Paris Between the Wars 1919-1939: Art, Life & Culture

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During the années folles following World War I, Paris underwent a creative fever that brought artists and intellectuals from around the world to the City of Light. The bohemian charms of Montparnasse attracted artists such as Picasso, Chagall, and Giacometti, while a vibrant café culture provided a forum for disputes between Dadaists and Surrealists and gave rise to a group of expa­triate writers. The creative energy was all-encompassing, establishing Paris as the epicenter of new trends in the arts, a position it would occupy until World War II. This newest title in a celebrated series addresses such diverse topics as aesthetics, literature, the changing role of women, and the transformation of avant-garde culture.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Teeming with nearly three million people from all walks of life, Paris between the two great wars experienced an artistic and intellectual golden age, detailed and illustrated here. During these years, writers explored unconventional subjects and styles, from Colette's exploration of the struggle between the sexes to Céline's unconventional language and a darkly absurd vision of humanity. In music and dance, Stravinsky composed two emblematic works of modern neoclassicism, Oedipus Rex and Symphony of Psalms; American jazz flowed in Montmartre clubs; Josephine Baker's topless dancing caused a sensation; and the Ballets Russes recruited the greatest practitioners of the dance, musical, and visual arts for revolutionary new ballets. Radical modernist architects grouped around Le Corbusier. Matisse's sensual odalisques, Duchamp's Mona Lisa with Mustache, Picasso's war-inspired Guernica, Chagall's dreamy flying lovers, and Dalí's and Magritte's disturbing images all defined the era. The essays by the art historian authors are competent although dry and lacking a unifying introduction. The real treats are abundant illustrations that evoke a singular era that is indelibly impressed upon our collective cultural consciousness. (Dec.)
Library Journal
In this handsomely illustrated book, French art historians Bouvet and Durozoi chronicle the cultural history of Paris from the end of World War I to the eve of World War II. Chapters cover every aspect of Parisian culture during the period. The book begins by exploring the social aspects of everyday life, covering subjects ranging from the expansion of the city's parks to the political side with the rise of the popular front and left-wing politics through which workers' pay and hours were significantly improved. The text also delves into cultural topics such as architecture, design, fashion, film, photography, literature, music, theater, and major intellectual movements like Dadaism and surrealism and events such as the Decorative Arts Exhibition of 1925 and the International Exhibition of 1937. VERDICT While not giving any one particular cultural topic more attention than the others, the authors succeed in providing a general overview of and feeling for this rich period. Recommended for readers interested in 20th-century French culture.—Sandra Rothenberg, Framingham State Univ., MA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780865652521
  • Publisher: Vendome Press
  • Publication date: 11/1/2010
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 1,018,439
  • Product dimensions: 6.90 (w) x 9.70 (h) x 1.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Vincent Bouvet is an art historian specializing in 19th- and 20th-century decorative arts.

Gérard Durozoi, a French philosopher and art historian, is editor of a dictionary of modern and contemporary art and author of the acclaimed History of the Surrealist Movement.

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