Inventing Abstraction 1910 – 1925

Leah Dickerman
Thames & Hudson

This mammoth text is probably one of the most conclusive surveys on the history of abstraction. Exploring its inception and development, this book brings together key works and artists from the period. Opening with a quote from Glenn Lowry – “abstraction may be modernism’s greatest achievement” – this book summarises one of art history’s greatest movements.

Starting in 1911 with Kandinsky and Robert Delaunay, the text looks at the changing dynamics of society at the time, and how the idea of abstraction was so radical. It depicts the difficulties that these artists (some of whom are art history’s pioneers – Klee, Modrian, Richter and Dove) endured, as they re-invented and challenged the definitions of what a painting could be.

Complete with reproductions of several key works, this text pays homage to one of art history’s pivotal eras. With critical analysis by Leah Dickerman, curator in the Department of Painting at MoMA, it’s a enlightening overview of not only a shift in artistic output, but also thematic and conceptual concerns of the time.

Shirley Stevenson