When the twenty century arrived, artists had actually every factor to believe that they were entering a totally brand-new and unique modern age. Theorists like Henri Bergson to be expanding and collapsing our principle of time, and also Sigmund Freud’s theories to be opening brand-new paths come uncharted segments of the human being mind. The Industrial revolution of the nineteenth century brought modern conveyances in that wake favor the automobile, the airplane, and the electric elevator, which went hand-in-hand through steel-and-glass building and construction in birthing the skyscraper—the emblem that the modern city. Life had never been faster.

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This heady moment, confirmed in both intellectual and popular culture, important led artists to believe that castle were part of a task to both create a brand-new visual idiom for the contemporary world and also to simultaneously concern preexisting principles of what art could and also should be. Often, this view was additional radicalized by historic events and the encroachment of political affiliation. In Russia, the Soviet revolution of 1917 readjusted the tenor and an inspiration of an currently nascent avant-garde. In Mexico, the transformation of 1910–20 was the catalyst for an entirely brand-new movement. In Germany, the Weimar change of 1918 opened up an ideological an are for the Bauhaus to form. The good Depression in the joined States reduced the purchasing capacity of certain art-buying patrons and also created brand-new conditions for art in the 1930s. And, that course, human being War i (1914–8) and also World war II (1939–45) had actually staggering effects for art and life across the globe. Together our lecture on Art because 1950 (Part I) largely generates in the post-WWII sphere, chronologically, this lecture end closer to 1945.

The key obstacles, then, for this lecture, will certainly be

surveying the myriad avant-garde motions that found inspiration in this time period, whilegiving students possibly their first introduction come abstraction, which can throw turn off those conditioned to seeing recognizable forms in art.

Some proposal on managing these two issues:

Be candid in setup your students’ expectations: interact the above information first—”Think of how fast whatever started moving roughly 1900. The job of a two-hundred-year imaginative phenomenon through agreed-upon conventions choose the Renaissance space over.” Then allude out that, despite this lecture will certainly necessarily be a survey, there space a hold of related movements, artists, and also factions worldwide that might be explored by students exterior of class. Create, perhaps, a textual slide in your PowerPoint the lists this movements and also artists as a recommendation for student wishing to view more. Then, provide your college student a collection of broad themes to permit them to talk across the motions rather than delving too deeply into any kind of one. Ns will imply several in Content Suggestions, below.As for abstraction, a an excellent way to frame this product is to begin your students through a an easy idea: Modernism proposed that a paint or sculpture could be an ext than a fairly simple, greatly recognizable reproduction of something existing in nature. When art to be detached from the aim, its most basic formal aspects (line, color, and also depth, for example) became obtainable for cost-free experimentation.


There room several general surveys the are an excellent as textbooks for big portions the the product at hand, but the many widely embraced are:

For a general, all-purpose textbook: H.H. Arnason and also Elizabeth Mansfield, background of modern Art, 7th Ed. (New York: Pearson, 2012).For modern-day American art: Wayne Craven, American Art: history and Culture, Revised 1st Ed. (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2002) or the exhibition directory David Anfam, American art in the twenty Century (London: royal Academy the Arts, 1993).

Given Modernism’s penchant because that short-lived motions preceded by manifestos the expressed their distinctive aims, mary Ann Caws’s Manifesto: A Century the Isms (Omaha: college of Nebraska Press, 2000) may be a useful resource if you would prefer to have actually students read such groundbreaking functions as the “Founding and Manifesto of Futurism,” any type of of Tristan Tzara’s great Dada manifestos, or André Breton’s Surrealist manifestos.

Web resources:

For modern-day art, The arts Story.org is a site that gives matter-of-fact information on a large number of European and also U.S. Artists during the time period covered through this lecture.

There are additionally a variety of museum website that administer excellent support for the study of modern-day art, including, but not restricted to:

Some themes main to artists in the period from 1900 come 1950 that can frame this lecture include:

Art as much more than a just visual representation of objective reality: why is there such a change in the visuality of art around 1900? What motivating factors are there?Art as the explicate of modernity: just how do representations of the contemporary city frequently define modern-day art? What kinds of visual tropes allow us come discern one artist’s perspective toward modernity and also the brand-new city?Art as a means of social or politics engagement: exactly how does art continue—from a trajectory started in the middle of the nineteenth century—to method issues of social justice or to permit politics right into its kind and topic matter?Art as a reflection of history: exactly how do historical events or alters direct the food of art in the beforehand twentieth century?

These an essential themes can be explored in an hour and also fifteen minutes with a variety of examples, including:

Paul Cézanne, The huge Bathers, 1906Henri Matisse, Le Bonheur de Vivre (The delight of Life), 1905–6Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Street, Dresden, 1908Wassily Kandinsky, Composition VII, 1913Pablo Picasso, Family of Saltimbanques, 1905Pablo Picasso, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (The Young females of Avignon), 1907Umberto Boccioni, Simultaneous Visions, 1911–2Umberto Boccioni, Unique creates of continually in Space, 1913Hugo round performing the sound city Karawane in ~ the Cabaret Voltaire, Zürich, 1916Marcel Duchamp, Fountain, 1917Charles-Édouard Jeanneret (Le Corbusier), Still Life, 1920Gino Severini, Armored Train, 1915Gino Severini, Two Pierrots, 1922Pablo Picasso, Three ladies at a Spring, 1921Piet Mondrian, Lozenge Composition v Red, Gray, Blue, Yellow, and also Black, 1925El Lissitzky, The Constructor, 1925Herbert Bayer, Poster for Bauhaus Exhibition, 1923Marcel Breuer, “Wassily” Chair, 1925–6André Masson, Battle of Fishes, 1926Postcard, World’s Fair, Paris, 1937Pablo Picasso, Guernica, 1937George Bellows, Cliff Dwellers, 1913Georgia O’Keeffe, City Light, 1926Aaron Douglas, From slavery Through Reconstruction from the mural bike Aspects of negro Life, 1934Jackson Pollock, Full Fathom Five, 1947


Abstract Expressionism: a motion in the unified States—exemplified right here in the occupational of Jackson Pollock—that sought to express universal primal, psychological, and emotional person values with mostly massive abstraction after world War II.

Abstraction: the effort to distill art’s most basic underlying develops from nature, abstraction, or summary art, typically begins from a recognizable figure and also converts it into much more basic facets of geometry, form, or color.

Arbitrary color: non-naturalistic color used to a form or object.

The Ashcan School: a team of like-minded artists from the United claims in the beforehand twentieth century—exemplified right here in the work of George Bellows—who painted Realist scenes in a direct, impressionistic manner.

Automatism: Automatic illustration or painting occurs as soon as the artist makes an attempt to eliminate the mindful mind from the plot of creation, v doodling or applying paint come a surface in a haphazard or unplanned manner. This to be a Surrealist an answer to Freud’s thesis that the Unconscious is the source of imaginative creativity.

Bauhaus: developed on the impacts of Expressionism, Neoplasticism, Constructivism (among others), the Bauhaus—exemplified below in the work-related of Herbert Bayer and Marcel Breuer—was a revolutionary new take on the traditional art institution model, pass the fine arts (painting, sculpture, and also architecture) and the used arts (typically, architecture fields prefer furniture, stained glass, woodworking, printmaking, and also so on) under one roof and also one curriculum.

Biomorphic: typically applied to Surrealism, biomorphic indicates the development of summary “lifeforms” the arise together the result of automatic drawing or painting.

Constructivism: usually divided into two camps (Russian and also International), Constructivist art was made possible by new, commercial forms and materials wed to geometric forms and an idea the the artist should additionally be an engineer, constructing a brand-new and radical modern world. Exemplified below in the work-related of El Lissitzky in the Soviet Union, this was attached to socialist ideals; internationally, artists were an ext concerned v Constructivism’s formal and material possibilities.

Cubism: a semi-abstract motion in early on twentieth-century (mostly) French art—exemplified here in the occupational of Pablo Picasso—that continued the official project begun with Paul Cézanne’s evaluation of form, frequently geometricizing figures and collapsing timeless naturalistic notions the depth and perspective.

Dada: A set of ideas much more than a coherent movement, Dada has actually been referred to as one “anti-art” movement due to its iconoclastic nature and also its tendency to critique and also question the an extremely principles basic the commissioning, creation, and also dissemination of art. Started in Zürich in 1916 through a team of pacifist artists, the spirit of Dada easily took source in Paris, new York, and also Berlin, amongst other places. That is exemplified here in the power of Hugo Ball and the readymades that Marcel Duchamp.

Expressionism: with a funding ‘E’, a German-derived semi-abstract activity of the early on twentieth-century—exemplified right here in the work-related of serious Ludwig Kirchner and Wassily Kandinsky—that used shade and form to express inner or extra-pictorial qualities such as psychology, spirituality, and also emotion. Together such, the stands as a sort of antidote come nineteenth-century French Impressionism, i beg your pardon sought to recreate external sensations. With a lowercase ‘e’, expressionist or expressionistic art indicates an attempt to refer a greater or deeper worth not watched in the exterior appearance of an object.

Fauvism: a semi-abstract motion in early on twentieth-century (mostly) French art—exemplified here in the job-related of Henri Matisse—that supplied bright, regularly unmixed colour in an effort to develop a direct means of expression separated from earlier naturalistic trends.

Futurism: a semi-abstract motion in beforehand twentieth-century Italian and Russian art—exemplified here in the occupational of Umberto Boccioni—that took the colorful colors that Neo-Impressionism and also Cubism’s fragmenting of form and room and used those to produce an art concerned principally v themes the motion, speed, and also dynamism.

Harlem Renaissance: a cultural blossoming that African-American arts the originated in brand-new York City after civilization War I.

Neoplasticism (also recognized as De Stijl): an abstract motion founded throughout the interwar duration in the Netherlands—exemplified below in the job-related of Piet Mondrian—that suggest simplicity, order, and functionality developed on the most basic geometric develops (horizontal and vertical lines) and the most straightforward colors (the three primary tones, black, gray, and white) towards the opportunity of getting to universal worths in art.

Purism: a semi-abstract movement in interwar France—exemplified below in the job-related of Le Corbusier—that proposed geometry and simplicity as underlying values of art, suggest the require for originality and creation based upon these orderly bases. Purism sought come overturn the preferably of Cubism in the Parisian arts scene after WWI.

Primitivism: a tendency within Modernism wherein west artists one of two people a.) functioned in a “naïve” or “untrained” style in an effort to approach a an ext basic, direct method of expression or b.) looked come non-Western forms of art to escape what was viewed as the cul-de-sac the the west tradition.

The return to Order: a retrograde interwar trend across Europe (but focused, perhaps, in France) toward naturalistic art, wherein artist turned away from “decadent” abstraction toward traditional values of beauty, proportion, and also order.

The Stieglitz Circle: a constellation of artists grouped roughly the photographer-gallerist Alfred Stieglitz and his 291 Gallery—exemplified below by Georgia O’Keeffe—that created an early, semi-abstract avant-garde in near dialog v European artistic developments in the beforehand twentieth-century united States.

Surrealism: a motion in interwar France—exemplified below in the job-related of André Masson—that sought come render a “higher” reality easily accessible by the unleashing that the Unconscious or, often, the evaluation of dreams.

The Works development Administration (WPA): a routine in the United states under the presidency that Franklin Roosevelt that provided work because that a variety of artists throughout the an excellent Depression, many notably ~ above government-funded mural jobs for federal, state, and municipal buildings.

The first Wave: Modernism before World battle I

The Post-Impressionist Paul Cézanne was credited by two of Modernism’s pioneers—Henri Matisse and also Pablo Picasso—for laying the groundwork for twentieth-century art. Among other things, his relenten of objects from multiple viewpoints and also his usage of shade as a structure block for form (rather 보다 as a vital attribute that form) led both to the fracturing of kind in Picasso’s Cubism and the usage of arbitrary (non-naturalistic) color in Matisse’s Fauvism. The Large Bathers, painted in the year the Cézanne’s death, was a radical leave from naturalism. The tough outlines roughly his female numbers emphasize the two-dimensionality of the canvas while contrasting visually v the i of shade from one form to another. That is clear, for example, that particular brushstrokes relocate from one number to another throughout what need to be your outline. As such, shade has to be liberated here from the form that carries it, and also the forms themselves are gathered by Cézanne’s constructive brushstrokes.

Cézanne’s canvases, however, were still attached to trends of nineteenth-century naturalism in just how they allotted shade to objects. Matisse’s exit in Le Bonheur de Vivre (The happiness of Life) take it Cézanne’s separation of shade from type to its reasonable extreme, using color as a purely expressive tool divorced native optical sensation. It can additionally be offered to introduce the idea of Primitivism in twentieth-century Modernism: at a moment of rapid industrialization and also modernization, artists favor Matisse made decision to repaint “naïve” works of arts in a manner that suggests a natural state of simplicity. In The joy of Life, yellow, blue-green, and pink nudes dance, sing, and also frolic in one untouched, multicolored Eden. By alternately exaggerating and simplifying forms, Matisse made artistic choices that emphasized the canvas as a two-dimensional support for the harmonious location junxtap of color rather than any sort of exact representation of nature.

While some doubters recognized the passion and vitality of Matisse and his followers’ brand-new direction (the surname of his activity Fauvism derives native the French for “wild beast”), others tested Matisse for paint in this radical idiom, and his reaction stated a lot about the new territory the Modernism. Responding to charges the ugliness made about his Blue Nude the 1907, Matisse famously quipped: “If i met such a mrs in the street, I must run away in terror. Over all, I carry out not produce a woman, i make a picture.”

This idea—that art might be around something better than just representation—marked a radical transition that to be taken up by 2 of Modernism’s major movements, Expressionism and Cubism. Expressionism, mainly a German invention, was represented by two major groups: Die Brücke and also Der Blaue Reiter.

Die Brücke (The Bridge) was formed in Dresden in 1905 and also incorporated figural distortions, a Primitivist directness that rendering, and also an expressiveness of shade that linked it come Fauvism. In Street, Dresden, Die Brücke founder serious Ludwig Kirchner supplies those principles to express feelings of alienation within the modern-day city. A an easy and informing exercise: ask your students to make two columns, one for adjectives describing The delight of Life, and also one because that adjectives relenten Street, Dresden. When The joy of Life is one idyllic scene of healthy bodies in herbal harmony, Kirchner’s scene reports the mask-like, made-up deals with of ladies in the too-tight city street environment. Though this women address the viewer, your eyes room blackened, implying an inability or unwillingness come make straightforward human connections. A worry over the results of modernity and also the city on the person psyche was a leitmotif that Expressionist thought.

Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider) was created in 1911 in Munich and also focused on the opportunity of pure abstraction (art without recognizable objects). The leader the Der Blaue Reiter, Wassily Kandinsky composed an prominent treatise licensed has been granted On the spirituality in Art in 1910 that, amongst other things, suggested that abstraction available a universality that representation might not, and that color acted autonomously from form as a carrier for spiritual values thought to be lost in the endure of modernity.

Kandinsky’s Composition VII provides fantastic opportunity to define the sometimes daunting concept the abstraction to students. If, together Kandinsky suggests, shade could exist exterior of form, what would certainly it look at like? Kandinsky and also his followers were fond of comparing visual art to music. Take into consideration terms mutually used to define art and music, favor tone, harmony, and—for Kandinsky—the names of his paints themselves: Composition, Improvisation, Study (Étude). Music, in the eyes of the Expressionists, was the perfect an allegory for summary art; though it has type and tone, though it can be felt and also heard, its forms cannot be seen.

They can, however, it is in written, notated, and also visualized. Someone have the right to wear a “loud” shirt, Matisse produced “harmonious compositions,” and also Kandinsky—in Composition VII—painted very “cacophonous” scene. Despite the forms here are all yet unrecognizable (scholars have actually read specific of Kandinsky’s canvases as apocalyptic scenes through abstract imagery culled from the book of Revelations), the artist communicates clamor (again, one needs to reach for sound as an analogy!), conflict, and also violent energies through his manipulation of kind and color separated from objective reality.

This connection between modern-day art and also music was not shed on the Cubists, who regularly had guitars, pianos, and also violins in their compositions (Georges Braque’s Homage come J.S. Bach pertains to mind), or the Futurists or Dadaists who complied with them, for that matter. However, initially, the Cubist evaluation of kind came directly from Pablo Picasso and also Braque’s research of Cézanne. A comparison between The huge Bathers and Picasso’s pre-Cubist period Family that Saltimbanques makes that visual blame immediately apparent through Picasso’s selection of palette, his taking care of of paint, and construction of creates through small, rough brushstrokes.

By the moment he painted Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (The Young women of Avignon), however, Picasso had clearly pushed past Cézanne’s trial and error into a brand-new visual idiom. Though he had a clever referral to the older artist’s penchant for painting off-kilter still life from multiple perspectives (the small arrangement the fruit not-quite-sitting in your crescent-shaped bowl on one awkwardly jutting table at the foot the the canvas), Picasso wrong Cézanne’s merged composition right into hard-edged facets. This is how, for example, it is feasible to check out the women he stood for both frontally and also in profile. It to be this distinctive style—emphasizing the difficult geometry basic Picasso’s form—that caused movie critics to refer to the brand-new painting style as Cubism. Numerous of the women’s deals with are additionally replaced through or modeled on african masks that Picasso witnessed on display in ethnographic museums, describe his own use of Primitivism come find new forms of expression and to divorce his contemporary art indigenous the Western artistic tradition.

The visual advancements of Cubism and also Expressionism catalytic analysis artists across Europe who sought come express the modern age in your art. In Italy (and later, Russia), Futurism taken on modernity, especially seeking come incorporate developments from science and also industry into their multifaceted production. The “Founding and Manifesto of Futurism” published by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti in 1909 (after a life-changing event wherein the ran his automobile off the road and also flipped it right into a ditch) was the an initial in a series of dynamic, combative, and also incendiary texts published by the movement’s artists, that moved right into a large array of imaginative media: literature, theatre and set design, painting, sculpture, architecture, dance, photography, toymaking, clothing, film, and so on. Your bellicose rhetoric and also celebration of the modern an equipment did not avoid on the imaginative level, either; the Futurists cried loudly because that Italy’s intervention in the first modern, mechanical battle (World war I), and most the the initial coterie the Futurist artists dealt with for the Italian Army. Sadly, 2 of the most important at an early stage Futurists (Umberto Boccioni and also Antonio Sant’Elia) passed away as a an outcome of your involvement.

Before his fatality in 1916, Boccioni was maybe the most prominent artist in the movement, as a painter, sculptor, and also writer who mainly penned the “Technical manifesto of Futurist Painting” in 1910. Simultaneous Visions encapsulates plenty of of the major themes of Futurism. Spurred on by the maddening pace of modern life, the Futurists believed in the concept of simultaneity: the time occurred all in ~ once, fairly than together a series of discrete moments, and that forms—as a result—were additionally unbound, interpenetrating and exerting force on every other. Here, a woman looks indigenous a staggering elevation off of she balcony top top the city street below. The street and also its commotion, indicated by force lines that slice across the canvas, belong spatially come the balcony; meanwhile, the woman’s face, repetitive frontally and hovering end the buildings across the street, belonging spatially to the street. This radical taking care of of perspective and the dynamism it create is analogous in Futurist believed to the velocity of day-to-day life and also was often contrasted to the telescoping whirr in ~ the corners of one’s vision once they talk in a car, train, or airplane.

Boccioni additionally wrote the “Technical manifest of Futurist Sculpture” in 1912, in i beg your pardon he asserted that a sculpted object, far from a discrete whole, should incorporate every those facets of its environment that action upon it. His Unique creates of continuity in Space attempted to do exactly that, showing the advancement of a figure striding in forward motion. Despite the upright figure has powerful legs that reduced the air, developing swirling vortexes, its face and also chest are greatly caved in, suggesting the forces resisting that is progress. To be Unique Forms one allegory for Italy’s search to define itself together a modern-day nation? to be it a contemporary man-machine, ready to leap into battle? to be it, as Boccioni suggested, a response to Marinetti’s claim that a roaring automobile engine was as beautiful together the Nike of Samothrace? every little thing the case, the iconic sculpture has come to be one the Italy’s many celebrated modern works, even appearing (as the result of a popular phone-in vote!) ~ above the country’s version of the twenty-Eurocent coin since 2002.

Dada landed on the European step in 1916 at a small nightclub called the Cabaret Voltaire in Zürich, Switzerland. The artists that met over there were mostly pacifists that relocated to the neutral country during people War I, and their uproarious, playful, and iconoclastic performances (indeed, Dada is regularly referred to as an “anti-art” movement) laid hefty criticism top top the bourgeois society and economic forces lock blamed for the war. While it embraced contemporary art, then—Cubist and Expressionist paintings were showed at the Cabaret Voltaire, and Futurist sound poems and manifestos to be declaimed—Dada agitated because that the damage of the commercial art institution, making use of performance to create art that can not be commodified. Dada stood because that an take on of the irrational and also original versus timeless concepts of reason and also tradition.

Hugo Ball’s Performance of the sound poem Karawane exemplifies this bent. The performance occurred in 1916 and also is recognized by photographs and also reproductions that Ball’s poem. Created in a rash language meant to mimic specific African dialects (an regrettably racist, if well-intentioned effort to reach because that inspiration past the west canon), Ball produced Karawane to be spoken aloud quite than review silently, and he hence emphasized the phonetic characteristics of the words quite than your meaning. In the photograph, he stands attract a “Cubist” costume, with a cylinder roughly his torso, one more atop his head, a conical wrap roughly his shoulders, and also a pair of bizarre angular gloves lengthening his fingertips. His performance of Karawane, then, have to be review as lot as a celebration of contemporary art as it is a takedown the the hallowed Western intellectual bastion that reason, which—for the Dada group—was not worth much, once it eventually created maker guns, tanks, bombs, and also other tools to much more efficiently death millions in a devastating war.

As one idea, Dada spread out quickly, spawning factions throughout the globe. Marcel Duchamp to be an artist whose job-related was closely linked with Dada that worked between Paris and new York. His imaginative maneuvers—often meant to straight question the most simple assumptions of arts itself—placed him among the most necessary artists that the twenty century. Maybe his best-known job-related is his Fountain, which caused an enormous conflict upon its “creation.” In 1917, Duchamp purchase a urinal native a hardware store, signed the “R. Mutt 1917,” and submitted it to the society of elevation Artists’ annual exhibition. Though the committee for the exhibition declared that it would accept and show all correctly submitted works, they rejected Duchamp’s Fountain, bring about an uproar in the imaginative community.

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The committee’s verdict rode greatly upon the reality that Duchamp did no manufacture the occupational himself. Duchamp, who had actually been creating “readymade” functions of art because 1914 through repurposing present objects, claimed that the urinal to be art, and he was sustained by an cotton editorial the was circulated at the time that read:

“Whether mr Mutt make the fountain through his own hands or not has actually no importance. He made decision it. He take it an article of life, put it so the its helpful significance disappeared under the new title and allude of view—created a new thought for the object.”

Duchamp’s intervention came to be the fountainhead for a variety of important questions concerning the standing of art itself. What is a work of art? that gets come decide? If the artist gets to decide what a job-related of arts is, climate is selecting a work-related of art considerably different than developing it? deserve to an idea—not an object—be a job-related of art? In elevating these questions, Duchamp produced the idea of theoretical art, i m sorry didn’t require any evidence that the artist’s making. This opened the floodgates that what could be thought about “art” to a staggering degree.