Camille Pissaro – The Hermitage at Pontoise (1867): traditional composition; clear distinctions between foreground and background, architectural and landscape elements; within the tradition of Salon painting.
Edouard Manet – Before the Mirror (1876): face and identity remain unknown; brushwork unites the picture surface, blurring distinctions of space and modeling; no attempt to finish in a traditional sense.
Edgar Degas – Dancers in Green and Yellow (1903): use pastel not so much to draw as to paint, applying layer upon layer of brilliant color.
Pierre-Auguste Renoir – Woman with Parrot (1871): his friend Lise; dark green walls and plants, a heavy and formal Second Empire interior style; consistent with his formal, static composition in late 60s and early 70s; predates his Impressionist style, not yet reflect high-key tonality and shimmering patterns of light.
Georges Seurat – Seated Woman (1883): use of “divided” rather than mixed colors; woman’s dress contains touches of the opposite colors, the strokes of pigment on her face likewise; omitted any indication of a horizontal line or sky; unified surface pattern; palette and brushwork demonstrates Pissarro’s influence.
Paul Cezanne – Man with Crossed Arms (1899): acuteness and restless of his upward gaze; slight different from another version in Collection Mrs. Carleton Mitchell, Annapolis, Maryland.
Vincent van Gogh – Mountains at Saint-Remy (1889): where he was a patient; powerful, thick strokes,directional movement and expressive energy; this and other Saint-Remy landscapes, while still bold, have become noticeably more restrained than in previous years.
Paul Gauguin – In the Vanilla Grove, Man and Horse (1891): Tahiti; dense foliage conceals two female figures; man and horse, boldly outlined forms derived from West Frieze of the Parthenon; foreground abstract color areas, tapestry-like background compress space; surface patterns; like van Gogh, sought bright light.
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec – Au Salon (1893): Art Nouveau style; one of the many studies of brothel life; acute observation of detail; penchant for choosing scenes from the daily routine as subject matter; an atmosphere heavy with boredom.
Henri Rousseau – The Football Players (1908): a rare work among his basically static paintings; a perspectival framework; something ballet-like in the stylized poses; stiffness of gestures echoed by the four trees in background; an otherwordly environment.
Edouard Vuillard – Place Vintimille (1908-10): painted for playwright Henry Bernstein; a recurrent subject after 1907; details of life; used cardboard in early years for reasons of economy, continued to paint with this medium, favored the absorbency and matt tonality.
Paul Bonnard – Dining Room on the Garden (1934-35): theme of still life in front of window, frequent in Matisse and Picasso; glowing colors, distinctive value contrasts; his wife often felt in his pictures; windows, a visually logical transition between warm-toned interior and the cool blues outside.
Aristide Maillol – Pomona with Lowered Arms (Late 1920s): derive from Greek art, but figure type is women of his native Banyuls; the earliest was of raised arms; the position altered in late 1920s.
Henri Matisse – The Italian Woman (1916): figure emerges from the flat canvas, presses against its vertical boundaries; rework clearly visible in the present picture; plays upon contrast between left and right, foreground and background, three-dimensional figure and two-dimensional surface.
Georges Braque – Landscape Near Antwerp (1906): his first Fauve works, impressed by Matisse; a vivid harmony that derives not from the actual landscape but from the imaginative world; the following year marks the beginning of his Cubist style.
Georges Braque – Violin and Palette; Piano and Mandola (1909-10): classic examples of the early phase of Cubism; fragmentation permitted him to establish a spatial element as well as movement; both still lifes exist in rather shallow space; limiting use of pictorial element, concentrated on a new conception of space.
Pablo Picasso – Woman Ironing (1904): expressive pose undoubtedly derive from Degas’s work; still retains some of the somber tonality of his Blue Period; both neutral colors and angular figure express poverty; the model appears in several of his canvases of 1904.
Pablo Picasso – Accordionist (1911): analytical Cubism; monochromatic color, shallow space; traditional relationship between figure and ground has been destroyed, replaced by a unified pictorial configuration; light emanating from the forms themselves.
Pablo Picasso – Mandolin and Guitar (1924): at least nine still lifes during the summers of 1924 and 1925, with similar motif, an arrangement of objects on a centrally situated table in front of an open window; bold, bright colors, live patterns of tablecloth, sky and clouds, contribute to the picture’s vitality.
Fernand Leger – The Smokers (1911-12): dynamic Cubism than to static Cubism of Braque and Picasso; volumes of smoke contrasts with the flat, angular planes of trees, buildings and faces; a decidedly upward movement; smoke as a subject, within the wider context of an interest in atmospheric phenomena.
Fernand Leger – Woman Holding a Vase (1927): an outstanding example of his attempt to treat human figures with the same plasticity as objects or machines; no longer a figure but an architecture of forms.
Fernand Leger – The Great Parade (1954): a year before his death; the culmination of several themes developed over the preceding fifteen years; made hundreds of preparatory studies for the figures; imposed free color areas; a synthesis of color, form, and rhythm.
Juan Gris – Houses in Paris (1911): stylistic development evolved toward Cubism in an individual manner, revealed influence of Cezanne; slight flattening of the building, titled angle, the emphasis on line.
Francis Picabia – The Child Carburetor (1919): machinist style; altered the actual diagram to suggest two sets of male and female sex organs and to produce a machine that could not work.
Marcel Duchamp – Apropos of Litter Sister (1911): light colors accentuated by texture of canvas itself; angularity of forms suggests Cubism; his early influenced by Cezanne, the Fauves, and the Symbolists.
Frantisek Kupka – Planes by Colors, Large Nude (1909-10): not allied with any artistic movement; eliminated three-dimensional modeling, constructed figure with color areas; a pivotal work which points in the direction of abstraction.
Robert Delaunay – Saint-Severin No.3 (1909-10): a view that enabled to depict tipping arches and bulging columns; paint colors modified by the light emanating from the stained-glass windows; reminiscent of Cezanne’s palette.
Robert Delaunay – Simultaneous Windows (2nd Motif, 1st Part) (1912): overlapping transparent planes of pure color, perceived simultaneously; simultaneity, a popular concept about 1912 to 1914.
Ernst Lugwig Kirchner – Gerda, Half-Length Portrait (1914): before outbreak of WWI; assertive pose enhanced by angular stylizations in the background; tension between three-dimensional form representation and two-dimensional picture plane.
Oskar Kokoschka – Knight Errant (1915): self portrait, before served in WWI; two small figures, bird-man also resembles him, sphinx woman represents his mistress; symbolize the end of relationship; ES refer to “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani;” agitated brushwork, disturbing colors emphasize emotional content.
Egon Schiele – Portrait of Johann Harms (1916): his father-in-law; unlike many other Expressionist paintings, somber, almost monochromatic; color values used in hierarchical manner; skeletal hands, deeply furrowed brow express weariness of old age; but the pose, the tenderness, soften the image, a melancholy peace.
Vasily Kandinsky – Blue Mountain (1908-9): a traditional period in his career; identifiable forms lost their impact as representational images, moved far in the direction of abstraction.
Vasily Kandinsky – Painting with White Border (1937): a translation of impressions he received on his most recent visit to Moscow; white border is his solution to a compositional problem in completing picture.
Vasily Kandinsky – Several Circles (1926): resemble transparent gels; those that overlap with others change color at the point of intersection; for him the circle represents a development in cosmic evolution parallel to that of spirit taking the form of matter.
Franz Marc – Yellow Cow (1911): a transitional stage between his earlier more naturalistic treatment and later stylized flattening of objects into planes; colors have symbolic values, blue is male principle, yellow is female, red is matter, must be fought and overcome by the other two.
Paul Klee – The Bavarian Don Giovanni (1919): reminiscent of Delaunay’s Windows, a painting he admired; planes can be seen as theatrical curtains, force the viewer to shift from the realm of visual perception to that of the imagination; these names, characteristically Bavarian, might refer to girls he once knew.
Paul Klee – Red Balloon (1922): imaginary architectures, illusionary perspectives, among his major themes; specific reference reduced to minimum, purely abstract compositions of colored rectangles.
Paul Klee – New Harmony (1936): one of a series paintings called “magic squares;” it reflects his study of musical harmony; firmly anchored into a rigorous grid pattern, arranged according to the principle of inverted bilateral symmetry.
Gino Severini – Red Cross Train Passing a Village (1915): Futurists, celebrate beauty, dynamism of machine and modern life; small brushstrokes, applied rapidly, slanted in varying directions, a vivid sense of motion; feeling of the locomotive’s power heightened by billowing white smoke, sharp-edged landscape fragments.
Marc Chagall – Paris Through the Window (1913): not represent what he could see from his studio; Eiffel Tower, metaphor for Paris, cat with human head, man with two faces, upside-down train, belong to his fantasy; create a psychic reality by destroying logical reality.
Marc Chagall – Green Violist (1923-24): violist personifies not just music but arts in general; chose the green color for “psychic and plastic” reasons, said that green is arbitrary, poetic color.
Constantin Brancusi – King of Kings (1930s): presents problems of dating and difficulties identifying the forms from which it is composed.
Amedeo Modigliani – Nude (1917): approximately twenty-six female nudes between 1916 and 1919; sleeping figure appears self-contained, sensuous, unaware of the viewer; warm flesh color set off on one side, by dark color of the background and the white drapery; head described in a rather stylized manner.
Alexander Archipenko – Medrano II (1913): refer to the famous circus in Paris; multi-material construction; dancer positioned on a base in front of a frame rectangular red-painted background, to control the spectator’s view.
Mikhail Larionov – Glass (1912): his first Rayonist picture; depicted five tumblers, a goblet, two bottles, lines represent rays reflected from the objects; painting “simply glass,” fragility, ease in breaking, sharpness, transparency, brittleness, ability to make sounds, sum of all sensations.
Kazimir Malevich – Morning in the Village After Snowstorm (1912): emphasized volume through the shapes of the cylinder, sphere, and cone; even snowdrifts have been stylized into geometric forms; colors are with an almost metallic and decidedly non-naturalistic cast, suggest those of Leger.
Liubov Popova – Landscape (1914-15): belong within Cubo-Futurist style, painted just before her breakthrough to nonobjective art; marked contrast to French Cubists, restricts bright, bold colors to specific areas of the painting; forms appear volumetric rather than fragmented.
Piet Mondrian – Composition 1916 (1916): his work of the war years characterized by a breakdown of grid into an empirically improvised cross and line pattern, resulting in a punctuated yet uninterrupted flow of space; provoke an opposition or duality of pictorial elements, resolved through a dynamic balance.
Piet Mondrian – Composition 2 (1922): by 1921 reduced his palette to the three primary colors, black and gray-white; simplification of both color and line relationships; mixed small amounts of primary color into the noncolor zones, creating different kinds of chromatic relationships.
Piet Mondrian – Composition I A (1930): about 1930 to 1933, eliminated color in many his compositions; utmost simplicity in which the placement and varying thickness of lines determine the painting’s harmony and rhythm; inherent unity of square transcends the limits of the canvas, completes itself outside the plane.
Theo van Doesburg – Composition XI (1918): a synthesis of Mondrian’s and Van der Leck’s work; arranged the planes over the background to achieve balance through an intuitive rather than systematic method of placement.
Naum Gabo – Column (1923, Reconstructed in 1937): culmination of his search for an image which would fuse the sculptural element with the architectural element into one unit; vertical elements are rectangular constructions within parabolas that are determined by the dimensions of the bases.
Laszolo Moholy-Nagy – A II (1924): sought to redefine painting in terms of modern technology; coeval experiments in camera-less photography, painting on transparent supports, projection of color transparencies on screens; the repitition of the red disc suggests the light projection of a design on two screens.
Kurt Schwitter – Merzbild 5 B (Picture-Red-Heart-Church) (1919): word MERZ cut from an advertisement of KOMMERZ UND PRIVATBANK; cut several pieces of newspaper, pasted them down, covered them with circular and triangular painted areas; drew three images, heart, church, number 69.
Jean Arp – Constellation with Five White Forms and Two Black, Variation III (1932): reduction of color to white and black emphasizes the flat wood shapes superimposed on the wood background; a cluster of disparate objects which form a system yet are held apart from one another by the interaction of natural forces.
Joan Miro – The Tilled Field (1923-24): structural division into three horizontal areas; a vision of supernatural world; appearance of biomorphism with the isolated eye and ear, juxtaposition of a folded newspaper, a lizard wearing a conic cap, are examples or Surrealist devices.
Joan Miro – Alicia (1965-67, with Josep Llorens Artigas): in memory of Alicia Guggenheim; almost two-hundred ceramic plaques were executed; spontaneous use of black lines recalls his coeval canvases; interwoven letters of Mrs. Guggenheim’s first name into the bold calligraphy.
Alberto Giacometti – Spoon Woman (1926): personal Cubist sculptural style, also reveals the influence of Primitive art and Surrealism; enlargement of the female torso into an oversized, spoonlike hollow, inverted reference to pregnancy, explorations a Surrealist world arising from subconscious dreams and emotions.
Alberto Giacometti – Nose (1947): elongated forms for expressive effect; introduction of a steel cage, located the head within spatial confines, nose protrudes beyond them.
Max Beckmann – Paris Society (1931): fifteen people presented in the room; not only the compressed place but also the bold, black outlines create tensions within the picture.
Matta – Years of Fear (1941): contains changing, amorphous shapes within a landscape space that lacks either topography or a horizontal line; linear patterns establish spatial recession, link various parts of the composition, and contribute a strong stabilizing element.
Rufino Tamayo – Woman in Grey (1959): combines austerity and a warm earthiness of palette, with a female figure reminiscent of Picasso’s work of late 1920s; stylized contour of the woman’s body is repeated in the decorative background pattern.
Jean Dubuffet – Will to Power (1946): seen against “a sky of trivial and violent blue;” stocky, muscular man presents an image of masculine brutality; used a variety of materials to create the coarse, gritty, heavily impastoed surface; title refers to a central concept in the philosophy of Nietzsche.
Jean Dubuffet – Nunc Stans (1965): part of a commission for wall decorations; smooth surface, bold, decorative quality, pattern of interlocking pictographs, typical of the Hourloupe cycle; in this cycle traditional figure-ground relationship is destroyed, instead there is a play of image against image.
Francis Bacon – Three Studies for a Crucifixion (1962): not a religious subject but the ultimate example of man’s inhumanity to man; triptych format allows for the expression of simultaneity without implying any narrative sequence.
Asger Jorn – Green Ballet (1960): bright colors applied in seeming frenzy, control established by the large sweeping movements and the asymmetrically balanced color shapes; a sense of genesis, produced by the balance between creative and destructive forces.
Richard Hamilton – The Solomon R. Guggenheim (Black); (Black and White); (Spectrum) (1965-66): Black and White version accentuates the projecting spiral bands; Black relief, reflections of surrounding environment; the last example, seen at the bottom of the rainbow.
Alexander Calder – Red Lily Pads (1956): the large scale activates Guggenheim’s interior space; the suspension of abstract shapes exemplifies mobility and freedom.
Josef Albers – Homage to the Square: Apparition (1959): an arrangement of four nested squares; avoid complementary colors, shunned strong color contrasts; colors come forward like sunlight shining through a window.
Hans Hofmann – The Gate (1959-60): vivid radiant colors and a sense of weight and density of paint; rectangular planes of colors placed on canvas, to produce rhythm and tension between force and counterforce equivalent to that found in nature.
Joseph Cornell – Space Object Box: “Little Bear, Etc.” Motif (Mid 1950s – Early 1960s): representation of Northern Sky with Little Dipper; ball on the rods implies movement of the sun, ring suggests the orbits of planets around the sun; isolate and juxtapose disparate objects, formulated new relationships of space and time.
Willem de Kooning – Composition (1955): belong the period of transition from figure to landscape to abstraction; contains suggestions of female anatomy displaced and ambiguously rearranged on the picture plane; not solely focus on the two basic red forms but on the spaces between them as well.
Jackson Pollock – Ocean Greyness (1953): his late work, postdates his development of poured and dripped paint; emergent imagery of eyes; the surface pulsates with rhythmic energy; turbulence is emotional rather than merely oceanic.
Mark Rothko – Violet, Black, Orange, Yellow on White and Red (1949): united color with space, light, and form; tension resulted from colors pushing forward and pulling back; his luminous colors radiate from the canvas.
Adolph Gottlieb – Mist (1961): the palette consist of delicate nuances ranging from white and pale gray to blackish gray; interested in exploring the infinite and peculiar variations on the relationship between top and bottom elements of his compositions.
Franz Kline – Painting No.7 (1952): used housepainters’ brushes in varying widths; he did not consider his paintings as black figures on white grounds but as a conflict between the white and black that resolved itself into a final unity; the reduction of color was a way of concentrating on the essentials.
Isamu Noguchi – The Cry (1959): sought to convey a sense of lightness and weightlessness in balsa wood sculptures; presents abstract shapes in asymmetrical alignment; the lateral element appear precariously suspended, it is attached so it can move very slightly, responding to air currents and vibrations.
Louise Nevelson – Luminous Zag: Night (1971): black paints unifies the large number of components and contributes an element of regularity to the multiplicity of shapes within the total composition; strongly horizontal emphasis punctuated with occasional verticals.
David Smith – Cubi XXVII (1965): geometric forms achieve an asymmetrical balance and great stability; chose burnished, reflective surfaces that respond to the changing colors and light of their surroundings, the reflective properties deny the solidity and weight implied by the massive forms.
Robert Rauschenberg – Untitled (1963): three-dimensional elements projecting from the surface and giving the work a greater physical presence; stands at the beginning of his exploration of multiple, mechanically reproduced images.
Andy Warhol – Orange Disaster (1963): used a photomechanical silk-screen process, removed from the act of painting; one image is replicated fifteen times but each frame varies somewhat; electric chair, emotionally charged object, marked contrast to the anonymity, detachment and mechanical repetition of his method.
Roy Lichtenstein – Preparedness (1968): “a muralesque painting about our military-industrial complex;” three large panels united by strong diagonals and geometric compositional elements, by use of primary colors, by the use of Ben Day dots that uniformly articulate the canvases.
Morris Louis – Saraband (1959): expanded upon Pollock’s stylistic and technical breakthrough; successive washes of bright colors followed by a final dark layer, canvas absorbed colors, creating a stained, translucent surface; superseded the traditional figure-ground relationship, united color, form, texture and movement.
Ellsworth Kelly – Blue, Green, Yellow, Orange, Red (1966): increasing the scale of unmodulated expanses of bright, highly saturated hues and eliminating any trace of brushwork, makes color area synonymous with the shape of canvas; each five functions simultaneously as an integral unit within the whole.
Richard Estes – The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (1979): took dozens of color photographs, selected three views upon which he based the composition; works slowly to achieve the desired clarity of light and the proper relationship between elements; his only time set out to paint a specific, well-known building.