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Example 1

Comparativestudy
StudentA(SL)

AComparativeStudy
Thefollowingstudyanalyzestheformalqualities,thefunction
andpurposeandtheculturalsignificancefollowingartwork:

QuattroStagioni:Autunno, 19935by CyTwombly


Sunflower,1980byStefanBertalan
Hermitage,1917by PaulKlee

Visual arts teacher support material

Example 1

CyTwombly (American,19282011)

QuattroStagioni:Autunno 19935
Housepaint,oil,crayon,and
penciloncanvas

Visual arts teacher support material

CyTwomblywasasecondgenerationabstractexpressionist.Inthe
late1950s,hemovedfromNewYorkCitytoRomewherehewas
drawninbythearchitectureandlandscapeofItaly.InQuattro
Stagioni,PartIII:AutunnotranslatedTheFourSeasons,PartIII:Fall
waspartofaseriesofpaintingsTwombly madetodenotethe
seasons.Thecompositionofthepiecefollowstheruleofthirds.The
bottomtwothirdsofthepiecearefilledwithlargeexplosionsof
paintthatarereminiscentofachildsdrawing.Theclusterof
randommarksatthebottomofthepaintingremindsmeofaflockof
birds.Twomblycouldbealludingtothemigrationofbirdsinthefall.
Theviewersattentionisdrawntothelefthandcornerwherethereis
onlyoneblackgesturewhichhelpstobalanceout thecomposition.
Thefreneticmarks givethepieceastrongsenseofmovementand
rhythmthatcarriesyoureyearoundthepictureplane.Havingmost
oftheemphasisonthe bottomportionofthecanvasalsogivesthe
viewerthesenseofalandscapewhichwouldbeindicativeof
TwomblysloveofItalianlandscape.Thedripsandbuildupofpaint
givethepieceweightandhelpbalancethefreefloatingforms.The
paletteismadeupofdarkblues,purples,blacksandintenseredsona
whitegroundwithahintofyellow.Therichnessofthecolor
indicatestheheightofthefallseasonandtheharvestofgrapesand
creationofwine.IfindthemostinterestingpartofTwomblyswork,
hisuseofwritingasaformofmarkmaking.Youcanseeinthetop
portionofthepaintingencryptedmessagesembeddedinthelayers.
ThearthistorianJohnBergerisquotedassaying,Twombly visualizes
withlivingcolorsthesilentspacethatexistsbetweenandaround
words(Berger).

Example 1

CyTwombly (American,19282011)
QuattroStagioni,PartIII:Autunno ispartofTwomblys
seriesthatexplorestheseasons,cycles,andnature.The
FourSeasonsareametaphorforthepassingoftimeand
rebirthandtheinevitablecycleoflife.Twomblyspaintings
areaboutprocessanddiscovery ashestates"It'snot
described,it'shappeningThelineisthefeeling
(Twombly).Likethemanysurrealistartists,Twombly
believesinpsychicautomatism,thebeliefthattheartist
doesnotcontrolthecreationofthework,butallowsthe
creationtooccuritself. Inthe1950sTwomblybecame
veryinterestedintribalartandprimitivism.Hewentonto
adoptthesimpledirectnessheobservedintribalart.The
senseofboldandimmediatemarkmakingisevidentinall
ofthepaintingsthatarepartoftheFourSeasonsseries.
OftendrawinghisinspirationfromEuropeanliteratureand
classicalculture,TwomblysQuattroStagioni,PartIII:
Autunno Twombly includespartsandpiecesofpoems.For
instance,poemsbyRainerMariaRilkeandGiorgos Seferis
areembeddedinthemarksonhispaintings.Twombly s
loveofclassicalarthistoryisevidentinhisuseoftheFour
Seasonsthemewhichisusedmanytimesasametaphorin
thehistoryofart.

QuattroStagioni:Inverno 19935
Housepaint,oil,crayon,andpencil
oncanvas

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Example 1

AbstractExpressionist
movement.In1957,hemoved
toGaetainsouthernItalywere
hewasincloserproximitytothe
myths,literatureandclassicalart
historythatoftenappearedas
crypticpassagesinhiswork.I
thinkitisimportanttonotein
the1930sand40smanyartists
leftEuropeduetoWWIIand
immigratedtotheUnitedStates
ofAmerica,bringingwiththem
theinfluenceofmodernism
whichatthetimewasmore
progressiveinEurope.Dueto
WWII,thecenteroftheArt
WorldmovedfromParistoNew
York.Twombly,whowasoneof
themembersoftheNewYork
School,reversedthistrendby
makingEuropehismain
WhenconsideringQuattroStagioni:Autunno 19935andallofCyTwomblywork residenceeventhoughheoften
onehastolookathisimportantroleintheartworldshistoricalcontext.In1950 returnedtotheStatesandwas
includedinmanyexhibitionsin
and1951,hestudiedattheArtStudentsLeagueinNewYork.There,hemet
theUS.Hisworkwasuniquein
RobertRauschenberg,whowasresponsibleforintroducinghimtosomeofthe
thesensethathecombinedthe
firstgenerationabstractexpressionistsuchasWilhelmDeKooning,FranzKline
andJacksonPollock. In1951,hewasconscriptedintothearmywhereheserved artisticinfluencesofclassical
Europewiththefreneticenergy
asacryptographer.Hismethodofencodingoflanguageinhiswork,was
oftheAmericanAbstract
influencedbyhisbriefemploymentasacryptologist.ReturningtoNewYorkin
Expressionistmovement.
1953,hewasbeginningtobeconsideredoneoftheprominentfiguresinthe

CyTwombly(American,19282011)

Visual arts teacher support material

Example 1

StefanBertalan(Romanian,1930Present)

Courtesy: Stefan Bertalan and Johnen Galerie, Berlin

Sunflower,1980,
pagechalk,felttippenandblackinkonpaper
Doppelseite,je54,9x32,5cm doublepage,each21.6x12.8in.

Thispastsummer,ItraveledtoItalywithaschoolgroup
andfortunatelypartofourtourwasavisittheVenice
Biennale,oneofthemostimportantexhibitionsof
contemporaryartintheworld.Attheexhibition,Iwas
introducedtotheworkoftheRomanianartistStefan
Bertalan.BertalanhasbeenapartoftheNeoAvantGarde
MovementinRomaniasincethe1960s.Hehasahistoryof
projectsandinstallationsthatareconceptualinnature.

Visual arts teacher support material

ThepieceSunflowerisapartofaseriesby
StefanBertalanentitledILivedfora130Days
withaSunflowerPlant. Accordingto
Massimiliano Gioni thecuratoroftheVenice
Biennale Bertalan studiedasunflowerplantfor
itsentirelifecycle,fromthefirstgerminationof
itsseedthroughitseventualdeath,
documentingitsevolutioneachdaythrough
photographs,drawings,andawrittendiary.
(page49)Oneofthemanydrawingsfromhis
Sunflowerseriestotheleftlooksasifitcould
beapagesfromabook.Bertalanjuxtaposes
gesturaldrawingofamonochromatic
sunflowerontheleftwithapaintedoneonthe
right.Hedoesnotseemtohaveaconcernfor
portrayingthecolorsoftheplantsaccuratelyon
therightbuthaschosentouseamostlyblue
palettethatisasasceticallypleasing.The
marginsarefilledwithnotesandcalculations
thatmoveyoureyearoundthecomposition.
Thephysicalityofthewritinggoesbeyond
whatisbeingrecordedandbecomesmore
importanttothemarkmakingprocess.The
spontaneityofthegestureinthedrawings
makethepiecesfeelveryfreeandsomewhat
abstract.Incontrast,therenderingsalso
referencethehighlytechnicalbotanical
drawingsthatwerepopularintheeighteenth
century.

Example 1

StefanBertalan(Romanian,1930Present)

Courtesy: Stefan Bertalan and Johnen Galerie, Berlin

Sunflower,1980
chalk,felttippen,
ballpenandpencilonpaper
56,5x36,8cm 22.2x14.5in.

Visual arts teacher support material

NotonlydidBertalansprojectrevolvingarounda
sunflowerproduceanumberoffinaldrawingsbutalso
arecordoftheprocesswhichincludedthedecayofthe
plantandhisdailyrecordings.Inhisinvestigationwhich
resultedinseveralpiecesentitledSunflower,Bertalan
wantedtoconveytheconceptthatasingleorganism
anditsfunctioncanserveasametaphorfortheworld
atlarge.Itisimportanttonotethatthisprojectwas
moreabouttheeverydayexperienceannotthevisual
recordthatexistsintheend.Thefinalpiecesthatwere
generatedfromBertalanSunflowerprojectareinthere
ownrightbeautifuldrawings.Ithinktheeveryday
actionsoftheartistobservingthedecayand
disappearanceoftheplantspeakstothecomplexities
ofthehumancondition.Theworkhasconnectionsto
performanceartaswellbotanicalstudiesamore
traditionalartform.Eventhoughtheworkwasmadein
the1980sitrelatesdirectlytocurrenttrendsinartfor
exampletocombinedifferentdisciplinessuchasartand
science.Thepiecesaretimelyintherereferenceto
modernsocietywiththeincreasedinterestinthe
changesoccurringinthenaturalworld,andintherole
plantsplayinhelpingussustainahealthyenvironment.

Example 1

StefanBertalan(Romanian,1930Present)
ILivedfora130DayswithaSunflowerPlant andtheStructureofSnails(seenbelow)twoofBertalans
seriesweremadeinthe1980sinCommunistRomania.Atthistime,Romanianswereexperiencing
foodshortagesandunrestduetothefallofotherCommunistregimesinEasternEurope.Accordingto
theRomanianphilosopherandarthistorianThegeneralsocialstateofpoverty,complacency,
degradationanddisengagement,togetherwiththematerialandtheculturaldecayisprobablythe
moststrikingcharacteristicoftheRomanianenvironmentduringthe'80s.[...](189,ErwinKessler).
KnowingthecontextinwhichBertalan createdtheSunflowerseriesbringsevenmoresignificanceto
themetaphorofdecaythatisapredominant
themeinhiswork.Itisinterestingthatliving
intheshadowoftheruleofCommunism
influencedBertalan inthathechosetostate
hiscaseinaverysimpleandnaturalforms.
Theimplicationofhispiecesissubtle
butatthesametimepowerfulinitsintent.
Bertalans decayofasunflowerrepresents
thecollapseofsociety,butatthesame
timegiveshopewiththegerminationof
newseedswhichrepresentrebirth
andchange.

Visual arts teacher support material

Snails,1980
chalk,felttippen,
ballpenandpencilonpaper
56,5x36,8cm 22.2x14.5in.

Courtesy: Stefan Bertalan and Johnen Galerie, Berlin

Example 1

PaulKlee(German,18791940)

Hermitage. 1918.Watercoloronchalkground.18.3x25.4cm

In1914,PaulKleevisitedTunisiainNorthAfrica
andwasoverwhelmedwiththecolorcreatedby
thelightofMediterraneanSeaandatthattime
hewasquotedassaying Colorpossessesme.I
don'thavetopursueit.Itwillpossessmealways,
Iknowit.Thatisthemeaningofthishappyhour:
ColorandIareone.Iamapainter.(1914,Klee)
Asaresultofhistrip,Kleesworkstartedto
becomemoreabstract.
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Thepiecetotheleft,madeafterhistripto
Tunisia,issaturatedwithabeautifulblue,
reminiscentofthecoloroftheMediterranean
Sea.Thepieceiscoveredwithseveraldrawings
thathaveaverychildlikequality.Kleesmarks
appeartoevolvefromhissubconscioushaving
alsobeenreferredtoaspictorialwriting
(Abrams29).Thecompositionappearstobea
windoworastagebecauseofthecurtains
positionedatbothsides.Inthemiddle,there
aredrawingsthatresemblealandscape.There
aretreesandastructurethatappearstobea
churchorpossiblyatemple. Inthecenter,there
isamysterioussetofmarksthatappearstobe
intheshapeofaneye.Allthepartsandpieces
arechargedwithenergyandmove
harmoniouslythroughoutthepainting.Some
lightcomesthroughthetransparencyofhe
compositionwhilesomeofthemarksareheavy
andrecessintothebackground.Kleeleaves
muchoftheinterpretationofhispiecesupto
theviewerongivingonlyhintsastowhatmay
betheunderliningmeaningasdemonstration
byHermitage.
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Example 1

PaulKlee(German,18791940)

Kleewasknownforhisspiritualaswellashis
philosophicalapproachtoartmaking.His style
combinesonallthegreatmodernmovementsthat
definedtheearly19th centuryinArtHistory.The
organicandgeometricshapesinHermitage reference
Picassoscubiststyle.Thebrightlycoloredabstractions
ofKandinskyandtheautomaticdrawingtechniquesof
thesurrealistsarefeaturedinKleeswork,aswell.Klee
wasinvolvedwithagroupofartistfoundedbyhis
friendsFranzMarcandWassilyKandinskycalledDer
Blaue Reiter(theBlueRider).Hisfatherwasamusician
andKleegrewupplayingmusic.Despitethe
expectationthatKleewouldstudymusic,hechose
visualartsashispath.However,musicalinfluencescan
beseenintherhythmandfluidityinhischildlike
renderinginHermitages composition.Kleebegan
mostofhispiecesasseeninbothHermitage and
SouthernGardensfromobservationofthelandscape.
PaulKlee Southern(Tunisian)Gardens,1919
Havingthusseenthroughnature,thepainterwent
Watercolor81x66cm
Myhandisentirelytheimplementofadistant further,discoveringanextensiontonatureinrealms
beyondtheearthlyken,therealmsofintuitionand
sphere.Itisnotmyheadthatfunctionsbut
mysticvision.(Abrams11)Today,Kleecontinuesto
somethingelse,somethinghigher,something
somewhereremote.Imusthavegreatfriends
influenceartistwithhisrichlegacyofabstractionand
there,darkaswellasbright...Theyareallvery complexvocabularyofsymbols.
kindtome.(Klee)

Visual arts teacher support material

Example 1

PaulKlee(German,18791940)

BlackColumnsinaLandscape,1919
Watercolor,pen,andinkonpaper20.4x26.3cm

NotonlydidKleesworkhelpdefine
modernismbutthecontextandtimeperiodin
whichhemadehisarthashistoricalsignificanceas
well.Shortlyafterin1915,hereturnedfromhis
triptoTunisia,wherehewasconscriptedintothe
GermanarmytofightinWWI.Thedeathsofhis
fellowartistAugustMackeandFranzMarcdeeply
affectedhim.Hecontinuedtomakeartwhile
servinginthearmywheremuchoftheworkis
centeredonthethemeofdeath.

Visual arts teacher support material

In1917KleewasstationedwithhisunitatAugsburg he
wroteinhisdiaryEverythingtransientisonlyasymbol.
Truerealityisatfirstburied,invisible..Themoreterrifying
theworldbecomes(ashappensthesedays),themoreart
becomesabstract(Abrams,page17).Afterthewarin1921,
KleewashiredattheBauhaus,aprogressiveGermanschool
knownforpioneeringmodernartanddesign.There,he
taughtalongsidehisfriendWassilyKandinskyuntil1931.In
1931,KleebeganteachingattheDusseldorfAcademy.Two
yearslater,hewasfiredbytheNazisandhishousewas
searched.DuethefactthattheNazisbelievedKleewasa
Jew,hewasforcedtofleeGermanyatthepeakofhisartistic
career.ThereisnodefinitiveproofastowhetherKleewas
ofJewishdescentandhehimselfwasveryambiguouswhen
asked.Lateron,hewasaccusedbytheNazisofbeinga
typicalGalicianJew.HereturnedtoSwitzerlandtheplace
ofhisbirthwithhiswife.EventhoughhehadfledGermany
in1937,hisworkthathadbeenconfiscatedbytheNazis
wasexhibitedinthenotoriousDegenerateArtShow.
Hermitage isasignificantpieceinthehugelegacyofwork
leftbyKlee.Thevibrancyofcolorandexplorationof
abstractionwereinfluencedbyhistriptoNorthAfricabut
holdaninfluentialplaceinthehistoryofabstractartand
thedevelopmentanduseofvocabularyofsymbols.Many
artistsincludingCyTwomblycitesPaulKleeasoneoftheir
majorinfluences.

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Example 1

ComparingandContrastingtheWorkof
Hermitage byPaulKleeandQuattroStagioni,PartIII:Autunno byCyTwombly
Differences
CyTwombly

MemberofthebyAbstract
Expressionistmovement
Americanbornlivedprimarily
inItaly
Inspiredbythelandscapeof
NorthernItaly
Materialsused:watercolor
onpaper
Limitedpalettewithareasof
intenseredinconcentrated
areas
Largeinscale

PaulKlee

KleeandTwombly

Visual arts teacher support material

Differences

Similarities

workintuitivelyand
expressionistically
Referencethenatural
world
Usechildlikemark
makingandscribbles
Inspiredbythe
Surrealisttechnique
ofPsychic
Automatism
Bothhaveavery
philosophicaland
mysticalapproachto
theartmaking
process.
Artinfluencedby
theirmilitaryservice

InfluencedbySurrealist,
CubistandGerman
Expressionisminearly20th
centuryEurope,butdidnot
belongtooneparticular
movement
Swissbornlivedprimarilyin
Germany
Inspiredbythelandscapeof
TunisiainNorthAfrica
Materialsused:Housepaint,
oil,crayon,andpencilon
canvas
Higherintensityofcolorinall
areasofthepictureplane
Smallinscale

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Example 1

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