Primitivism, Cubism, Abstraction: The Early Twentieth Century

cubismPrimitivism is an area within art history that is most famously associated with artist Paul Gauguin. He often traveled to tropical areas such as Tahiti where he believed that he was observing primitive cultures that were untouched by the modern world. Largely, this was not the case, but in turn, Gauguin along with many artists who followed, began to paint native people in a basic, unassuming way.

Towards the later half of the 19th century and into the 20th century, artists began to form primitivist artist colonies in Germany and France. The fauvists and German expressionists would later follow.

In Primitivism, Cubism, Abstraction: The Early Twentieth Century, Perry, Frascina and Harrison begin by focusing the beginning of their catalog on the work of the primitivists and then moving into the works of the cubists and abstractionists, thereby creating a thematic and seamless look at the movement of art from and through the 19th and early 20th century.

Dr. Charles Harrison

Harrison was a professor at The Open University in the United Kingdom. He made many contributions to the humanities and more specifically the arts. He passed away in August of 2009. His full obituary is available through the University’s website.

Francis Frascina

Frascina is a is John Raven Professor of Visual Arts in the Department of American Studies at Keele University in the United Kingdom. According to the University’s website Frascina “founded the Department of Visual Arts at Keele University in 1994 and served as Head of Department from January 1994 to October 1998. He formerly held academic posts in Fine Art at Leeds University and in Art History at the Open University. His research interests include the social history of modern art and modernism and the relationships between art, culture and politics in America since 1945.”

Gill Perry

Perry is the co-chair of the Gender in the Humanities Research Group in the Arts Faculty at Open University in the United Kingdom, and was the Reviews Editor of the journal Art History from 1995 – 2001. Along with her accomplishments with in the University, she has also written several books and catalogs. According to the University’s website, she is also a panel member (Panel 2) of the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the main UK funding council for academic research.

Primitivism, Cubism, Abstraction: The Early Twentieth Century by Gill Perry, Francis Frascina and Dr. Charles Harrison was first published on May 26, 1993 and is available for purchase through the Yale University Press with ISBN 0300055161.

Picasso Looks at Degas – A Review

picassoArtists will often look at, admire and even borrow from other artists to create their own style and ideas. For Pablo Picasso, this was Edgar Degas. His admiration bordered on near-obsession and even went on to extend to Degas’ personality.

Picasso not only borrowed from the artist that he so admired, but he also took from and reworked some of Degas’ works, including the brothel mono-types that Picasso would acquire during the later years of his artistic career.

Comparing Degas and Picasso

It is evident, by looking at the body of work from both artists, that they both were obsessed with the female figure which they both portray in the form of dancers, singers and prostitutes. Degas tended to favor capturing the female form with the portrayal of ballet dancers and singers. Some of his more famous works include L’etoile and The Singer in Green. Comparatively, Pablo Picasso is more widely associated with works such as Les Demoiselles D’Avignon, a cubist portrayal of the ladies that composed a scene consisting of prostitutes. Some scholars have since made a connection between Picasso’s work and that of the court portraits of Spanish painter, Velazquez.

Degas and Picasso Exhibitions

This exhibition catalog is from the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute located in Williamstown, MA which hosted the exhibition that depicted the influence of Edgar Degas on Pablo Picasso. The exhibition lasted from June 13, 2010 until September 12, 2010. It was a joint project between the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute and the Museu Picasso, Barcelona. According to the Clark Institute website, it was funded in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities, and with the special cooperation of Fundación Almine y Bernard Ruiz-Picasso para el Arte.

About the Author

According to amazon.com, “Elizabeth Cowling is Professor Emeritus of History of Art at Edinburgh University, and an independent scholar and exhibition curator. Richard Kendall is Consultative Curator of Nineteenth-Century Art at the Clark, as well as an independent scholar and exhibition curator. Cécile Godefroy is a researcher at the Fundación Almine y Bernard Ruiz-Picasso para el Arte in Madrid. Sarah Lees is Associate Curator of European Art at the Clark. Montse Torras is Exhibitions Coordinator at the Museu Picasso in Barcelona.”

Picasso Looks at Degas by Elizabeth Cowlin, Mr. Richard Kendall, Montse Torras, Sarah Lees and Cecile Godefroy is available for purchase through the Clark Art Institute with ISBN 0300134126. It was originally published on July 13, 2010.

 

Book Review: The Swan Thieves

Elizabeth Kostovaswans was first published in 2005 with her best-selling historical vampire thriller, The Historian. Today, there are more than 1.5 million copies in print and a Sony film adaptation is in the works. Much like that novel, Kostova sets up The Swan of Thieves.

The Artist and the Academic

Here, Kostova creates a central, academic hero that becomes engrossed within a mystery. Each chapter ranges in time from past to present, encompassing the lives of painters Beatrice de Clerval and her uncle Olivier Vignot, whose lives are beautifully described and played out through their art and letters.

Juxtaposing the past with the present, Kostova creates her academic hero in Andrew Marlow, a trained psychiatrist who is bent on asking the tough, prying questions and unraveling the mystery that is key to the plot of the novel. The mystery being that one of Marlow’s patients, renowned painter Robert Oliver, tried to slash a painting in the National Gallery. Marlow becomes increasingly obsessed with Oliver and his reasons for attempting to do what he did, when he uncovers Oliver’s obsession with a stolen batch of letters written in French that he continually reads and obsesses over himself.

Living Up to The Historian

Fans of Kostova have waited with great anticipation for her next novel. Fans of The Historian will not be disappointed by The Swan Thieves, in fact, it is rather easy to see much of Kostova’s budding writing style continue on into her latest novel.

The intrigue and ability to build a deep and entangled plot is clearly evident in Kostova’s second novel. Accompanied with the lush world of Impressionism and 19th century life, Kostova delivers with The Swan Thieves: A Novel. Kostova has a great gift for writing. It will be a long wait to see what her third novel will bring to her already impressive quality of work.

About the Author – Elizabeth Kostova

Kostova was born New London, Connecticut and raised in Knoxville, Tennessee where she graduated from the Webb School of Knoxville. She went on to complete her undergraduate degree from Yale University and a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Michigan.

According to a press release, in May 2007, the Elizabeth Kostova Foundation was created to help support Bulgarian creative writing, the translation of contemporary Bulgarian literature into English, and friendship between Bulgarian authors and American and British authors.

The Swan Thieves: A Novel by Elizabeth Kostova was published by Little, Brown and Company on January 12, 2010 with ISBN 0316065781.