupka
and Kasimir Malevich, as well as upcoming artists like Fabian Marcaccio, Fred Sandback and Monika Sosnowska.
In Nocturnal Wonders works include Frantisek Kupka
's The Passage of Silence II of 1903 and Johann Baptist Zwecker's Young Love in which a ghoulish figure plays music on a gravestone as others recount the tales of lost love that took them to an early grave.
The sad history of early 20th century Czech painting, beginning with Frantisek Kupka
's strange journey from Symbolism to abstraction and soon petering out in a thin mix of derivative modernism and folksiness, is illustrated in depth.
As pointed out by Reznikow, out of it came artists of the magnitude of Frantisek Kupka
and Alfons Mucha.
's Abstract Composition (Galerie de la Presidence) is dated to around 1930, just before he became a founder-member of the Abstraction-Creation group; its floating planes of watercolour demonstrate just how far he had travelled from figuration.