Modern Art Influenced by Vision
In 1896, Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944) sees Monet’s “Haystacks” in a touring exhibition in St. Petersburg. Monet’s paintings have a great impact on Kandinsky’s artistic development towards abstraction. According to Kandinsky:
“The painting showed itself to me in all its fantasy and all its enchantment. Deep within me the first doubt arose about the importance of the object as a necessary element in a picture.”
Instead of referring to the outer world, Kandinsky’s objects correspond to their subjective mood and their “inner nature”. In doing so, his objects become non-fixed and independent from the traditional modes of representation, which aim to depict the illusion of third dimensional space with naturalistic colors. In 1910, only 14 years later, Kandinsky is among the first to paint a completely non-representational abstract painting.
Modern art, while startlingly new, receives much inspiration from the past. Newton’s ideas about color, for example, inspire a modern series of paintings by Frantisek Kupka. Moreover, perhaps under the stimulus of Goethe in 1910-11, Franz Marc paints his dog Russi as seen through a prism, and he records colored fringes at the junctions of light and dark.