|First Abstract Watercolor,|
1910. Wassily Kandinsky
In the East, artists such as Kasimir Malevich took toward stark black on white geometric symbols to fuel his Suprematist movement while Piet Mondrian took was much more gradually "wading into" abstraction of his own design with his ongoing study of trees which ultimately ended in total abstraction but with a distinct set of "footprints" leading back to subjective painting. Like the first Sputnik, Kandinsky's efforts were like a wake-up call to the entire world that nothing less than a new threshold had been crossed after which any representational subject matter would somehow seem traditional and retrograde. It was not a moon landing, which allegorically we could say was left to the Americans of the New York school, but it was a ceremonial throwing down of the gauntlet declaring that this is the direction art will go in the twentieth century!