Thursday, September 24, 2009

Abstract Painting influenced by Science?

I just read an interesting theory about the radical shift in thinking and the conception of reality that took place at the turn of the 20th century in Modern Art.

To quote from 'Painting in the Twentieth Century' by Werner Haftmann, - " Dates seem to suggest that some kind of connection exists between science and painting. The radical changes in painting took place between 1900 and 1910. Significant dates are: 1905 Fauvism; 1907 Cubism; 1910 the first abstract painting. A concordance of of dates important in the history of science runs thus: 1900 Planck's quantum theory; and Freud's Interpretation of Dreams; 1905 Einstein's special theory of relativity; 1908 Minkowski's mathematical formulation of the dimensions of space-time."

Many artists such as Klee, Kandinsky, Delaunay and others have stated that their encounters with the discoveries of natural science often threw light upon their own intuitive and artistic activity.

What do you think? That there was a close connection between the new discoveries in science and the radical shifts in the way art was viewed by the prominent and well read artists of these early periods of the 20th century? I think so.


  1. Fascinating stuff! I'd be interested to know if the artists and scientists were spending time together?

  2. Thanks for your interest and comments. The artists and scientists were not spending time together, but artists such as Paul Klee and many others spoke about their encounters with natural science which threw light on their intuitive and artistic work. Many were art teachers and had access to scientific journals and would have had conversations with colleagues about the new discoveries taking place. Errol.