Dirigible by Joaquín Torres-García - 1929
Dirigible by Joaquín Torres-García (Uruguayan 1874-1949). Painted in 1929.
As the painter Torres-García says, we must live within the universal," Theo van Doesburg wrote in 1929 of his friend, with whom he shared a commitment to the neo-plastic vision of a timeless and universal art. Working in the international milieu of Paris between 1926 and 1932, Torres-García sought to translate an invisible, metaphysical order in paintings symbolically structured to embody an ideal harmony within the universe. Like van Doesburg and Piet Mondrian, Torres-García defined his mature pictorial language around the grid, whose linear and spatial relationships posited the oppositional relationships of the cosmos --male and female, material and spiritual, active and passive-- in dynamic and creative equilibrium. Neo-Plasticism offered the meticulous purity and spiritual transcendence that Torres-García sought as he transitioned out of his earlier neo-classical period, and his paintings from 1929 are the first to commit fully to the symbolic and intellectual abstractions of the grid...
His affinity for the Golden Section, prevalent in his works beginning in 1929, underscores the metaphysical projections implied within his adaptation of the constructivist grid. A mathematical proportion known to have existed in the classical world, the Golden Section postulates that the subdivision of space into certain ratios connotes structural parallels with the universal cosmos. The aesthetic harmony believed to result from this mathematical ordering can be seen in the present work, in which the canvas rectangle is broken down into vertical and horizontal modules that describe a balanced and unified visual field. Less rigidly geometric than many of his later works, Dirigible has a flowing constructive rhythm that connects the eponymous airship with what appear to be abstracted landscape elements whose curving and wavy lines echo the shape of the ship floating above..."
- Abby McEwen, Assistant Professor, University of Maryland, College Park
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