JF Ptak Science Books Post 2157
"Colour is the keyboard, the eyes are the hammers, the soul is the piano with many strings. The artist is the hand which plays, touching one key or another, to cause vibrations in the soul"--W. Kandinsky, Concerning the Spiritual in Art, translated by Michael T. H. Sadler, 1912.
I'm not sure exactly when the first published non-represntational/purely abstract book illustrations appear--perhaps it is with the Kandinsky book in 1912. Kandinsky is widely seen as being probably the first to produce art where there was "nothing" of the physical/representational world recognizable in the artwork--this around 1910/11. The trend was widely seen in the Impressionist movement of the 1860's/70's+ (and with James Whistler 30 and forty years earlier) though finding art like this in book form published contemporarily with the artwork itself is a fairly rare event. By later 1911 and through 1912 completely non-representational painting was seen in the work of many, including Gelizes, Delauny, Kupka, Dove, Picabia, and others.
What I found particularly interesting in this image by Natalia Goncharova (1881-1962) was that not only was it a book/pamphlet illustration, but it was on the cover, as well. I know this must be very early for artwork such as this to be published in a book, but it strikes me as being very unusual that it is straight-away the first thing you see.
Гончарова, Наталия Сергеевна (1881 - 1962). Выставка картин Наталии Сергеевны Гончаровой. 1900-1913. / Наталия Гончарова. - 2-е изд. - М. : Типо-лит. В. Рихтер, 1913. - 12 с.; 3 л. ил.
- Goncharova, Natalia S. (1881 - 1962). Exhibition of paintings by Natalia Goncharova. 1900-1913. / Natalia Goncharova. - 2nd ed. - M.: Frame lit. B. Richter, 1913. - 12. 3 liters.
"Russian painter, stage designer, printmaker and illustrator. She was a leading artist of the Russian avant-garde in the early 20th century but became a celebrity in the West through her work for serge Diaghilev and the Ballets russes. During the 1920s she played a significant role within the Ecole de Paris and continued to live and work in France until her death."-- 2009 Oxford University Press
The following two paragraphs are quotes from Oxford Art Online:
"During 1913 Goncharova entered her most productive period, painting dozens of canvases. In her Neo-primitive works she continued to explore the styles of Eastern and traditional Russian art forms (see Neo-primitivism), but she also experimented with Cubo-Futurism and adopted Larionov’s new abstract style of Rayism, which she claimed to have elaborated (see Rayist Composition, c. 1912–3). In a magnificent series of Rayist Forest paintings Goncharova examined the possibilities of abstraction and non-objectivity. Rayist Forest (1913; Lugano, Col. Thyssen-Bornemisza) has a strikingly splintered style, while Blue and Green Forest (1913; Basle, Gal. Beyeler) is a completely non-objective experiment in colour, form and dynamism. In August 1913 Goncharova attracted international attention with a one-woman exhibition of over 700 works. As a preface to the catalogue she published a manifesto, which is important as a statement of her attitudes, aims and objectives at this point in her career. In a provocative Neo-primitive vein she dismissed Western art in scathing terms, claiming that the indigenous art forms of her own country were more profound and important than anything in the West, and she declared her intention to turn towards the East and its art forms in order to broaden her outlook."
"During this period Goncharova, like Larionov, was closely associated with the literary avant-garde. She illustrated several Russian Futurist books by Aleksey Kruchonykh and Velimir Khlebnikov, while the young poet Il’ya Zdanevich (1894–1975) wrote the first monograph on the artist. Both Goncharova and Larionov gained public notoriety through their Futurist activities. Goncharova appeared in shocking cabaret reviews and starred in a Russian Futurist film. Her work seldom lacked controversy. In 1909 the police had confiscated several paintings depicting male models from her first one-woman exhibition on charges of indecency. At the same time her participation in international exhibitions increased her reputation abroad. Woman with Hat (1913; Paris, Pompidou) is a Cubo-Futurist tour de force, in which the painting is spangled with multi-coloured ostrich plumes, dismembered facial features, numbers, letters and bars of music. In the Sturm Autumn Salon in Berlin the painting rivalled the finest achievements of her Western colleagues."