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Chapter 15 american art before world war ii

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Chapter 15 american art before world war ii

  2. 2. • The era of post-WWI Europe created anxiety, disillusion, hunger, despair, and a readiness for change. • The arts in the 30's were dominated by the Great Depression. The government supported programs such as the Public Works of Art Project and later the Federal Art Project. • The artists employed by these projects chose themes based on American culture and history. This decade marked the beginning of the American regionalist style with Grant Wood's famous work, American Gothic. • Artists that adopted the regionalist style include John Steuart Curry, Thomas Hart Benton, Grant Wood, and Joe Jones. In United States, the preoccupation with national identity generated a literature, and art containing statements on the nature of American culture.
  3. 3. • Romaine Brooks (1874–1970) lived most of her life in Paris. • There she was a leading figure in the artistic counterculture of upper-class American expatriates. • Brooks challenged conventional ideas of women fashion and behavior norms. These, ideas are extended to many of the portraits she painted in the 1920s • At t he time Brooks employed a muted palette primarily of black, white, and various subtle shades of gray. Romaine Brooks. Self- Portrait. 1923. Oil on canvas. 46-1⁄4 × 26-7⁄8”. National Museum of American Art, Washington, D.C. American Artist as Cosmopolitan: Romaine Brooks
  4. 4. Sloan, Predergast, and Bellows John Sloan studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and worked for 12 years as an illustrator on the Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Press. He was active in organizing the Society of Independent Artists and was its president from 1918. In 1930 Sloan was elected president of the Art Students League of New York City. Sloan’s painting owes its distinction to a natural interest in human beings, whose life he portrayed with a directness often verging on satire. He was equally gifted as an etcher. John Sloan. Hairdresser’s Window. 1907. Oil on canvas. 31-7⁄8 × 26”. Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, Connecticut The Truth about America: The Eight And Social Criticism
  5. 5. Maurice Prendergast adapted the ideas of light and color developed by the impressionists and post- impressionists, and made them uniquely his own. Prendergast used brilliant color and thick surface, giving his canvases their distinctive coarse texture. George Bellows was a member of the "Ashcan School“, whose name derived from the group's gritty scenes of everyday urban life. He painted New York's darker side using vigorous, rapid brushworks. George Bellows. Cliff Dwellers. 1913. Oil on canvas. 39-1⁄2 × 41-1⁄2”. Los Angeles County Museum of Art
  6. 6. Two Photographers: Riis and Hine During the Gilded Age photography was used as a method of documentation. Social reformers Jacob Riis and Lewis Hine, used photography to document the effects of industrialization and urbanization on the working-class, and to effect social change Their work highlighted the need for social and labor reform to the attention of policy makers and the public. Both men worked hard to improve the lives of America's working-class citizens. Jacob A. Riis. “Five Cents a Spot”. Lodging House, Bayard Street. c. 1889. Gelatin-silver print. Museum of the City of New York.
  7. 7. Stieglitz and Steichen George Eastman transformed photography into an inexpensive pastime. In 1884 Eastman patented the first film in roll form. Stieglitz’s The Steerage captured steerage passengers who, having been rejected by United States immigration officials, were being sent back to Europe. Alfred Stieglitz is credited with spearheading the rise of modern photography in America in the early years of the twentieth century. Alfred Stieglitz The Steerage. 1907. Gelatin-silver print 4-5⁄16 × 3-5⁄8”. The Art Institute of Chicago A Rallying Place for Modernism: 291 Gallery and the Stieglitz Circle
  8. 8. During the summer of 1908 Rodin moved the plaster of his sculpture of Balzac out of his studio for Steichen to photograph it in moonlight. The exposures lasted about an hour each. Steichen completed the exposure of this photograph at 4:00 A.M. The moonlight emphasized the silhouette against the nocturnal landscape. Stieglitz reproduced this image along with nine of Rodin's drawings in "Camera Work" in July 1911. Edward Steichen. Balzac The Silhouette—4 a.m. 1908 Gum bichromate print. 14-15⁄16 × 18-1⁄8”. The Metropolitan Museum of Art New York.
  9. 9. Edward Steichen accepted the position of chief photographer for Vogue and Vanity Fair by Condé Nast. The move upset Alfred Stieglitz and his followers, who considered the commercial enadeavour as damaging the cause of photography as a fine art. But Steichen revolutionized fashion photography by replacing the soft light of the Pictorialist with the clean, crisp Modernist lines. His approach redefined the image of the fashionable woman as a direct, and independent figure. Edward Steichen. Gloria Swanson. 1924. Gelatin-silver print 16-1⁄16 × 13-1⁄2” The Museum of Modern Art New York
  10. 10. Weber, Hartley, Marin, and Dove Max Weber Max Weber was born in Russia and at age ten emigrated with his family to the United States, settling in New York City. Weber is considered one of America's earliest modernists, and his long career witnessed many stylistic changes. Through the 1920s his work paid homage to such European artists as Paul Cézanne, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, and Henri Rousseau as well as to tribal African art. Max Weber. Chinese Restaurant 1915. Oil on canvas. 40 × 48” Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
  11. 11. Marsden Hartley A core member of the group that revolved around Alfred Stieglitz in New York City in the early decades of the 1900s, Marsden Hartley was at the center of the artistic and cultural American Modernism. A painter, poet, critic, and artistic rebel, Hartley witnessed momentous changes during the course of his lifetime. Hartley took part in the vibrant and vital changes afoot in the world. He joined a generation of radicals who shook off the weight of convention and tradition, and although academically trained, he valued innovation over tradition and worked to develop an original artistic voice. Marsden Hartley. Portrait of a German Officer. 1914 Oil on canvas. 68 ¼” x 41 3/8”. The Metropolitan Museum of Art New York.
  12. 12. John Marin A particularly vocal opponent of what he considered the "self-indulgence' of pure abstraction, Marin tried to bring in each painting his love of the visible world. Marin distrusted illusionism and drew on the resources of his own form of Cubism to explore his response to what he saw and experienced. Marin always insisted that his paintings be both celebrations of the visible world and flat, two-dimensional object The rugged vigor that characterizes the work, achieved at times by scrubbing and reworking the surface, belies the delicate beauty still associated with the artist's watercolors of the previous decade. Marin's paintings embody the artist's search for the equilibrium he believed could be achieved between the forces of dynamism and those of stability and order.
  13. 13. Arthur G. Dove. Nature Symbolized No. 2. c. 1911. Pastel on paper. 17-7⁄8 × 21-1⁄2”. The Art Institute of Chicago Arthur G. Dove Dove began his art career as an illustrator for the New York Press. In 1907 he went on a year-and-a- half trip to Europe, spending most of it in Paris. There he met American expatriates Weber, Maurer, and Bruce. Shortly after his return to America he spent much of his time camping in the wilderness.
  14. 14. Arthur G. Dove. Goin’ Fishin’. 1925. Assemblage of bamboo, denim shirtsleeve buttons, wood and oil on wood panel. 19-1⁄2 × 24”. The Phillips Collection Washington, D.C. Dove was the first American artist to paint a completely abstract image. around 1910. He did it perhaps a little before Wassily Kandinsky's first abstract compositions. Dove believed he could arrive at "essences" that would transmit his sense of the spiritual in nature, the deep concern of his art. The shapes in his paintings symbolized different kinds of force, and organic growth.
  15. 15. O’Keefe Georgia O’Keefe is one of the great and most compelling American artists of the 20th-century. For almost a century, O'Keeffe's interpretations of the American landscape provided a counterpoint to the chaotic images embraced by the art world. Her cityscapes and still lifes emanated an energy that cemented her position as a great American painter in the eyes of the critics and of the public. Alfred Stieglitz. O’Keeffe Hands and Thimble. 1919 printed 1947 by Lakeside Press, Chicago. Photomechanical halftone) reproduction. 7-3⁄4 × 6”. George Eastman House, Rochester, NY
  16. 16. During the 1920s, her large canvasses of flowers became synonymous with O’Keefe. The close-up and tight cropping lead to an abstraction that comes from a close observation of nature rather than from fantasy. O’Keefe’s paintings are a personal vision more than an object. In 1946, when Steiglitz died, O'Keeffe took up permanent residence in Taos, New Mexico. There she created the most compelling work of her artistic life. Georgia O’Keeffe. Music— Pink and Blue, II. 1919 Oil on canvas. 35-1⁄2 × 29” Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
  17. 17. O’Keefe’s biomorphic forms are more metamorphic, suggesting growth and regeneration. O'Keeffe's work is at once both representational and abstract. She gives us a home-grown abstraction that comes from a close observation of nature rather than from fantasy. But what she paints is a world that did not exist before she painted it; in other words, she paints a personal vision more than a thing or object. Georgia O’Keeffe. Cow’s Skull with Calico Roses. 1931. Oil on canvas. 35- 7⁄8 × 24”. The Art Institute of Chicago.
  18. 18. Ansel Adams. Frozen Lakes and Cliffs. The Sierra Nevada Sequoia National Park California. 1932. Gelatin-silver print. Straight Photography: Strand, Cunningham, and Adams Straight photography • is a process- and time-based approach • represents immediacy, • focuses on producing images in a sharp focus. The term refers to photographs that are not manipulated. Paul Strand and Alfred Stieglitz pioneered Straight photography in New York. Ansel Adams exploited the straight photography to maximize the graphic quality of the image.
  19. 19. The Armory Show was the most influential events in the history of American art. It took place at the New York's 69th Regiment Armory on Lexington Avenue between 25th and 26th streets. Approximately 1250 paintings, sculptures, and decorative works by over 300 European and American artists were displayed. Duchamp's Nude Descending the Staircase established the avant- garde’s duty to question the boundaries of art as an institution Postcard showing the Armory Show. 1913. The Museum of Modern Art Archives, New York Coming to America: The Armory Show
  20. 20. Synchronism • refers to a style of painting practiced in Paris in 1913 by two American painters, Morgan Russell and Stanton MacDonald- Wright. • Is imilar to the French style of Orphism • was a form of abstract art, in which colour was the focus. The style of was adopted by the mid- West painter Thomas Hart Benton before he switched to Regionalism during the 1920s. By the end of the WWI, Realism would take hold in America. Sharpening the Focus on Color and Form: Synchronism and Precisionism Morgan Russell. Synchromy in Orange: To Form, 1913-1914. Oil on canvas. 135” x 121 1/2”. Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York
  21. 21. Precisionism Throughout the 1910s, Charles Sheeler forged professional relationships with Alfred Stieglitz and the artist and gallery owner Marius de Zayas. He participated in important group shows, including the Armory Show, 1913. During this decade, he also began using his own photographs as sources for paintings. Sheeler focused on New York’s modern architecture. The dramatic viewpoints and abstract compositions associated him with the group of artists working Precisionist style. Charles Sheeler. Church Street El. 1920. Oil on canvas. 16 × 19-1⁄8” Cleveland Museum of Art
  22. 22. Sheeler’s Rolling Power is part of a series on industrial power commissioned by Fortune magazine. The painting depicts two drive wheels, a bogie wheel, and engine parts of a Hudson-type New York Central locomotive designed by Henry Dreyfuss. At the time it was the most efficient and powerful railroad engine available. The only suggestion of movement is the steam at the right. Charles Sheeler Rolling Power 1939 Oil on canvas 15 × 30”. Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton, MA.
  23. 23. Around 1920 Demuth began to explore the major theme of his career: industrial America. He worked in a Precisionist style, which consisted of a careful application of paint on the canvas that hardly a brushstroke can be seen. Demuth's painting style has something in common with Hartley's numbers. Charles Demuth. Rooftops and Trees. 1918. Watercolor and graphite on paper. 10 × 14”. Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
  24. 24. The Figure 5 in Gold, 1928, is a prediction of Pop art, based on an Imagist poem, "The Great Figure," by his friend William Carlos Williams. Demuth's rendering has something in common with Hartley's arrays of banners, numbers, and emblems. The Figure 5 in Gold represents the one of the most important pieces of American modernism. Demuth painted it almost at the end of his life. Charles Demuth. The Figure 5 in Gold. 1928. Oil on composition board 36 × 29-3⁄4”. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
  25. 25. The Harlem Renaissance in the beginning • was a literary movement centered in Harlem • grew out of the black migration and the emergence of Harlem as the premier black metropolis in the United States. • provided inspiration for poetry and local fiction. The Harlem Renaissance later developed into a recognizes national movement with connections to international developments in art and culture. Shuffle Along • a musical play written by comedians Flournoy Miller and Aubrey Lyles, and composers/singers Eubie Blake and Noble Sissle • the cast featured Josephine Baker and Paul Robeson • introduced white New Yorkers to black music, theater, and entertainment and helped generated the white fascination with Harlem and the African American • also brought jazz to Broadway. The Harlem Renaissance
  26. 26. Benton, Wood, and Hopper Regionalism in American painting developed at the beginning of the Great Depression in 1929. Exclusively Midwestern, Regionalism portrayed American life as simple and rural, in direct contrast to the urban- based Realist paintings that had dominated the American art scene since the turn of the century. Benton focused on images of ordinary people. He used exaggerated curvilinear shapes, and bold colors. Thomas Hart Benton. City Building from the mural series America Today. 1930. Distemper and egg tempera on gessoed linen with oil glaze. 7’ 8” × 9’ 9”. Collection the Equitable Life Assurance Society of the United States Painting the American Scene: Regionalists and Social Realists
  27. 27. Grant Wood adopted the style of precise realism of 15th-century northern European artists, and he supper-imposed it on his native Iowa, which provided the artist with his subject matter. American Gothic depicts a farmer and his spinster daughter posing before their house. American Gothic is an image that epitomizes the Puritan ethic and virtues that he believed dignified the Midwestern character. Wood was declared the founder of a new school of art, called Regionalism, and he was quick to embrace it. Grant Wood. American Gothic 1930. Oil on beaverboard. 29-7⁄8 × 24-7⁄8” The Art Institute of Chicago
  28. 28. Edward Hopper, born in Nyack, New York, in 1882, He studied at the New York School of Illustrating, and later at the more prestigious New York School of Art. After his studies at the NY School of Art, Edward Hopper went to Europe to study in Paris. Hopper is an important representative of American realism. His work is quintessentially American. Edward Hopper Early Sunday Morning 1930 Oil on canvas 35 × 60”. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
  29. 29. Lawrence for the most part used poster paints to capture the vivid street scenes of Harlem, and he civil righ He is best known for the sixty- panel Migration series, tracing the great migration of blacks from the rural agricultural south to the urban industrial north. The migration brought about many conflicts: • the battle between tradition and progress, • past and future, • South and North. Jacob Lawrence. The Migration series Panel No. 1: During World War I there was a great migration north by Southern African Americans, 1940–41. Casein tempera on hardboard. 12 × 18”. The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.
  30. 30. Bishop, Shahn, and Blume Ben Shahn, born in 1898 in Kovno, Lithuania, is best known for his works of social realism. He often explored polemic themes of modern urban life, organized labor, immigration and injustice. Ben Shahn. The Passion of Sacco and Vanzetti. 1931–32. Tempera on canvas. 7’ 1⁄2” × 4’. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
  31. 31. Dorothea Lange took this photograph in 1936, while employed by the U.S. government’s Farm Security Administration (FSA) program. The program was created during the Great Depression to raise awareness of and provide aid to impoverished farmers. Lange photographed Florence Owens Thompson and her children, in Nipomo, California. Migrant Mother, was widely circulated to magazines and newspapers and became a symbol of the plight of migrant farm workers during the Great Depression. Dorothea Lange Migrant Mother, 1936 Gelatin-silver print. Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. Documents of an Era: American Photographers Between the Wars
  32. 32. Born in 1898 in West Prussia, Alfred Eisenstaedt escaped the Holocaust in Europe and emigrated to the United States. Eisenstaedt was the first photographer to consistently practice candid photography. Over the course of his career Eisenstaedt photographed a wide range of subjects which included : • the first meeting between Hitler and Mussolini, • the aftermath of the Hiroshima bomb, • post depression America, • portraits of John F Kennedy, Albert Einstein, and Marilyn Monroe, • photographs of ordinary people . Alfred Eisenstaedt The Kiss. (Times Square). 1945. Life magazine.
  33. 33. The populist engravings of Jose Guadalupe Posada influenced an entire generation of painters who were to change the face of Mexican art forever. Three artists would be at the forefront of this change - David Alfaro Siqueiros, Diego Rivera, and Jose Clemente Orozco. Though different in style and temperament, all three artists believed, as did many other artists of their time, that art is for the education and betterment of the people, not an abstract concept. Diego Rivera Flower Day, 1925. Oil on canvas. 58 × 47-1⁄2” Los Angeles County Museum of Art Social Protest and Personal Pain: Mexican Artists
  34. 34. Diego Rivera. Detroit Industry. 1932–33. Fresco north wall. The Detroit Institute of Arts In spite of the close collaboration, the work of each artist was very distinctive. Siqueiros was the most innovative of the three. Although he started working in traditional fresco technique (watercolor washed onto damp plaster), he soon abandoned it to experiment with pyroxlene, a commercial enamel, and Duco, a transparent automobile paint.
  35. 35. Siqueiros • Siqueiros was the youngest three f Mexican muralists, along with Diego Rivera and José Clemente Orozco. • He was also the most radical of the three in technique, composition and political ideology. • He dedicated his career to promoting change through public art. • He integrated avant-garde styles and techniques with traditional iconography and local histories. • He, like Rivera, believed that technology was a means to a better world. David Alfaro Siqueiros Echo of a Scream. 1937 Enamel on wood . 48 x 36“. Museum of Modern Art, New York
  36. 36. Kahlo Frida Kahlo uses the symbolism of physical pain in an attempt to understand emotional suffering. The language of loss, and deathhad been investigated by Albrecht Dürer, Francisco Goya, and Edvard Munch. She repeated pain related motifs throughout her career and created the means to discuss aspects of female identity. Frida Kahlo Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace, 1940. Oil on canvas 24 × 18-3⁄4”. University of Texas, Austin
  37. 37. Exhibitions and Contact with Europe Davis Stuart Davis one of the great artists of 20th-century America, delved into Modernism, and portrayed the country as it was becoming more urban. He brought Cubism, to New York City, and modified it by including American product logos, and using hard-edged shapes and solid colors. His adaptation of European Cubism into an American idiom marked the modern art's move from Paris to New York. Stuart Davis. Report from Rockport, 1940. Oil on canvas 24 × 30”. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York The Avant-Garde Advances: Toward American Abstract Art
  38. 38. Diller and Pereira Irene Rice Pereira • embraced the principles of the Bauhaus. • merged technology and the transcendental • was among the most avid Bauhaus proponents in the United States. Diller • a pioneer of American modernism, he devoted his career to the exploration of geometric abstraction in painting, drawing, collage, and sculpture. Avery and Tack • used color and abstracted forms to convey a unique vision of the American scene. Milton Avery Swimmers and Sunbathers, 1945. Oil on canvas. 28 × 48-1⁄8” The Metropolitan Museum of Art New York
  39. 39. Lachaise and Nedelman Lachaise is best known for his large, stylized, female nudes, especially the several versions of Standing Woman (1912–27, 1932). Lachaise depicted the female nudes as: • vigorous, • robust, • massive • in repose, • serene • and eternal Gaston Lachaise, Standing Woman, 1912–27, Bronze, height 70”, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY The Avant-Garde Advances: Toward American Abstract Art
  40. 40. Elie Nadelman was an American-Polish artist whose work mreged the classical sculpture and folk art. His sculptures of women and animals combined soft stylization with the industrial aesthetic of bronze, stone, and hardwood. Elie Nadelman. Man in the Open Air c. 1915, Bronze, 54 1⁄2” high at base 11 3⁄4 × 21 1⁄2”. The Museum of Modern Art, New York
  41. 41. Alexander Calder became best known as the inventor of the 'mobile' and the 'stabile' ("line drawings in space"), and a pioneer of kinetic art. Calder redefined sculpture by introducing the element of motion first with motorized works, and later, with hanging works called "mobiles." Calder was the first artist to use wire to create three-dimensional line "drawings" of people, animals, and objects. These "linear sculptures" introduced line into sculpture as an element unto itself. André Kertész. Alexander Calder with his Circus (“Cirque Calder”), 1929. Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington,, D.C.
  42. 42. Alexander Calder, Romulus and Remus, 1928. Wire and wood 30-1⁄2 × 124-1⁄2 × 26” Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York Alexander Calder. Lobster Trap and Fish Tail, 1939. Hanging mobile: painted steel wire and sheet aluminum approximately 8’ 6” high × 9’ 6” diameter. The Museum of Modern Art, New York