A Comparison of Formal and Avant-Garde Artwork
Modern art is a unique creation all it's own, and since it's beginnings there have been two
very distinct groups present.They are the Formalists and the Avant-Garde.The Formalist group
believes in the literal representation of the art work.They value the form used, whether it be how
the colors are stressed or the techniques used, over the idea behind the art work.The
Avant-Garde artists on the other hand are more interested in the creation of art in order to
challenge what exactly art is and can be.They have tried to break down the boundaries of what
I selected Piet Modrian for as the artist I looked at regarding Formalism.His work
seemed to change over a period of time.His "Woods" done in 1910 showed a typical painting of
the forest.By typical I mean that the depiction of the forest was done to look like a forest on the
canvas.The next piece of "Tree" done in 1911 showed a more abstract form of trees while you
could still detect on a lot of movement within the painting.The shapes and negative space
between the lines is what became more important in his work.He then created "Composition
with Trees" in 1914.This piece as his previous ones was even more abstract and was honing in
on the form of the painting.Later he created a piece known only as "Composition", removing the
trees and woods all together from the title.He was trying to create the essence of nature using
rectangles and simplifying lines to their primary essence.He also used more primary colors versus
his previous works done in black and white.
This idea that Mondrian was using while creating his works of art was one of the ideas
that Clement Greenberg was dealing with in his works.Greenberg said that the actual painting
over the form is what makes the art work abstract.1 Greenberg believed that on…

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