×

Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

The Innocent Eye: Children's Art and the Modern Artist
     

The Innocent Eye: Children's Art and the Modern Artist

by Jonathan Fineberg
 

See All Formats & Editions

"When I was the age of these children I could draw like Raphael. It took me many years to learn how to draw like these children."--Pablo Picasso, upon viewing an exhibition of children's drawings, as quoted by Sir Herbert Read in 1945

The idea that modern art looks like something a child can do is a long-standing cliché. For some modernists, however, the

Overview

"When I was the age of these children I could draw like Raphael. It took me many years to learn how to draw like these children."--Pablo Picasso, upon viewing an exhibition of children's drawings, as quoted by Sir Herbert Read in 1945

The idea that modern art looks like something a child can do is a long-standing cliché. For some modernists, however, the connection between their work and children's art was direct and explicit. This groundbreaking and heretical book, centered on such modern masters as Klee, Kandinsky, Picasso, and Miró, presents for the first time material from the collections of child art that these artists actually possessed as they undertook some of the greatest masterworks of their careers. As the first art historian to pursue this connection in detail, Jonathan Fineberg here explores the importance of children's art to the work of key modernists from Matisse to Jackson Pollock. Fineberg's inquiry unfolds in this handsome book, which juxtaposes modern masterpieces with the drawings by children that directly influenced them. Fineberg discusses the effect of primitivism and Freudian thought on some of these artists, and demonstrates how they valued children's art for many reasons, including its naive spontaneity and celebration of the moment, imaginative use of visual language, and its universality and candor. For each of the masters who collected child art, the reasons for doing so are as varied as his or her unique style.

Fineberg has uncovered most of these major collections of child art assembled by celebrated modernists. Many examples from these collections are reproduced in this book for the first time, together with explanations as to why expressionists, cubists, futurists, and others displayed the art of children alongside their own work in exhibitions of the early twentieth century. In chapters devoted to Larionov, Kandinsky and Münter, Klee, Picasso, Miró, Dubuffet, the Cobra artists, and artists after World War II, Fineberg examines how each artist exploited aspects of child art to formulate his or her own artistic breakthroughs.

With over 170 color plates and 140 black and white illustrations, this visually compelling book will stimulate new research among art historians and will inspire museum visitors to see some of their favorite modern masterpieces in a new way.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"The most important contribution of Fineberg's book. . . is the way he weaves together evidence of modern artists collecting children's art, remarking upon it, using it in their work, and, in some cases, physically integrating it into their own. . . . This is all new material, and very important to our still developing sense of the role non-traditional art forms played in the working of modern art."--James Cuno, Harvard Magazine

"Fineberg taps a vein ripe for critical inquiry. The Innocent Eye approaches, with systematic rigor, an important subject that deserves further study; it will intrigue any student of modernist art."--Daniel Sogg, Art & Antiques

"In his fascinating, heavily illustrated study Fineberg shows how children's paintings inspired the works of many artists, such as Picasso, Miro, Dubuffet and Klee. . . . It's a convincing argument, but Fineberg also does a fine job of looking at larger issues such as how the postwar mainstreaming of psychoanalytic theory provided later artists with a handle on the feelings of childhood that went beyond the previous 'meticulous visual analysis of child art.'"--Publisher's Weekly

"As an anthology of superb child art, reproduced at the same scale and quality of colour as the 'great works on modern art' that stand alongside them, The Innocent Eye is unsurpassed. In each specific case, the child's work is shown convincingly to be the source of the adult's. Both are honoured equally."--Timothy Hyman, Times Literary Supplement

"The old modern art saw, 'My child could have done that,' is addressed head-on in this engaging study."--Library Journal

"An illuminating and at times revelatory new book."--Richard Cork, The Times (London)

Library Journal
The old modern art saw, "My child could have done that," is addressed head-on in this engaging study. Fineberg (art history, Univ. of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign) looks at the use of children's art by many 20th-century artists who collected it, drew inspiration from it, or incorporated it into their own work. In chapters on Kandinsky, Klee, Picasso, Miro, Dubuffet, and others, Fineberg develops the argument that many modern masters used children's art as a way to recapture freshness of vision. This work is generously illustrated with both adult and children's artwork, though a few of the examples are too small for details discussed in the text to be seen. This serious work will be of interest to specialists in the field, but it is also suitable for students and general readers.Kathryn Wekselman, Univ. of Cincinnati Lib.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691016849
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
01/11/1999
Pages:
264
Product dimensions:
9.59(w) x 11.47(h) x 1.00(d)

What People are Saying About This

Anne Coffin Hanson, the John Hay Whitney Professor Emerita of History of Art at Yale University
The Innocent Eye is a provocative and refreshing contribution to be enjoyed by the average reader and to encourage in the specialist a new 'innocence' in both eye and mind.
Anne Coffin Hanson
The Innocent Eye is a provocative and refreshing contribution to be enjoyed by the average reader and to encourage in the specialist a new 'innocence' in both eye and mind.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews