Abstract Canvas Prints No 61 : The Limitations of Impressionism
That’s not simplicity as in stupidity, or ease.
The sort of simplicity that Jonathan Ive had brought to Apple products requires an in-built cranial hard-drive of several billion gigabytes and the perseverance of the clinically obsessed.
Like the brevity of a Hemingway sentence, or the clarity of a Bach cello movement, his simplicity is the result of hours of work, days of thought and a lifetime of experience.
He has, as those two geniuses did before him, achieved greatness by simplifying the complicated, by making sense of the inherent clutter and complexity of his subject, by unifying it into a design where form and function combine in aesthetic harmony.
It is the sort of simplicity that artists throughout the 20th century would struggle to attain.
As we will see later, the vertical and horizontal grids of Piet Mondrain’s De Stijl movement (1917 – 31) and the 1960s minimalism of Donald Judd’s rectangular sculptures are just two examples of a widespread preoccupation among the avant-garde: how to create order and solidarity in the world through something as ambiguous as art?
It was a problem that also vexed Georges Seurat (1859-91), the third of the four postimpressionists.
Here was a man who was as serious as Van Gough but less emotional, and the very opposite of Gauguin, the ebulient bon viveur.
But although different in personality and background, the three were united in their determination to move art from what they saw as the limitations of Impressionism.