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Abstraction: Form and Color

Paris 1949
Social Drama
Form and Color
Rhythm and Lyricism
Holistic Significance

While he is working, the artist's choice of shapes and color and their unifying pattern is presumably determined by the complex emotions  and thoughts stimulating him to point in a particular way at that moment.

It is a mistake to pin the meaning down, but some viewers, cannot help but read into a painting his own particular associations. In contrast Willi Baumeister's and Paul Klee's forms found their meaning through pictographs and ideograms. These primitive images have power to evoke echos in man's consciousness today because fundamental sentiments have not changed. These symbols convey the artist's feelings and ideas. Fontaine felt he did not need ideograms or symbols to convey meaning.

Even his titles, "Composition," "Diagonal" and names of colors are unpretentious, direct and arc literary inventions born after the painting.The German writer, Egon Vietta, who planned to write a book on Fontaine, but died, said, "His painting by his excellent, orderly, floating spatial forms, when he wishes, follows somewhat in the tracks of Willi Baumeister." Art critic Will Grohman said Paul's forms resemble outer spacescapes.

Paul was surprised by this interpretation of form for he did not consciously think of outer space while composing his paintings. Yet it is known that the subconscious creative energies of a poet and painter produce startling new images filled with predictions of the future.
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Composition: Ochre, Black and White,
Acrylic on Canvas, 1950

New lithe forms were added to his plastic language and his style became a freer, painterly expression as his inspiration became more intense after 1950. There are themes of dark organic vertical shapes like prison bars, which separate the viewer from the sunlight, a bright hope, behind the screen.  Is this not an inner revolt of man, his wish to find freedom of expression, a will to live? This interpretation allows us to share in the artist's inner life when he otherwise consciously cuts himself off from life around him. What is shown more directly is the impressive variety and diversity of form as well as content which became the same.  
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This site was last updated on 08/03/00
The Paul Fontaine Archive