THREE AMERICAN MODERNIST PAINTERS WHO ADOPTED A FORM OF EUROPEAN ABSTRACTION DEVELOPED BY THE DESTYLL MOVEMENT OF PIET MONDRIAN AND THEO VAN DOESBURG DISPLAYING RUSSIAN CONSTRUCTIVIST ART, CUBIST AND THE EXPRESSIONIST ART OF WASSILY KANDINSKY OF BRIGHT COLOURS, SHARPLY DISSECTED LINES, SQUARES AND SHARP GEOMETRIC SHAPES. AN APPRECIATION OF BURGOYNE DILLER( 1906-1973) GEORGE KL MORRIS (1905- 1975) AND BYRON BROWNE (1907-1961): PART2

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In this second part of my investigation into the art of the 3 modernists , Diller, Morris and Browne  I will further consider the comments of Ann Lee Morgan in her Dictionary of American art and artists. Morgan considers the art of George KL Morris.

” A developed admirer of abstract art he fostered its development over a period of several decades”. [1].

” By the mid-1930’s Morris had developed an eclectic non-representational  approach indebted to a wide range of European Modernists. he assisted in the formation of the American Abstract artists organisation often representing the group as its informal spokesman and served as President between 1948-1950″. [2]

Morgan goes onto explain Morris’s role in various modernist organisations in which he was the prime mover.

” Between 1937-9 he served as editor of the multi lingual plastique which he had helped to found. From 1937-1943 he was a contributing editor for Partisan review ( A left wing contribution in which several members of the Socialist workers party contributed to including Leon Trotsky before he was killed in 1940 by a Stalinist Agent) which her also supported financially and where his art criticism frequently appeared”. [3].

”  Morris’s art echoes at different times nearly all the Modern Masters. yet his interpretation emphasizing  order, clarity and pure form echoes at different times nearly all the modern masters”. [4]

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Morgan continues her commentary on Morris. explaining his wide knowledge and application of Modernism and abstraction.

” His strangest work completed for the most part in the late 1930’s and early 1940’s depends on cubist structure usually realised in hard-edge un modulated shapes , which are dynamically organised often swirling around a central element”. [5].

” Although representational motifs occurred occasionally in this period in the 1950’s and 1960’s they appeared regularly”. [6].

Morgan explains how Morris in his later years started to produce paintings of a geometric nature.

” Over a period of 20 years late in his career Morris produced a number of paintings consisting of small uncompleted geometric shapes arranged in whirling patterns and producing effects that presage pop art”. [7].

” Morris also occasionally tried his hand at sculpture and collage”. [8].

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Socialist Poster During the Spanish Civil War

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Morgan now goes on to deal with Byron Browne the last of our 3  modernists who was  different from Burgoyne and Morris. His images have a figurative quality to them and are less abstract than the images of Morris and Diller.

” Known for abstract still life and figurative themes”. [9]

” During the 1930’s he produced purely non objective arrangements of geometric and biomorphic forms as well as works that continued his engagement with the cubist tradition”.[10].

Morgan shows in a comparative study that Browne was influenced by the great 20th Century artist and revolutionary Pablo Picasso.

” With the contemporaneous work of Picasso from these sources he fashioned the personal style that emerged in the 1940’s”. [11].

” Extending the synthetic cubist idiom in the painting ‘ Life with city window’ presents abstracted and flattened shapes in a pattern of decorative colour for an effect that is at once graceful taught and sophisticated”. [12].

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Morgan concludes with some comments about Browne  when he like other abstract painters particularly Mark Rothko and Jackson Pollock also completed some federal arts projects set up by President  Roosevelt during the depression and crash of 1929.

” Browne completed several Federal arts projects commissions (WPA) including an abstract mural composed of  flat geometric shapes (1939) for the radio station WNYC”. [13].

” He also participated from its beginning in the American Abstract Arts Organisation (that George KL Morris had founded”. [14].

This completes my survey of the abstract modernism of Burgoyne Diller , George KL Morris and Byron Browne.

FOOTNOTES

  1. THE OXFORD DICTIONARY OF AMERICAN  ART AND ARTISTS ANN LEE MORGAN PG.320
  2. DITTO.PG.320
  3. DITTO.PG.320
  4. DITTO.PG.320
  5. DITTO.PG.320
  6. DITTO.PG.320
  7. DITTO.PG.320
  8. DITTO.PG.320
  9. DITTO.PG.64
  10. DITTO.PG.64
  11. DITTO.PG.64
  12. DITTO.PG.64
  13. DITTO.PG.64
  14. DITTO.PG.64

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