List of Famous Geometric Art Pieces and Their Origin Stories

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Geometric art, also called geometric shapes art, is the art of pictures made from shapes. Geometric artists use one or several geometric shapes to create their pictures. The idea is to create a visual sensory experience.

Geometric art is abstract and futuristic. The paintings and “creations” are often colorful, portraying shapes in imaginative ways. Several abstract art trends originated from geometry, such as Constructivism and Supremacism in Russia in the 20th century, Concrete Art in Europe in the 1930s, and minimalism in America in the 1960s.

To give you an overview of famous geometric art, we’ve listed a few of the most famous geometric artists and some of their works. For your convenience, we can also provide brief descriptions of the work.

Origin of Using Shapes in Artworks

Shapes in artworks

Before we list the modern geometric artists and their artwork, let’s see whether shape painting and the use of shapes in art are new. Unfortunately, the answer is “no.”

Geometric art was part of Greek art in the Greek Dark Ages in 900 – 700 BC. Its center was in Athens, and from there, the style spread. For example, they used geometric shapes in their pottery vases.

The vases had various uses or purposes, including funerary vases. Thus, the modern geometric art movement artists are not the first to use geometric shapes in art.

Geometric Art Today

Today, artworks created in the geometric shapes painting style can be described as artworks of a non-representative nature that use straight and curved lines and color to form shapes, patterns, and designs with complex mathematical features and relationships.

Geometric artwork is a shape painting designed and created with lines, circles, squares, and rectangles, mostly in primary colors. Geometric art lacks verbal messages, and therefore, the message of the creator of the artwork is based on his subjectivity.

Modern geometric art design comes in various types, sizes, and shapes.

Fernand Leger (1881 – 1951)

Contrasts of Forms (1913)

Léger strove to find new beauty and capture the contrasts of modern life through visual differences. He combined Cubism with the use of color. He used this idea in a series of forty-five paintings in 1913/14. He called the series “Contrasts of Forms”. Léger used a language close to abstraction, but he hints at the human figure with a dehumanized and mechanized human figure.

In contrast to the flatness of Cubism, Léger endowed objects with a sense of physical volume. He remarked: “I oppose curves to straight lines, flat surfaces to molded forms.” This led to his using tubular forms with concave and convex planes. He also used mechanical rhythms shaped from contrasts of pure colors.

His well-known painting “The Staircase” is derived from his explorations with contrasting forms and colors. The tubular structures give volume by using red, blue, and yellow touches, which cover the surface only partially. In his extraordinary geometric shapes painting, he achieved depth by superimposing planes and forms, and he used a few white brushstrokes to highlight certain areas to enhance the three-dimensionality of the cylindrical forms.

Piet Mondrian (1872 – 1944)

Broadway Boogie Woogie (1943)

Piet Mondrian is recognized as one of the pioneers of 20th-century abstract art. He changed his artistic direction from figurative painting to a completely abstract style. But, in the end, he reached a point where his artistic “vocabulary” only consisted of simple geometric elements.

His work “Broadway Boogie-Woogie” was completed in 1943 and is considered the pinnacle of his representation of lines, squares, and primary colors. It is a great piece of artwork in the abstract geometric style.

Mondrian himself said about this work: “Art is higher than reality and has no direct relation to reality. To approach the spiritual in art, one will make as little use as possible of reality because reality is opposed to the spiritual. We find ourselves in the presence of abstract art. Art should be above reality; otherwise, it would have no value for man”.

Arthur Dorval (Born: 1987)

Arthur Dorval has, from a very early age, been fascinated by abstract painting. He has studied illustration and design and now concentrates on the geometric art model and his passion for color to reinvent the geometric image. He is recognized as a prominent young French geometric artist.

His “Eclosions” gives a modern vision of geometric art. However, it also resonates with a futuristic feeling. His “Geometric Bursts” inspires other compositions vibrant with energy in which fundamental forms fit together in new ways. From 2010 he has developed a technique to skillfully combine colors and forms, to create construction and balance.

Most of Dorval’s works have a movement and vibrancy linked to architectural objects. This makes it possible for him to create extraordinary geometric shapes painting.

François Morellet (1926 – 2016)

Album de 10 sérigraphies sur 10 ans (1952-1961)

François Morellet, a French contemporary painter and sculptor, started as an artist with prefigured minimal art and conceptual art. However, he had a significant influence on the development of geometrical abstract art. In fact, for him, a work of art referred only to itself.

His geometric, shape painting works include “Series: Répartitions aléatoires”, “Répartition de 16 formes identiques”, and “Series: Désintégrations architecturales”. From the 1960s on, Morellet worked in various materials like fabric, tape, and neon.

One of his works is part of the permanent collection of the Center for International Light Art (CILA) in Unna, Germany.

Sean Scully (Born 1945)

According to Chinese legend, an unbreakable red thread lies between you and your loved one across eternity. Scully’s “Red Light” is based on this legend and established his reputation as one of his first paintings.

Art scholars nowadays draw a thread back from “Red Light” to the simplicity of Matisse’s favorite painting, “The Red Studio,” in 1911. Scully’s intention was, according to himself, to “make a mystery or a compression of a surface.”

Scully is known to tackle the color red by creating a psychedelic scaffolding, drawing the eye to create an illusion of space through a dense grille of thin stripes in different colors.

Luke Newton

Luke Newton is a young British artist known for his manipulation and interpretation of the most mundane things. He transforms various everyday objects, like iPods, into defensive weapons or attaches red stickers in various forms on the canvas.

He uses unconventional materials for his artworks. For example, his abstract painting “Beads Thrill – Future” is wholly created using pearls. His “Warning Signs” calls society conform to pre-formatted emotions and actions. His “Heart Axes” and “Target Heart” encourage the vision of cruel love.

Notable Geometric Art Pieces

Geometric art has a long history in the world of art. It uses shapes and forms to create stunning visual compositions. Here are some notable pieces that have made a lasting impact.

Kazimir Malevich’s “Black Square”

Black Square (1915)

Kazimir Malevich created “Black Square” in 1915. This piece is considered one of the most famous examples of geometric art. The painting is a simple black square on a white background. Malevich’s work marked the beginning of the Suprematism movement. This movement focused on basic geometric forms and pure artistic feeling.

The idea behind “Black Square” was to strip art down to its most fundamental elements. Malevich wanted to move away from the representation of objects and focus on the feeling of absolute freedom in art. The black square on a white background was meant to symbolize a new beginning and a break from the past.

Malevich first exhibited “Black Square” at the “Last Futurist Exhibition of Paintings 0.10” in Petrograd (now St. Petersburg). It was hung in the corner of the room, a spot traditionally reserved for religious icons in Russian homes.

Frank Stella’s “Harran II”

Frank Stella’s “Harran II,” created in 1967, is a vibrant example of geometric abstraction. The painting features a series of interlocking circles in bright colors. Stella used a protractor to achieve precision in his shapes.

The inspiration for “Harran II” came from Stella’s interest in Islamic art and architecture. The painting’s title references Harran, an ancient city in Turkey known for its unique circular buildings. Stella used overlapping semicircles and a bold palette to create a dynamic composition that reflects the intricate patterns and vibrant colors found in Islamic designs.

Piet Mondrian’s “Composition with Red, Blue, and Yellow”

Composition with Red, Blue, and Yellow (1930)

Piet Mondrian’s “Composition with Red, Blue, and Yellow” is an iconic piece from 1930. Mondrian used horizontal and vertical lines to create a grid. He filled some sections with primary colors and left others white. This method became known as Neoplasticism.

The idea behind “Composition with Red, Blue, and Yellow” was to simplify art to its most basic elements. Mondrian used straight lines, right angles, and the primary colors of red, blue, and yellow, along with black, white, and gray. He believed that this reduction of form and color could convey a sense of harmony and order.

Bridget Riley’s “Movement in Squares”

Bridget Riley’s “Movement in Squares” from 1961 is a striking example of Op Art. The piece uses black and white squares to create an optical illusion. As the squares seem to warp and bend, viewers experience a sense of movement.

Riley’s inspiration for this piece came from her interest in how the human eye perceives shapes and patterns. She aimed to challenge the viewer’s perception and create a visual experience that was both engaging and disorienting. “Movement in Squares” showcases her ability to manipulate simple forms to produce complex and captivating visual effects.

Sol LeWitt’s “Wall Drawing #260”

Sol LeWitt’s “Wall Drawing #260” is a fascinating example of conceptual art. Created in 1975, this piece consists of instructions for creating a drawing. The instructions describe how to draw a grid with four colors, with each color occupying one-fourth of each square.

LeWitt’s approach highlights the importance of idea over execution. The resulting artwork can be reproduced by anyone following the instructions. “Wall Drawing #260” emphasizes the role of the artist as a creator of concepts rather than objects.

Interesting Facts About Geometric Art

Geometric art is fascinating and full of intriguing details. Here are more interesting facts about this unique art form.

  • Ancient Origins: Geometric patterns have been used in art for thousands of years. Ancient Greek pottery often featured intricate geometric designs. These early artworks laid the foundation for modern geometric art.
  • Mathematical Precision: Many geometric artists use mathematical principles in their work. Piet Mondrian and Kazimir Malevich incorporated precise measurements to achieve balance and harmony. This precision is key to the aesthetic of geometric art.
  • Op Art Movement: Geometric art played a major role in the Op Art movement of the 1960s. Artists like Bridget Riley and Victor Vasarely used geometric shapes to create optical illusions. Their works challenge the viewer’s perception and create a sense of movement.
  • Architectural Influence: Geometric art has influenced architecture and design. The clean lines and simple shapes of geometric art are often seen in modern buildings and furniture. This influence extends to graphic design and fashion as well.
  • Digital Revolution: The rise of digital technology has expanded the possibilities of geometric art. Artists now use computer programs to create complex geometric patterns. This digital approach allows for greater precision and experimentation.
  • Cultural Significance: Geometric art appears in various cultures around the world. Islamic art, for example, is known for its intricate geometric patterns. These designs often have symbolic meanings and reflect cultural values.
  • Psychological Impact: Geometric art can have a psychological effect on viewers. Studies show that people often find geometric patterns pleasing and calming. The repetition and symmetry in these artworks can create a sense of order and balance.
  • Versatility: Geometric art can be found in various mediums. Artists create geometric designs in painting, sculpture, textiles, and even street art. This versatility shows the broad appeal and adaptability of geometric forms.
  • Abstract Expression: Geometric art allows for abstract expression. Artists can convey emotions and ideas through shapes and colors without relying on realistic depictions. This abstract nature makes geometric art open to interpretation.

The Bottom Line

Somebody has remarked that if photography can capture any life form, what’s the point of painting any picture? As shown in this article, geometric art has changed this concept by creating art that originates from the artist’s emotions instead of a painted reproduction.

Additional Suggestions

  • The Greek Dark Ages is said to have been one of the most important time periods for geometric art.
  • If you don’t have the budget to buy art pieces from the famous artists mentioned above, you can just get an extraordinary geometric shapes painting online.
  • Piet Mondrian is considered as one of the most influential figures in the history of geometric art.
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