Art, abstract

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-M001-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved April 14, 2024, from

References and further reading

  • Barr, A.H., Jr (1936) Cubism and Abstract Art, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 1966.

    (A classic account of varieties of Cubism.)

  • Cheetham, M. (1991) The Rhetoric of Purity: Essentialist Theory and the Advent of Abstract Painting, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    (Detailed analysis of philosophical theories influencing Gauguin, Kandinsky and Mondrian.)

  • Courbet, G. (1861) ‘Letter in the Courrier du dimanche, December 25 1861’, in L. Nochlin (ed.) Realism and Tradition in Art, 1848–1900: Sources and Documents, Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1966, 34–6.

    (Gives Courbet’s criticism of abstraction in visual art referred to in §1.)

  • Danto, A.C. (1981) The Transfiguration of the Commonplace, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

    (Contains ambitious interpretations of works by abstraction expressionists and their successors, among others; relevant to §5.)

  • Fried, M. (1965) Three American Painters, Boston: Garland Publishing Company.

    (Impressive formalist analysis of spatial effects in nonfigurative abstraction; relevant to §4.)

  • Greenberg, C. (1973) Art and Culture, London: Thames & Hudson.

    (‘Collage’ and ‘Abstract, Representational, and so forth’ deal with the relation of image to surface discussed in §4.)

  • Kandinsky, W. (1911) Concerning the Spiritual in Art, trans. and with intro. by M.T.H. Sadler, New York: Dover, 1977.

    (An early, highly speculative attempt to provide a theoretical basis for abstraction by one of its principal creators.)

  • Museum of Modern Art (1984) The Museum of Modern Art, New York: the History and the Collection, New York: Harry N. Abrams and The Museum of Modern Art.

    (Especially useful compendium of illustrations of cited works.)

  • Osborne, H. (1979) Abstraction and Artifice in Twentieth-Century Art, Oxford: Clarendon Press.

    (The only comprehensive treatment of the subject by a philosopher available in English. Generally sound, provided that one abstracts from the information-theoretic concepts by substituting ‘schematic’ for ‘semantic’ and ‘nonfigurative’ for ‘syntactic’ [abstraction].)

  • Pohribny, A. (1979) Abstract Art, Oxford: Phaidon.

    (Rich in illustrations of cited works; also contains a useful historical summary of modes of abstraction through the mid-1970s, except for Cubism.)

  • Rosenberg, C.M. (1971) ‘Cubist Object Treatment: a Perceptual Analysis’, Artforum 9 (8): 30–36.

    (An insightful, though somewhat technical analysis of Cubist pictorial devices.)

  • Schapiro, M. (1978) Modern Art: 19th and 20th Centuries, Selected Essays, New York: George Braziller.

    (‘Abstract Art’ and ‘Mondrian’ give probing analyses of the relation of abstract art to its antecedents and social context.)

  • Walton, K.L. (1990) Mimesis as Make-Believe: On the Foundations of the Representational Arts, Cambridge, MA and London: Harvard University Press.

    (Major study of representation and fictional worlds.)

  • Whitford, F. (1984) Understanding Abstract Art, New York: E.P. Dutton.

    (A wide-ranging introduction to abstract painting.)

  • Worringer, W. (1908) Abstraction and Empathy: A Contribution to the Psychology of Style, trans. Michael Bullock, Cleveland, OH: World Publishing Company, 1967.

    (A seminal study of abstraction in traditional art, both fine and decorative.)

Citing this article:
Brown, John H.. Bibliography. Art, abstract, 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-M001-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

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