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"Spiritualizing the Material" and "Dematerializing the World" in Modernist and Avant-Garde Practice

On the Wider Import of a Distinction Debora Silverman Develops in Van Gogh and Gaugin

Jerrold Seigel

This essay seeks to extend Debora Silverman's distinction between van Gogh's project of "spiritualizing the material" and Gauguin's related but opposed one of "dematerializing the world" to a wider range of modernist and avant-garde projects. It employs this distinction in connection with Astradur Eysteinsson's analysis of the problems of using such terms as modernism, the avant-garde, and postmodernism in relation to realism and the various revolts against it that have taken place since the age of romanticism. Eysteins-son's general approach is followed, but also in part questioned and given a different direction through discussions of Duchamp, the surrealists, Baudelaire, and Rimbaud.

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Matisse at Vence

An Epilogue to Van Gogh and Gauguin: the Search for Sacred Art

Kenneth E. Silver

Silverman's intent is to emphasize the "critical role of religion in the development of modernism." As an addendum to that pursuit, it should be pointed out that, well into the twentieth century, religion remained crucial to artistic innovation and development (and still is). We now recognize how important apocalyptic imagery was to Wasily Kandinsky's abstraction. In the wake of the Second World War, and French occupation by the Germans, religion made a powerful reappearance in the art of the avant-garde. Henri Matisse's Chapel of the Rosary at Vence is one of the great works of this period; it is worth briefly examining the ways in which Matisse understood the intersection between modern art and his reengagement with Catholicism.

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“Plunging the Soul into Contemplation”

On MoMA's Le Corbusier: An Atlas of Modern Landscapes

Nicole C. Rudolph

This article reviews the New York Museum of Modern Art's recent Le Corbusier retrospective and its accompanying catalogue. The author critically evaluates the curators' reassessment of Le Corbusier's legacy via the lens of landscape. A key insight gleaned from the show pertains to technologies of mobility: inspired by the views from the automobile, the steamer, and the airplane, Le Corbusier deployed modern materials and techniques of mass construction in order to maximize an inhabitant's contemplation of the natural world. What we learn from Le Corbusier: An Atlas of Modern Landscapes, the author argues, is that the architect valorized and designed to prioritize “3 Cs”: circulation, composition, and contemplation. The notion of contemplation may be more useful to understanding Le Corbusier's architecture than the concept of landscape.

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Margaret Cohen

At the beginning of the twentieth century, due to the spread of helmet diving beyond engineering communities, people started to attend to the remarkable qualities of underwater optics, differing radically from seeing through air. With the revelation of this unfamiliar planetary environment to a broader public, creators across the arts took inspiration from underwater optics to structure fantasy spaces of dream, hallucination, and marvel. To show the properties of underwater optics inspiring these fantasy spaces, this article analyzes undersea paintings by Walter “Zarh” Pritchard, reputedly the first artist to have painted en pleine mer. It then turns to aquatically-inspired works of surrealism, the movement offering the most famous appropriation of underwater optics for the arts, focusing notably on André Breton's L'Amour fou and Jean Vigo's L'Atalante.

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Sacred Unions

Religion and Reconciliation in French Society, 1919-1945

Jessica Wardhaugh

Stephen Schloesser, Jazz Age Catholicism: Mystic Modernism in Postwar Paris, 1919-1933 (Toronto, Buffalo, London: University of Toronto Press, 2005).

Geoffrey Adams, Political Ecumenism: Catholics, Jews, and Protestants in de Gaulle’s Free France, 1940-1944 (Montreal and Kingston, London, Ithaca: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2006).

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Biographers of Paris

Cultural Approaches to the Modern City

Victoria E. Thompson

Hollis Clayson, Paris in Despair: Art and Everyday Life under Siege (1870-71) (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2002).

Mary Gluck, Popular Bohemia: Modernism and Urban Culture in Nineteenth-Century Paris (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2005).

Patrice Higonnet, Paris: Capital of the World, translated by Arthur Goldhammer (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2002).

Alistair Horne, Seven Ages of Paris: Portrait of a City (London: Macmillan, 2002).

Colin Jones, Paris: The Biography of a City (New York: Viking, 2004).

Nicholas Papayanis, Planning Paris before Haussmann (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004).

Pierre Pinon, Paris, biographie d’une capitale (Paris: Hazan, 1999).

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Jeffrey H. Jackson

By the 1920s, the physical transformation in the urban space of Montmartre led two groups of artists to "secede" from the city of Paris, at least in spirit. Calling themselves the Commune Libre de Montmartre and the République de Montmartre, these painters, illustrators, poets, writers, and musicians articulated a distinctive community-based identity centered around mutual aid, sociability, and limiting urban development. They also reached out to the poor of the neighborhood through charity efforts, thus linking their fates with those of other area residents. Through these organizations, neighborhood artists came to terms with the changes taking place in the city of Paris in the 1920s by navigating between nostalgia and modernism. They sought to keep alive an older vision of the artists' Montmartre while adapting to the new conditions of the post-World War I city.

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Christopher E. Forth

: Stanford University Press, 1997). 2 Reinhart Koselleck, “Crisis,” trans. Michaela W. Richter, Journal of the History of Ideas 67, 2 (2006): 357–400. 3 Roger Griffin, Modernism and Fascism: The Sense of a Beginning under Mussolini and Hitler (Basingstoke

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Whitney Walton

scientific modernism of her time, including eugenics, but she was more ambivalent about another feature of modern social and political development—feminism. 26 Criticizing Feminism and Supporting Women Barine's writings on feminism and women are extensive

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Jorge Lizarzaburu, Adrian van den Hoven, and Donovan Irven

central concern of modernist drama and of modernism in general, omissions of certain scholarly works can easily become glaring. On the other hand, Ekberg’s thesis requires a philosophical approach rooted in Heidegger, Sartre, and existentialism broadly