In the early years of the 20th century a handful of European artists including the Russians Wassily Kandinsky and Kazimar Malevich, the Dutchman Piet Mondrian, and a lesser-known Swedish woman named Hilma af Klint began producing art with no attempt to represent external reality. Rather, they used shapes, forms, color, and textures to make their art, and at first their endeavors were seen as a hard-to-define artistic trend. But eventually these early outliers were recognized as pioneers in what become the growing cannon of abstract art.
I love looking at art and there are many artists whose work I admire – Caravaggio, Lautrec, Alice Neel and Lucien Freud, Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, Renoir and Degas, John Singer Sargent and Thomas Eakins, Chagall, Andrew Wyeth, Andy Warhol, Franz Marc, Goya and Velasquez, Edward Hopper, Modigliani, Mary Cassatt and Berthe Morisot, Cezanne, Raphael Soyer and Ben Shahn, Will Barnett and Jacob Lawrence, Picasso, Magritte, Max Beckmann and Otto Dix, Van Gogh, and my favorite artist Edouard Manet.
I don’t know what, if anything, all those artists have in common, but you’ll notice none is an abstractionist. I don’t like abstract art, I don’t understand it, and can’t help looking for a story line or some deeper meaning when I see an abstract painting.
Once in a museum I was standing in front of a large canvas entirely painted blue and I told a docent I was having a hard time figuring out what it was about.
“Perhaps you can think of it simply as about the color blue.”, she suggested.
So I tried, but I had no eureka moment about the color blue.
Recently when our friend Belinda was visiting from abroad we took her to MOMA and were looking at the famous Jackson Pollack that my husband loves.
“I don’t like this painting.”, I told her. “Where my husband sees energy and excitement, I just see chaos.”
”Of course you don’t like it,” she said, “you’re the neat, organized type, when you see a mess you want to clean it up.”
Belinda was right! But tell me honestly, which painting do you like better?
This one …
… or this one?
Dana Susan Lehrman
This retired librarian loves big city bustle and cozy country weekends, friends and family, good books and theatre, movies and jazz, travel, tennis, Yankee baseball, and writing about life as she sees it on her blog World Thru Brown Eyes!