Werner Haftmann, “Painting in the Twentieth Century”, 1966
Excerpts concerning the origins of abstract art, for discussion.
Abstraction: “…the German mind stylised it (the visible world), filled it with demons and hallucinations that varied in intensity, according to the degree of the artist’s participation. This went so far that at an early date questions arose such as these: Might it not be possible to disregard images of nature entirely? Might not the inner image expressed entirely in abstract forms be the only worthy content of a picture? Visible reality was an element hostile to art, a fetter, a world of pretence….” P.65. [Tim Scott: ‘Germanic (i.e. north European)’ as opposed to ‘Latin’ (i.e. French)]
Picasso:”…The aroma that interests Picasso arises from the tension between the self and the ‘otherness’ of objects and can be made intelligible only by representational analogies. This is the basic reason why he kept clear of abstract painting and why he said in 1935: “Abstract art is nothing but painting, but what happens to the drama? There is no abstract art, one must always begin with something, then all traces of reality can be removed. There is a danger there, because the idea of the object has left an indelible mark. It is the idea that stimulates the artist, inspires his ideas, arouses his emotions…” P283.