The Liberation of Painting: Modernism and Anarchism in Avant-Guerre Paris

Front Cover
University of Chicago Press, Nov 8, 2013 - Art - 226 pages
0 Reviews
The years before World War I were a time of social and political ferment in Europe, which profoundly affected the art world. A major center of this creative tumult was Paris, where many avant-garde artists sought to transform modern art through their engagement with radical politics. In this provocative study of art and anarchism in prewar France, Patricia Leighten argues that anarchist aesthetics and a related politics of form played crucial roles in the development of modern art, only to be suppressed by war fever and then forgotten.              
Leighten examines the circle of artists—Pablo Picasso, Juan Gris, František Kupka, Maurice de Vlaminck, Kees Van Dongen, and others—for whom anarchist politics drove the idea of avant-garde art, exploring how their aesthetic choices negotiated the myriad artistic languages operating in the decade before World War I. Whether they worked on large-scale salon paintings, political cartoons, or avant-garde abstractions, these artists, she shows, were preoccupied with social criticism. Each sought an appropriate subject, medium, style, and audience based on different conceptions of how art influences society—and their choices constantly shifted as they responded to the dilemmas posed by contradictory anarchist ideas. According to anarchist theorists, art should expose the follies and iniquities of the present to the masses, but it should also be the untrammeled expression of the emancipated individual and open a path to a new social order. Revealing how these ideas generated some of modernism’s most telling contradictions among the prewar Parisian avant-garde, The Liberation of Painting restores revolutionary activism to the broader history of modern art.
  

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Contents

Introduction Modernist Heteroglossia
1
Salon Painting Caracature Modernism
17
Colonialism LArt Néggre and Les Demoiselles DAvignon
57
Cubism and Its Critical Reception
85
Picasso Grios and the Effects of War
111
František Kupka and the Project of Modernism
145
Conclusion A Politics of Form
177
Notes
181
Bibliography
205
Index
223
Copyright

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2013)

Patricia Leighten is professor of art history and visual studies at Duke University. She is the author of Re-Ordering the Universe: Picasso and Anarchism, 1894-1914; coauthor of Cubism and Culture; and coeditor of A Cubism Reader: Documents and Criticism, 1906-1914.

Bibliographic information