1955, Darmstadt, Germany

1955, Darmstadt, Germany

For Fontaine’s art to be meaningful in intuitively expressing the new realities, he had to be open to change and new experiences. During one of his biennial trips to the United States, he viewed the Guggenheim’s collection of abstract art. Here the polar tendencies of art were represented by Kandinsky (1910) and Mondrian (1914). Kandinsky aimed at an aesthetic expression of oneself, and Mondrian aimed at the direct creation of universal beauty through the synthesis of nature.

Fontaine’s conversations with Lucia Stern, a concrete abstract painter, also inspired him to make pure non-objective paintings. There was no problem exhibiting abstract art and no lack of museums and galleries. Darmstadt , a city of 250,000 people, had six state-supported museums, including the prestigious Darmstadter Sezession.

Fontaine was an active participant in the cultural life in Darmstadt. He spent many evenings at the “Kunstlerkeller” discussing the latest art shows, theatrical performances and modern music concerts. Modern music seminars were held every summer, which attracted avant-garde composers. He related to these musicians, who were creating unique forms and sounds not only on the score sheet, but with electronic waves in color.They were attempting with tones what he was doing with paint: to create unique forms of expression.

Life in Germany was stimulating for an abstract painter because of the intellectual curiosity Germans had for abstract art. They were starved for new forms of art of which they were deprived during World War II, when only academic Nazi art was permitted. Fontaine was the only American artist ever invited to exhibit in their biennial shows.