"Masterpiece" Studies: Manet, Zola, Van Gogh, & Monet

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Pennsylvania State University Press, 1994 - Art - 156 pages
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In "Masterpiece" Studies Kermit Champa offers new ways to interpret modernism that have previously been closed off by the application of the reigning art-historical methodologies to the study of the modernist achievement. He focuses on four separate phenomena--Manet's last Salon painting, Bar at the Folies-Bergère; L'Oeuvre, Zola's novel about the realist/impressionist movement; Van Gogh's problematic versions of a single painting, La Berceuse; and the immanent "series" phenomenon of Monet's work of the period. Champa reveals the importance of music, in particular Wagner's music, as a paradigm for later nineteenth-century French painting. He also shows the crucial significance of the concept of the masterpiece as thematized by Zola in his novel for our understanding of certain aspects of the art of Manet, Monet, and Van Gogh.

Employing postformalist methodology, the book explores the conversation between works of art produced in close succession and elaborates an aesthetic context for that conversation. Champa also shows how paintings and fictional representations of paintings can announce their points in common, and it is out of this exploration that he radically redefines what constitutes "context."

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La BerceuseAuthored by Music?

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About the author (1994)

Kermit Swiler Champa is Professor of the History of Art at Brown University and author of several books, including The Rise of Landscape Painting in France (1990).

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