The Liberation of Painting: Modernism and Anarchism in Avant-Guerre Paris
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.
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Introduction Modernist Heteroglossia
Salon Painting Caracature Modernism
Colonialism LArt Néggre and Les Demoiselles DAvignon
Cubism and Its Critical Reception
Picasso Grios and the Effects of War
František Kupka and the Project of Modernism
2011 Artists Rights abstraction ADAGP aesthetic African art anarchism anarchist André antimilitarism antimilitarist Antliff and Leighten Apollinaire Artistes français Artists Rights Society audience avant-garde avant-guerre Bakhtin Bergson Bernard Naudin bourgeois Braque C’est caption Caricature cartoons Cézanne collage colonial color concept cubism Cubism Reader culture d’art Dahomey debate Demoiselles d’Avignon Derain discourse discussed drawings Élisée Reclus evolution exhibition Fauvism Félix Félix Fénéon Fénéon figure Fin de Siècle France František Kupka Gris’s human Ibid illustrated Jarry journal Juan Gris Kahnweiler Kees Van Dongen Kropotkin l’art L’assiette au beurre L’homme Mallarmé Matisse Modern Art modernist movement Musée Neo-Impressionism newspaper nude Oil on canvas Orphism Pablo Picasso pacifist painting Paris peinture period plate political politicized prewar primitive primitivism primitivist prostitutes radical Re-Ordering the Universe Reclus Reclus’s Salon d’Automne Salon des Indépendants satire Signac social Spate special issue style symbolist temps nouveaux theory tion tradition translated in Antliff Vlaminck York/ADAGP