San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) is an art museum with a collection of over 33,000 works of painting, sculpture, photography, architecture, design, and media arts.
Virtual Tour of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
- “Gebirge (Mountains)” by Franz Marc
- “Tale of Creation” – “Genesis II” by Franz Marc
- “Zapatistas” by Alfredo Ramos Martínez
- “Enigmatic Combat” by Arshile Gorky
Highlights of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
Mountains by Franz Marc depicts the stepping stones of a mountain that reach to the orange sun at the summit. Marc’s desire to attain a higher state of spirituality is shown in this expression of wanting to go towards a higher realm.
This painting was first painted in 1911 and was titled “Landschaft” (Landscape). It was then repainted in 1912 after Marc visited Robert Delaunay in Paris as a new version, retitled “Gebirge” (Mountains).
The renewed version was fused with the influences of Orphism, Cubism, and Futurism, making it Marc’s most multi-style painting.
Delaunay’s Orphism, which focused on abstraction and brilliant hues are reflected in Marc’s different color planes, which combine to create a surface of multicolored light.
Cubism is suggested by the fractured, prismatic forms that define the landscape. The thrusting prisms also generate a dynamic, colorful effect reminiscent of Futurism.
“Tale of Creation,” also known as “Genesis II” by Franz Marc, is a colored print from woodcut, illustrating the creation story in the Book of Genesis. Pure and uncorrupted life emerges from a chaotic and dynamic swirl of interlocking forms.
Color for Marc came to embody emotional and spiritual states. Animals were frequent subjects in his paintings, as Marc considered them more spiritual and closer to nature than humans.
Marc, in this woodcut print, was influenced by his studies of early printed Bibles and their woodcut illustrations.
Marc was planned to include this print in an illustrated Bible he was organizing for the Blaue Reiter, the Munich-based artist group he cofounded.
However, by 1914 at the beginning of World War I, when Franz Marc created Schöpfungsgeschichte II (Genesis II), he had lost his faith that the natural world could provide an antidote to what he viewed as a sick society.
“Zapatistas” by Alfredo Ramos Martínez depicts the soldiers led by Emiliano Zapata that took part in the Mexican Revolution. The Zapatistas were formed in 1910 in southern Mexico and were formerly known as “The Liberation Army of the South.”
The Zapatistas were mainly poor peasants who needed to spend much of their time working their land to feed their families. As a result, Zapatista soldiers tended to serve for several months at a time, and then return home to spend most of the year farming.
The structure of the Zapatista army was very loose, and the army was united entirely by the charismatic leadership of Zapata. It was divided into small, mostly independent units rarely numbering more than one hundred men, each commanded by a chief.
Emiliano Zapata’s assassination in 1919 struck a mortal blow to Zapatistas, and the army slowly disbanded afterward.
In this painting, Ramos Martínez captured the desperation and determination of the peasant farmers and casual soldiers who were looking for social justice and equity against the privileged elite.
“Enigmatic Combat” by Arshile Gorky depicts his transition from Cubism to Surrealism. In this painting, his abstractions unite memories of his Armenian youth with surrealist fantasies characterized by billowing shapes and exotic colors.
This painting’s style fits into a surrealistic abstraction influenced by Picasso, Kandinsky, and Miró. It shows his “Enigmatic Combat” through his life’s challenges.
The composition is a drama of enigmatic biomorphic and spiky shapes in combat.
Gorky’s work was informed by the suffering and loss he experienced in the Armenian Genocide: “One big war, an epidemic, and we collapse into ignorance and darkness, fit sons of chimpanzees.”
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
- Name: San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
- City: San Francisco
- Country: United States
- Established: 1935
- Type: Art Museum
- Locations: 151 Third Street, San Francisco, California, United States
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