“From the beginning of the 20th century, the line in the visual arts has taken off. Accurately placed, studious lines suddenly start to sway, sway, squirm or scratch. The line is no longer in the service of the composition, but claims a dominant role of its own: the shape of the line itself becomes an image-determining element of the art.
We noticed the emancipation of the line when employees of Rijksmuseum Twenthe and Kunstmuseum Pablo Picasso Münster discussed and compared the specific characters of our collections during a meeting. Kunstmuseum Pablo Picasso Münster holds an extensive and important collection of works on paper by Pablo Picasso and other greats of 20th-century art. Rijksmuseum Twenthe is an art museum with a diverse collection of works of art, mainly of Western European origin, from the late Middle Ages to the present day.
The differences in color and line use between an old and a modern painting are often unmistakable. But looking at our collections, we also distinguished a lot of variation in the line within the art of the 20th century. We saw decorative lines, the ornamental lines that around the fin-de-siècle embellished not only visual art but also objects from everyday life; expressive lines, the sensitive expression of an impulsive creative urge; contour lines, the classic contour line in which a shape is reduced to its essence; spontaneous lines, with which artists strove for a liberation from rational artistic starting points; constructive lines, the geometric forms that marked a break with figurative art. These main lines are at the basis of the exhibition Beauty is a line.”
From: Beauty is a line. Catalog of a double exhibition by Rijksmuseum Twenthe and Kunstmuseum Pablo Picasso.
Read the article here: De 20e eeuw: de eeuw van de lijn. [The 20th century: the century of the line – Dutch only]