chapter
Abstract painting in Paris
WithAlfred H. Barr
Pages 4

In connection with Orphism, Apollinaire mentioned Frank Kupka, one of the least known but earliest pioneers of abstract painting. Apollinaire called it Orphism—an art of pure “musical” lyricism of color. Synchronism, the name given to their paintings by two Paris-Americans, MacDonald-Wright and Morgan Russell, was a movement closely related to Orphism. Within a year’s time Kupka had painted what are probably the first geometrical curvilinear and the first rectilinear pure-abstractions in modern art. The nearly abstract biomorphic and machine paintings of Duchamp and Picabia done between 1912 and 1918 are better considered in relation to Dada and Surrealist abstractions which they anticipate. It was done in 1915, possibly before Arp settled in Zurich, and is a work of remarkable originality with no close analogies to contemporary work in either Munich or Paris in both of which centers Arp was at home.