Raymond Jonson and the Spiritual in Modernist and Abstract Painting: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Raymond Jonson and the Spiritual in Modernist and Abstract Painting

1st Edition

By Herbert R. Hartel, Jr.


222 pages | 40 Color Illus. | 36 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9781138712546
pub: 2018-03-05
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pub: 2018-02-21
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This is the most thorough and detailed monograph on the artwork of Raymond Jonson. He is one of many artists of the first half of the twentieth-century who demonstrate the richness and diversity of an under-appreciated period in the history of American art. Visualizing the spiritual was one of the fundamental goals of early abstract painting in the years before and during World War I. Artists turned to alternative spirituality, the occult, and mysticism, believing that the pure use of line, shape, color, light and texture could convey spiritual insight. Jonson was steadfastly dedicated to this goal for most of his career and he always believed that modernist and abstract styles were the most effective and compelling means of achieving it.

Table of Contents



List of Illustrations

Introduction: Raymond Jonson and Twentieth Century American Art: Reconsidering the Canonical in American Art History and the Spiritual in American Modernist Painting

Chapter One: "Art Is as Broad as Space": Jonson’s Early Years in the West and Chicago

Chapter Two: "The Land of Sunshine and Color and Tragedy": New Mexico and Jonson’s Landscape Paintings and Compositions

Chapter Three: "These Are the Second Attack on the Abstract": the Thematic, Conceptual Series Paintings of 1929-1936

Chapter Four: "A More Intense Participation in the Life of the Spirit": Jonson’s First Totally Abstract Paintings, His Theories of Art and the Transcendental Painting Group

Chapter Five: "Fast Arriving and Spontaneous Combustions of Color–space–line and Design": Absolute Painting, 1938-1950

Chapter Six: "Causing the Surface to Come to Life": Jonson’s Late Career, 1950-1978



About the Series

Routledge Research in Art History

Routledge Research in Art History is our home for the latest scholarship in the field of art history. The series publishes research monographs and edited collections, covering areas including art history, theory, and visual culture. These high-level books focus on art and artists from around the world and from a multitude of time periods. By making these studies available to the worldwide academic community, the series aims to promote quality art history research.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ART / History / General
ART / American / General
ART / History / Contemporary (1945-)
ART / Individual Artists / Monographs
ART / Techniques / Painting
ART / Subjects & Themes / Landscapes
HISTORY / United States / 20th Century
HISTORY / Modern / 20th Century
RELIGION / Spirituality