Image & Ornament

»Expression, for me, does not reside in passions glowing in a human face or manifested by violent movement. The entire arrangement of my picture is expressive: the place occupied by the figures, the empty spaces around them, the proportions, everything has its share. Composition is the art of arranging in a decorative manner the diverse elements at the painter’s command to express his feelings. In a picture every part will be visible and will play its appointed role, whether it be principal or secondary. Everything that is not useful in the picture is, it follows, harmful. A work of art must be harmonious in its entirety: any superfluous detail would replace some other essential detail in the mind of the spectator.«

Henri Matisse, 1908

»There are some echoes of Orphic Cubism that enter pictures as a result of a pure geometry of circular arcs. Even if one can’t get around this, I still believe that these relations are a visual coincidence, since they do not fundamentally define the character of the pictures. Or weaken their character, indeed … It was my main interest to make what you call decorative painting truly viable within clearly abstract limits. Decorative, that is in a positive sense – in the sense it could be applied to Matisse.«

Frank Stella, 1970

Bildrechte: VG Bild Kunst, Bonn 2014 Foto: Tobias Roch, Hagen Bildrechte: Calder Foundation New York / Foto Stiftung Lehmbruck Museum Bildrechte: gemeinfrei, Foto: Peter Hinschläger

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