|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.
in Germany was stimulating for an abstract painter because of the intellectual curiosity
the Germans had for abstract art. They were starved for new forms of art from which they
were deprived during World War II when only academic Nazi art was permitted.
Fontaine was the only invited American artist ever to exhibit in their biennial shows.
There was no problem of exhibiting abstract art and there was no lack of museums
and galleries. Darmstadt, a city of
250,000 people, had six state-supported museums, including the prestigious Darmstadter
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