Although this abstract composition, Synchromy No. 3 (1917), bears many traces of European Cubism — angular shapes, fragmented forms, and multiple perspectives — it asserts the primacy of color as a key component of space and form. In 1912, Stanton Macdonald-Wright, together with the painter Morgan Russell, coined the term Synchromism to describe abstract compositions primarily concerned with the rhythmic use of color — a phenomenon they likened to a symphony’s use of sound. Synchromism was one of many diverse approaches to abstraction that flourished in the Americas and Europe on the 1910s, radically departing from traditional vocabularies of painting and sculpture
Born in New York to German American musicians, Lyonel Charles Feininger (1871 – 1956) travelled to Germany in 1887, and remained in Europe for several years to study art. While in Paris, he encountered Cubism and embraced its rationality and abstraction of form and space. “Cubism is a synthesis,” the painter explained, “but it may be degraded into mechanism. My Cubism is visionary, not physical.”
Feininger most famously applied his visionary style to architectural subjects that resonated with metaphysical meaning, especially churches. Here, the artist depicts the village church of Lehnstedt(1917) and its wooded environs with his characteristic crystalline and refracted forms.
Photographed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.
In 1919, Lyubov Popova (1889- 1924) described painting as “Construction,” the building blocks of which were color and line. In this work, Painterly Architectonic (1917), brightly colored, irregularly shaped planes are layered are layered against a neutral background. The curved bottom edge of a grey shape emerging from beneath a red triangle and a white trapezoid suggests three-dimensionality, while the vibrant colors and jutting edges that seem to extend beyond the frame evoke energetic movement. Painterly Architectonic is one of a series of works that Popova created between 1915 and 1919 is response to Kazimir Malevich’s Suprematist paintings.