Abstraction

Konrad Cramer

American, born Germany, 1888 - 1963

Abstraction, ca. 1913

  • Not On View

Oil on board

Dimensions: 16 1/4 × 13 3/4 in. (41.3 × 34.9 cm)

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Carroll McGregor Boutell in honor of Mr. and Mrs. Frank J. Boutell, by exchange, 2002.7

German-born Konrad Cramer served as an important conduit of ideas between the avant-garde of his native Germany and artists of the nascent American Modernism, and was among the earliest painters of purely abstract works. After studying in Karlsruhe, Germany, Cramer proceeded to Munich in 1910, where he met the American artist Florence Ballin, whom he married later that year. While in Munich, Cramer was exposed to vanguard art and ideas of the period, which emphasized new forms of expression with particular significance placed on form and color and on the evocation of spirituality. He was especially influenced by the founding artists of the Blaue Reiter, Wassily Kandinsky and Franz Marc, whose work he saw there.Cramer is believed to have begun painting abstract compositions of his own about 1910, well before The Armory Show, the international exhibition that introduced European modern art to an American audience. Although distantly based in nature, Cramer has taken this work into the realm of abstraction by the use of geometricized forms and a colorful palette. Around 1917, he began to turn away from pure abstraction in favor of a Cubist-based style that was an interpretation of discernible subject matter.

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