The emergence of abstraction was a key process in the development of modern art. Yet artists deploying the stylistic resources of representation were also a major influence – as this exhibition demonstrates through a series of masterful works from the collection, some of which are rarely shown.
In the late 19th century, for example, Félix Vallotton captured the visible world with a precision worthy of the Old Masters, but also laid bare its fragility with the acuity of a psychologist. At the same time, the ‘naive’ autodidact Henri Rousseau depicted exquisitely neat, visionary worlds of the imagination (also represented in the exhibition are the late ‘naive’ artists André Bauchant, Camille Bombois, Élie Lascaux and Grandma Moses). After the First World War, representational description of the world took a different turn with ‘New Objectivity’ (examples include Niklaus Stoecklin and Adolf Dietrich). And even Surrealism (René Magritte, Salvador Dalí) repeatedly drew on the resources of representational art to depict the unconscious.
Supported by Albers & Co AGall images © the gallery and the artist(s)