Fantisek Kupka Essay

1551 Words7 Pages
Patricia Rose
Art 300 Dr. Pass
Final Paper
František Kupka: Inventing Orphism

Just after the turn of the 20th century, Frantisek Kupka freed himself from the confines of pictorial representation and pioneered the world of nonobjective abstraction. Kupka exhibited a selection of completely non-figural works at the Salon d’Automne in 1912 including Discs of Newton and Fugue in Red and Blue (both 1912). It was to these pieces Guillaume Apollinaire first applied the term “orphism.” Kupka’s works in the 1910’s then shaped and exemplified Apollinaire’s definition of orphic cubism. Guillaume Apollinaire defined orphism as the art of painting new subjects or structures using elements not found in the “visual sphere,” but instead created
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Consequently, during the 1910’s, Kupka explored composition of color/geometric harmony and contrast through abstraction, often conveying this with musical imagery in his titling such as Nocturne, 1910 [Fig. 1], Fugue in Red and Blue, 1909-1912 [Fig. 2], and Solo of a Brown Line, 1912-1913 [Fig. 3]. Nocturne, although completed two years before the term “orphism” was applied to art, shows Kupka’s early development of abstraction. “Nocturnes” in both music and art are romantic representations of night scenes, where here [Fig. 1] the harmony of color and play of light with these vertical rectangular planes allude to the color palette typically associated with night, however the arrangement has no pictorial resemblance to a landscape or cityscape. Kupka had already been concerned with the use of color as an abstract element in earlier works and most notably a work completed in the same year Yellow Scale which employs the same use of vertical panels. The non-figural nature of these vertical paintings, specifically Nocturne, allows the brilliant color to serve as the aesthetic charm of the painting, but pattern and line composition are crucial elements that seem to take a back seat in this work. By 1912, with the completion of Fugue in Red and Blue [Fig. 2], it seems that Kupka’s approach to painting is becoming less concerned with color theory like that of his neo-impressionist contemporaries and more so with the pure analogous relation of music to painting. In an interview for The New York Times in October of 1913, Kupka was quoted as

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