Collected Essays and Criticism, Volume III: Affirmations and Refusals, 1950-1956

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Clement Greenberg is widely recognized as the most influential and articulate champion of modernism during its American ascendency after World War II, the period largely covered by these highly acclaimed volumes of The Collected Essays and Criticism. Volume 3: Affirmations and Refusals presents Greenberg's writings from the period between 1950 and 1956, while Volume 4: Modernism with a Vengeance gathers essays and criticism of the years 1957 to 1969. The 120 works range from little-known pieces originally appearing Vogue and Harper's Bazaar to such celebrated essays as "The Plight of Our Culture" (1953), "Modernist Painting" (1960), and "Post Painterly Abstraction" (1964). Preserved in their original form, these writings allow readers to witness the development and direction of Greenberg's criticism, from his advocacy of abstract expressionism to his enthusiasm for color-field painting.

With the inclusion of critical exchanges between Greenberg and F. R. Leavis, Fairfield Porter, Thomas B. Hess, Herbert Read, Max Kozloff, and Robert Goldwater, these volumes are essential sources in the ongoing debate over modern art. For each volume, John O'Brian has furnished an introduction, a selected bibliography, and a brief summary of events that places the criticism in its artistic and historical context.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
These final two volumes of the writings of the esteemed art critic include major and lesser known pieces as well as exchanges with F.R. Leavis, Fairfield Porter and others, as well as biographical summary, selected bibliography and introduction by O'Brian. (Mar.)
The New Criterion
With the publication of the first two volumes of Clement Greenberg's Collected Essays and Criticism, we are at last on our way to having a comprehensive edition of the most important body of art criticism produced by an American writer in this century. The two volumes now available—Perceptions and Judgments, 1939-1944 and Arrogant Purpose, 1945-1949—bring together for the first time Mr. Greenberg's critical writings from the decade in which he emerged as the most informed and articulate champion of the New York School as well as one of our most trenchant analysts of the modern cultural scene.

— Hilton Kramer

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226306230
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 6/1/1995
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 340
  • Sales rank: 605,161
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Clement Greenberg (1909–1994), champion of abstract expressionism and modernism—of Pollock, Miró, and Matisse—has been esteemed by many as the greatest art critic of the second half of the twentieth century, and possibly the greatest art critic of all time. On radio and in print, Greenberg was the voice of "the new American painting," and a central figure in the postwar cultural history of the United States.

Greenberg first established his reputation writing for the Partisan Review, which he joined as an editor in 1940. He became art critic for The Nation in 1942, and was associate editor of Commentary from 1945 until 1957. His seminal essay, "Avant-Garde and Kitsch" set the terms for the ongoing debate about the relationship of modern high art to popular culture. Though many of his ideas have been challenged, Greenberg has influenced generations of critics, historians, and artists, and he remains influential to this day.

John O’Brian is professor of art history at the University of British Colombia.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments Editorial Note Introduction by John O'Brian

1. An Essay on Paul Klee
2. Review of Exhibitions of van Gogh and Alfred Maurer
3. Introduction to an Exhibition of Arnold Friedman
4. Renoir and the Picturesque
5. The Seeing Eye: Review of Landscape Painting by Kenneth Clark and Landscape, Portrait, Still-Life by Max J. Friedlander
6. Foreword to a Group Exhibition at the Kootz Gallery
7. The Venetian Line
8. Two Reconsiderations
9. Religion and the Intellectuals: A Symposium
10. The Art of China: Review of The Principles of Chinese Painting by George Rowley
11. Advertisement for an Exhibition of Franz Kline at the Egan Gallery
12. Self-Hatred and Jewish Chauvinism: Some Reflections on "Positive ]ewishness"
13. Foreword to an Exhibition of Marsden Hartley and Alfred Maurer
14. The European View of American Art
15. Realism and Beyond: Review of The History of Modern Painting from Picasso to Surrealism by Maurice Raynal et al., Pierre-Auguste Renoir by Walter Pach, Vincent van Gogh by Meyer Schapiro, and El Greco by Leo Bronstein
16. T. S. Eliot: The Criticism, The Poetry

17. Chaim Soutine
18. Letters Concerning J. Alvarez del Vayo's Column in The Nation
19. Cezanne and the Unity of Modern Art
20. Review of Gustave Courbet by Gerstle Mack
21. Review of The Social History of Art by Arnold Hauser

22. "Feeling Is All"
23. Jackson Pollock's New Style
24. Cross-Breeding of Modern Sculpture
25. Cezanne: Gateway to Contemporary Painting I
26. Foreword to an Exhibition of Jackson Pollock


27. Foreword to a Group Exhibition at the Stable Gallery
28. Foreword to an Exhibition of Willem de Kooning
29. The Plight of Our Culture
30. Independence of Folk Art: Review of Folk Art in Europe by Helmut Bossert
31. Symposium: Is the French Avant-Garde Overrated?
32. Two of the Moderns: Review of Chagall by Jacques Lassaigne and Soutine by Raymond Cogniat

33. Some Advantages of Provincialism
34. Master Leger
35. Foreword to a Group Exhibition at the Kootz Gallery
36. Review of The Art and Architecture of India by Benjamin Rowland, Painting in Britain by E. K. Waterhouse, Art and Architecture in France by Anthony Blunt, and Architecture in Britain by John Summerson
37. The Very Old Masters
38. Foreword to a Exhibition of Adolph Gottlieb
39. The Sculpture ofJacques Lipchitz
40. Abstract and Representational

41. Autobiographical Statement
42. Color in Madrid and from Amsterdam: Review of Art Treasures ofthe Prado Museum by Harry B. Wehle, and Rembrandt by Ludwig Munz
43. Review of The Art and Architecture of the Ancient Orient by Henri Frankfort, Painting in Britain: The Middle Ages by Margaret Rickert, and The Art and Architecture of Russia by George Heard Hamilton
44. The Jewishness of Franz Kafka: Some Sources of His Particular Vision
45. How Good is Kafka? A Critical Exchange with F. R. Leavis
46. "American-Type" Painting
47. A Critical Exchange with Fairfield Porter on "'American-Type' Painting"
48. Introduction to an Exhibition of Hans Hofmann
49. Lautrec's Art: Review of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec: Drawings and Sketches in Colour by Hanspeter Landolt and H. de Toulouse-Lautrec: One Hundred Ten Unpublished Drawings by Arthur W. and M. Roland O. Heintzelman
50. Review of Piero della Francesca and The Arch of Constantine, both by Bernard Berenson
51. Polemic Against Modern Art: Review of The Demon of Progress in the Arts by Wyndham Lewis
52. Foreword to the Tenth Anniversary Exhibition of the Betty Parsons Gallery
53. Impress of Impressionism: Review of Impressionism by Jean Leymarie
54. Methods of the Master: Review of Leonardo's Treatise on Painting, annotated by A. Philip McMahon
55. Review of Four Steps Toward Modern Art by Lionello Venturi
56. American Stereotypes: Review of Cousins and Strangers: Comments on America by Commonwealth Fund Fellows from Britain, 1946-1952 edited by S. Gorley Putt
57. Roundness Isn't All: Review of The Art of Sculpture by Herbert Read
58. Picasso as Revolutionary: Review of Picasso by Frank Elgar and Robert Maillard
59. David Smith

Bibliography Chronology 1950-1969

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