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Chapter Fourteen The Modernist World

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1 Chapter Fourteen The Modernist World
The Arts in an Age of Global Confrontation

2 The Challenge to Cultural Identity
At the last decade of the nineteenth century, Western nations sought to expand their influence and reap new economic and political power in far-distant lands As a result of this process of imperial expansion, by the dawn of the twentieth century the tradition and sense of centeredness that had defined indigenous cultures for centuries was threatened or in the process of being destroyed Native Americans, Chinese, Indians, Japanese, and Africans faced fundamental challenges to their cultural identities

3 The Fate of the Native Americans
From 1790 to 1860, the population of nonnative-born Americans increased from 4 million to 31 million, with nearly half of them moving to territory west of the Atlantic coast states In the “Go West, young man” movement, the settlers almost entirely ignored and disparaged the Native American culture The ultimate fate of tribes was inextricably linked to the fate of the buffalo. Over 4 million buffalo were killed by hunters seeking hides, meat for railroad construction gangs, or for sport by tourists

4 George Catlin, Big Bend on the Missouri River, 1,900 Miles Above St
George Catlin, Big Bend on the Missouri River, 1,900 Miles Above St. Louis Oil on canvas 29"  24", 1832 The lone Indian contemplates the vast landscape, symbolic of a vanishing people and wilderness.

5 China and India While not posing a threat to the actual existence of China and India, Western nations sought to dominate them through aggressive military and economic policies aimed at transferring wealth to their own countries and limiting their sovereignty The European taste for chinoiserie created a bustling import economy in China in the eighteenth century, but more important to the Westerners than the Chinese wares was the opium, which the British East India Company grew in India and sold in large quantities to the Chinese In India, the British East India Company crippled the economy by undercutting Indian manufacturer. By the late nineteenth to early twentieth centuries, nearly 1.5 million Indians sold themselves into indentured servitude

6 The Opening of Japan When American Commodore Matthew Perry sailed into Tokyo Bay on July 8, 1853, Japan had been closed to the West for 250 years The newly-opened Japanese goal became to modernize along Western lines but to maintain their sovereignty as well as their ancient cultural traditions Export of traditional Japanese woodblock printing was a vital part of Japan’s economic boom. Woodblock prints (ukiyo-e, or pictures of the floating world) were mass produced and thus affordable Probably the most famous series of Japanese prints is Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji, by Katsushika Hokusai

7 Katsushika Hokusai, The Great Wave from the series Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji Color woodblock print, 10-1/8"  14¼", ca

8 Africa The scramble for control of the African continent began with the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 Beyond Africa’s key strategic location, its vast land areas and untapped natural resources proved an irresistible lure for European nations. Britain, France, Belgium, Spain, and Italy all began to expand previous colonies in Africa or to acquire new ones To those who desired to validate imperialism and the colonial regimes it fostered in Africa and Asia, social Darwinism explained the supposed social and cultural evolution that elevated Europe above all other nations and races

9 The Rise of Modernism Even as the European states vied for power around the world, the very traditions that these states embodied were being challenged by new discoveries in science and revolutionary new approaches to art The automobile, the airplane, motion pictures, assembly-line technology, even quantum physics, all radically changed human understanding of the world A group of painters—the Post-Impressionists, which includes Paul Cézanne, Paul Gauguin, and Georges Seurat—saw themselves as inventing the future of painting. They sought to capture something transcendent in their act of vision, something that captured the essence of their subject

10 Georges Seurat A Sunday on La Grande Jatte Oil on canvas, 5’ 11¾" by 10’ 1¼", 1884
Seurat’s masterpiece makes use of tiny dots of color (pointilles) in a carefully controlled, scientific application Seurat tried systematically to incorporate new optical theories and the science of color from Chevreul’s Principles of Harmony and Contrast of Colors and Rood’s Modern Chromatics

11 Symbolic Color: Van Gogh
Color in Dutch painter’s Vincent van Gogh’s paintings becomes symbolic, charged with feelings Profoundly committed to discovering a universal harmony in which all aspects of life were united through art, van Gogh found Seurat’s emphasis on contrasting colors appealing Van Gogh used much larger, thicker strokes of color, a technique known as impasto. This heavy impasto was not admired in van Gogh’s lifetime In paintings like Portrait of Patience Escalier, he understood that he was actively abandoning Impressionism

12 Vincent van Gogh, Portrait of Patience Escalier Oil on canvas, 27-1/8"  22", August 1889

13 Paul Cézanne Paul Cézanne also explored color, but his interest was in how color could structure space The tension between spatial perspective and surface flatness would become a focus of twentieth-century modern painting Like the Impressionists, Cézanne painted out-of-doors, the only of the Post-Impressionists to do so. Like Monet, he painted the same subject repeatedly, particularly Mont Sainte-Victoire in Aix-en-Provence, which in the last decade of his life became something of an obsession

14 Paul Cézanne, Mont Sainte-Victoire Oil on canvas, 27½" by 35¼", 1902-1904

15 Paul Gauguin The desire for solitude that permitted introspection took frustrated businessman and father of five children Paul Gauguin to the island of Tahiti He believed that a primitive lifestyle would permit entry into the primal powers of the mind Mahana no atua (Day of the God) is based on an idealized recollection of his escape to Tahiti. As in van Gogh’s work, color is freed of its representational function to become an almost pure expression of the artist’s feelings

16 Paul Gauguin, Mahana no atua (Day of the God) Oil on canvas, 26-5/8” 35-5/8”, 1894

17 Pablo Picasso At the center of the new spirit of art, the revolt against the Romantic and the attempt to create, not merely seek, truth was Spanish-born artist Pablo Picasso With Picasso’s work, painting changed from a literal to a conceptual art Both the subject matter of Demoiselles d’Avignon and Picasso’s ambiguous treatment of space were unsettling to his viewers Picasso, influenced by Gauguin, gave the two right-hand figures masklike faces, with associations of the primitive, the exotic, the magical

18 Pablo Picasso, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon Oil on canvas, 95-1/8"  91-1/8", 1907

19 Cubism Cubism resulted from the active collaboration of Picasso and Georges Braque influenced greatly by Cézanne They decomposed their subjects into faceted planes, so that they seem to emerge down the middle of the canvas from some angular maze, as in Violin and Palette Cubism challenged the viewer with ideas of illusion and reality Georges Braque, Violin and Palette Oil on canvas, 36-1/8"  16-7/8", Autumn 1909

20 From Picasso and his Time (length: 3:04). Item #4096
"The Birth of Cubism" Video will play automatically. From Picasso and his Time (length: 3:04). Item #4096

21 Futurism Futurism, proclaimed in the Founding and Manifesto of Futurism, written by Filippo Marinetti and published in 1909, called for a new art Futurists included Marinetti, Giacomo Balla, Umberto Boccioni, Carlo Carrà, Luigi Russolo, and Gino Severini They used the fractured idiom of Cubism to represent what they considered modernism’s defining characteristics—technology, violence, and above all, speed

22 Fauvism Led by Henri Matisse, the Fauves (“Wild Beasts”) used color unnaturally and symbolically, in the tradition of van Gogh and Gauguin and the Symbolists Whereas Picasso’s Demoiselles seem static, Matisse’s dancers are active, moving as if to an unheard music

23 Expressionism German Expressionism combined an interest in color’s emotional potential with the exploration of primitive, sexual energy The psychological explorations of Expressionism are exemplified in the works of Russian émigré Wassily Kandinsky Yellow for Kandinsky was the female principle, green represents the social middle class, and black was the equivalent to dance

24 The Great War and Its Impact
The trench warfare of World War I claimed unprecedented casualties—around 10 million dead and somewhere around twice that many wounded New tactics and weapons, particularly mustard gas, caused horrific deaths and psychological torment for thousands, including many members of the artistic community American novelist Ernest Hemingway served as a Red Cross ambulance driver on the Italian front. On his first day of duty, he was required to pick up the remains of female workers who were blown to pieces when the ammunition factory at which they worked was blown up

25 War Poems The poetry of Wilfred Owen, killed in combat just a week before the armistice was signed in 1918, caused a sensation when it first appeared in 1920 because of his horrifying depictions of the war’s victims William Butler Yeats and T.S. Eliot display war’s impact in their poetry, but not in the direct manner of Owen Yeats and Eliot present, poetically, a world in which the old order is overturned, revealing a pitiless, nightmarish world, devoid of emotion, but not quite devoid of hope

26 Dada As defined by the Romanian poet Tristan Tzara, “DADA DOES NOT MEAN ANYTHING” Since life itself seemed meaningless due to the Great War, Dada was an expression of the hollowness felt by multiple artists Dada came into being at the Cabaret Voltaire in neutral Switzerland in 1916, by intellectuals and artists escaping the war Such works, in their willful denial of the artist’s aesthetic sensibilities, were considered by many as “anti-art”

27 Jean Arp, Collage Made According to the Laws of Chance Painted paper, 15-7/8"  12-5/8", 1916
Arp had been so frustrated with his painting, which seemed to him burdened by conventional technique, that he had torn it apart When he looked at the random arrangement of fallen pieces, they seemed to him more truthful than anything he had created before

28 Russia: Art and Revolution
In February 1917, Nicholas II, the last tsar of Russia, abdicated the throne. In October of that year, Vladimir Ilyich Lenin assumed power. Lenin was a radical utopian idealist, envisioning a socialist state in which all worked together to achieve their common goals Kasimir Malevich applied modernist geometric forms to Russian folk themes, a style he called Cubo-Futurism Soon he felt compelled to abandon even those traditions, creating nonobjective works he called Suprematism, defining it as “the supremacy of feeling in art”

29 Kasimir Malevich, Suprematist Painting, Black Rectangle, Blue Triangle Oil on canvas, 26-1/8"  22½", 1915 Malevich’s “feeling” refers to the revelation of an absolute truth discovered through the most minimal means If the viewer stares for a moment at the line where the triangle crosses from white to black, a subtle vibration occurs, and the two parts of the triangle appear to be at different depths

30 The Battleship Potemkin
Russian filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein believed that montage, the art of building a cinematic composition using shots that acquire meaning in relation to other shots, could be used in film to create tension, which would lead to heightened perception and understanding He planned a series of seven films showing events leading up to the Bolshevik revolution, and intended through them to evoke audience identification with the revolution’s aims The most renowned and successful of these was his Battleship Potemkin. The film, especially the famous “Odessa Steps Sequence,” is a virtual manifesto of montage; it tore at the hearts of audiences and won respect for the regime around the world

31 “Odessa Steps Sequence”

32 Sigmund Freud Freud theorized that most neurotic behavior was the result of repressed sexual drives and traumas As a physician specializing in emotional disorders and in association with the University of Vienna, Freud opened the subject of human sexuality to public discussion According to Freud, human personality is organized by the competing drives of the id (the seat of all instinctive desire), the ego (the mediator between the id’s destructive impulses and the requirements of social life), and the superego (the “conscience,” the psyche’s moral base)

33 Surrealism André Breton, author of the 1924 Surrealist Manifesto, spoke to the influence of Freud’s theories on writers and artists. He had trained as a doctor and had used Freud’s technique of free association when treating shell-shock victims in World War I Breton adopted the term “surrealism” to refer to the workings of the unconscious mind. Initially a literary movement, it spread into visual arts as well The juxtaposition of elements that would not conventionally occupy the same space is a fundamental device of Surrealist art

34 Pablo Picasso, Girl Before a Mirror Oil on canvas, 64"  51¼", 1932
Picasso’s Surrealism would assert itself in a series of monstrous bone-like figures that alternated with sensuous portraits of his mistress The theme of the complexity of the self, with its conscious and unconscious sides, is explored here

35 Salvador Dali, Lugubrious Game Oil and collage on card, 17½"  12", 1929
The Surrealist sense of self-alienation is central to the work of Spanish artist Salvador Dali He did not hesitate to confront the “lugubrious”—or mournful and gloomy side—of sexuality When he created, he followed a “paranoiac critical method,” a brand of self-hypnosis that he claimed allowed him to hallucinate freely

36 Salvador Dali, The Persistence of Memory Oil on canvas, 9½"  13", 1931
Dali called his Surrealist images “new and menacing” This is a self-portrait of the sleeping Dali, who lies slug-like draped beneath the coverlet of time Ants, which are a symbol of death, crawl over a watchcase

37 Literary Experimentation
The rise of the stream-of-consciousness novel in the early twentieth century can be attributed to two related factors: it provided authors a means of portraying directly the psychological makeup of their protagonists, and it enabled writers to emphasize the subjectivity of their characters’ points of view The most influential stream-of-consciousness novel of the era was Irish writer James Joyce’s Ulysses Other important stream-of-consciousness novels include Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, Marcel Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past, and William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury

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