Avant-garde, in the adjective form, refers to works that are innovative or experimental with particular regard to art, culture, and politics. It represents a radical move towards what is perceived as typical and customary.
Cubism revolutionized European painting and sculpture, its ability to depict objects from one viewpoint to multiple viewpoints has inspired movements in the music, literature, and architecture realm.
One particular artist whose works I find inspiring and exquisite is a cartoonist turned cubist - Lyonel Feininger. He was a well known and highly admired German-American artist who made huge contributions to the expressionist and cubist schools of art in the 20th century.
Feininger was one of the founders of the Bauhaus school of art and architecture and was associated to the famous expressionist group - Blue Four. He used to work as an illustrator and cartoonist for 20 years before he began his career as a paint artist.
Feininger's paintings have a significant and distinctive progression which starts from colourful, lively, and cartoon-like drawings to his characteristic muted, sombre and abstract style. He infused angular planes of different shades of light into his paintings, intersecting and overlapping these planes until an object is made perceptible.
Longeuil, Normandie, 1909
Carnival in Arcueil, 1911
Gross Kromsdorf I, 1915
Sail Boats, 1929
Lunar Web, 1951
Based on Feininger's later artworks, it is apparent that he utilized a common set of elements of design. They consist mostly of visible, multi-directional lines, geometric form of shapes which are predominantly triangular, and strong colours in multiple shades of light. The visual texture in his oil paintings seem dry and grainy.
The principles of design typically used in Feininger's paintings comprise of a harmony of repetitive shapes with numerous variations, light-dark contrasting colours, and dominance of different shape sizes. As most of his artworks do not have a linear link between shapes, Feininger tends to utilize the placement and size relationship to create a virtual link between the elements in his paintings.
On a personal note, I am particularly interested in Feininger's works of genius due to their somewhat subliminal yet expressive portrayal of a sense of alienation felt in modern society. His works also include many architectural elements which I am very fond of.