Dr. Charles Cramer

About Dr. Charles Cramer

Charles A. Cramer is Associate Professor Art History at Suffolk University in Boston, MA. His publications include Abstraction and the Classical Ideal, 1760-1920 (University of Delaware Press, 2006), and “Alexander Cozens’s New Method: The Blot and General Nature,” Art Bulletin 79, no. 1 (March 1997): 112-129.

By observing nature more closely, absorbing new scientific theories and spiritual investigations, many modern artists sought higher truths.

The ambiguity of “realism”

The German Expressionist Emil Nolde was particularly explicit in linking himself to a Nordic tradition.

Expressionism as Nordic?

“Every word that is spoken and sung here says at least one thing: that this humiliating age has not succeeded in winning our respect.”

Dada Performance

For Bauhaus designers, beauty was achieved through careful choices of materials, proportions, textures, and colors for the functional features of the objects.

The Bauhaus and Bau

Derain used a liberated Fauve approach to color and form to depict female figures in an exotic setting.

André Derain, The Dance

The Neo-Impressionists prided themselves on bringing scientific rigor to the hitherto largely intuitive Impressionist project.

Neo-Impressionist Color Theory

Cubist sculpture challenged the European sculptural tradition in terms of form, media, and often subject matter.

Cubist Sculpture II

The Futurists called for the destruction of museums, libraries, and cultural monuments and glorified modern technology and the speed of automobiles, trains, and airplanes.

Umberto Boccioni and the Futurist City

Kandinsky believed that humankind was on the verge of a cataclysmic change from the current, materialistic epoch to an “Epoch of the Great Spiritual.”

Kandinsky, Apocalypse, Abstraction

The figure of the Blue Rider thus embodied the spiritual focus of the group as well as their belief that art plays an important social role in the struggle between good and evil.

Der Blaue Reiter