Pablo Picasso, Henri Rousseau, Kazimir Malevich,
Giacomo Balla, and Robert Delaunay produced works inspired
by and featuring the airplane. The Italian Futurists were
especially influential in motivating these avant-garde artists
to explore aviation.
The airplane and the avant-garde
Aviation offered the ideal link between the
Cubists’ redefinition of space and alternative perception
of reality and the Futurists’ desire to escape the constraints
of everyday life and divorce humanity from the past.
Malevich and Delaunay in particular were taken with aviation.
For them, flight was a metaphor for the transformation of
consciousness, a liberation from the constraints of normal
existence, and a redefinition of time and space. They had
a passion for the new 20th century technologies and were fascinated
with the notion of ascent, of escape from the earth.
Other styles of artistic expression
The avant-garde were not the only artists
who pursued aviation themes. The airplane appeared in poster
art, landscapes, caricature, photography, and representational
works as well. Photographers Alfred Steiglitz and Jacques-Henri
Lartigue captured artistic views of the airplane with their
The airplane in song
Enthusiasm for flight was also expressed musically.
The romance of flying and the appeal of the dashing, daring
aviator were natural themes for popular song. Like other artists,
musical composers found the aerial age rich inspiration for
their creativity. In addition to the entertaining tunes, the
sheet music of the period was also visually striking.
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