Art State of Mind

New Year’s Fireworks in Painting!

Magda Michalska 31 December 2021 min Read

Bonfires, parties, or reading in bed. Ideas for how one should spend New Year’s Eve are endless, and everyone should spend it the way they like. Probably most of us like to watch fireworks at midnight, but all pet-owners know how stressful the noise of explosions is for many animals. So I thought that instead of making firework shows this year, we can instead admire New Year’s fireworks on canvas.

Futurist Style

Giacomo Balla, Sketch for the ballet by Igor Stravinsky: Fireworks (Feu d'artifice), 1915, Teatro alla Scala Museum, Milan, New Year's Fireworks
Giacomo Balla, Sketch for the ballet by Igor Stravinsky: Fireworks (Feu d’artifice), 1915, Teatro alla Scala Museum, Milan, Italy.

Igor Stravinsky wrote FireworksOp. 4 in 1908 and he described it as a “short orchestral fantasy.” Giacomo Balla designed sets and lighting for its premiere on 12 April 1917, at Teatro Costanzi in Rome. Although the production was commissioned and produced by Sergei Diaghilev, Feu d’Artifice was not, in fact, a ballet, but rather a light show orchestrated on a geometrical set created by Giacomo Balla.

Drip Style

Sam Francis, Firework, 1963, 2012 Sam Francis Foundation, California / Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY, New Year's Fireworks
Sam Francis, Firework, 1963, Sam Francis Foundation, Pasadena, CA, USA. Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY, USA.

Sam Francis began painting when he was constrained to spend long hours in hospital after being diagnosed with spinal tuberculosis. In his early career, he experimented with Abstract Expressionism and Surrealism, to eventually develop a personal style characterized by dripping bright colors onto the canvas. Over a thousand of his works bear references to Chinese and Japanese art, French Impressionism, or his own Bay Area roots.

Color Field Style

Helen Frankenthaler, Grey Fireworks, 1982, Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, New Year's Fireworks
Helen Frankenthaler, Grey Fireworks, 1982, Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, New York, NY, USA.

Helen Frankenthaler has been considered the heir to first-generation Abstract Expressionists who played a pivotal role in transitioning Abstract Expressionism to color field painting. She considered her canvas not only as a formalized field in which to act but also an arena for gestural drawing. She once said:

The canvas surface is flat and yet space extends for miles. What a lie, what trickery—how beautiful is the very idea of painting

Watteau-Inspired Style

Konstantin Somov, Fireworks in the Park, 1907, location unknown, New Year's Fireworks
Konstantin Somov, Fireworks in the Park, 1907. WikiArt.

Konstantin Somov also knew Sergei Diaghilev, as he was introduced to him by a friend. Although he studied under the great Russian painter Ilya Repin, he preferred the style of Watteau and Fragonard. For example, in the 1910s he executed a number of Rococo harlequin illustrations to the poems by Alexander Blok. After 1917, he emigrated to the United States to avoid the Russian Revolution but he quickly moved to Paris because the States were “absolutely alien to his art.”

Old Style

Joan Miró, Fireworks III, 1974, Fundació Joan Miró, Barcelona, New Year's Fireworks
Joan Miró, Fireworks III, 1974, Fundació Joan Miró, Barcelona, Spain.

In 1974, the 81-year-old artist began a series of paintings by flinging buckets of paint at canvas. Many see them as Pollock-like, but I see here more the influence of Sam Francis and other drip artists. What do you think?

May your upcoming year be safe, successful and inspiring! <3 

Recommended

Spring masterpieces: Claude Monet,The Artist's gareden inGiverny, 1900, Musée d'Orsay, Paris, France Art State of Mind

Spring Is Here! Catch Spring Fever with 7 Masterpieces!

It has finally arrived! Spring is here! The freezing winter says farewell and the good weather is hopefully here to stay. The warm rays of sunshine...

Andra Patricia Ritisan 20 March 2022

Art State of Mind

Art in the Golden Hour

The golden hour is a brief and awe inspiring moment filled with the most radiant light, intense colors, and deep shadows. For centuries artists have...

Marga Patterson 7 April 2022

A city street on a rainy day. Art State of Mind

Rain in Art – Paintings for Pluviophiles

The causal relationship between weather and human emotion is evident on unbearably hot summer days that result in feelings of despair and melancholy.

Maya M. Tola 8 November 2022

Lady writing at desk, Johannes Vermeer Art State of Mind

This Year is the Year—Artsy Resolutions for All Habit Personalities

An estimated 74% of Americans make New Year’s resolutions. After a week, 75% of these resolution makers are still successful. A month later, 64%...

Ledys Chemin 1 January 2022