|Emil Bisttram, Psychic Sensitivity, c.1940
One ingredient in that mix was a lively interest in the occult, and particularly in Theosophy, a movement founded in the late 19th century by a Russian writer and mystic, Helena Petrovna Blavatsky. Theosophy, while absorbing and synthesizing a variety of ideas from European and Eastern mysticism and symbolic lore, emphasized the right of the individual to choose his or her own path to truth irrespective of dogma and tradition. This openness combined with speculative boldness naturally appealed to creative artists, prominent among them Blavatsky’s fellow-Russian Kandinsky. Another Russian, the painter and peace activist Nicholas Roerich, was also strongly influenced by Theosophy (as well as Buddhism) and had a presence in New Mexico. He visited Santa Fe in 1921, and in the ’30s a gallery based on his philosophical ideas was set up and served as a gathering place for the TPG.
|Raymond Jonson, Sphere, 1932
The rest of the article, “Mystic Vistas: The Transcendental Painting Group aimed to convey spiritual truths through abstract art,” can be read here.