The Aerial Age Begins
1902-1907 1908 1909 1910 1910-1914 1932 1948
Flight in Art and Song
Flight in art and song
The airplane appeared just as Cubism and the modern art movement emerged. The forward-looking essence of human flight was fertile subject matter for these abstract expressionist pioneers.
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.
Flying in 1910 - Graham-White's Farman
Flying in 1910 - Graham-White's Farman, Etching on paper

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 cameras.
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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artifact gallery Eiffel Tower and the Gardens, Champs de Mars, Robert Delaunay, Oil on canvas
Eiffel Tower and the Gardens, Champs de Mars, Robert Delaunay, Oil on canvas, 1922
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