Fritz Glarner contributed significantly to the conceptual development of geometric art. While most believe that the Dutch painter Piet Mondrian, was the father of Geometric Abstraction, the history of development of geometric art should also include a considerable number of Mondrian’s European contemporaries and several Americans as well.
Fritz Glarner was one of these Americans. He was indeed deeply influenced by the Dutch master, but Fritz Glarner’s relationship with Mondrian during Mondrian’s last years was probably as much that of a colleague as a disciple.
During these few years, 1940-1944, Fritz Glarner’s personal development achieved an independence from Mondrian’s thinking which produced a fruitful outgrowth–in Fritz Glarner’s conception of “relational painting.” This effort to produce a “purer and closer relationship between form and space” led to the identification of certain basic characteristics, the elimination of perspective to establish the identity of the actual surface of the canvas, the use of diagonals to create a stronger dynamic movement while maintaining an emphasis on the vertical and horizontal, and finally, the gradation of color values to bring all the elements in the picture into optical balance (Staber). This theory was developed initially with reference to a rectangular format, in itself a divergence from Mondrian, and was subsequently given another field of development in the many circular panels by Fritz Glarner.
Geske, N. & Janovy, K. “The American Painting Collection of the Sheldon”
Memorial Art Gallery
Staber, M. “Fritz Glarner” (Zurich: ABC Verlag, 1976)
Sheldon University website
Biography from the Archives of AskART.