Revelation of Modernism: Responses to Cultural Crises in Fin-de-Siecle Painting

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Columbia and London 2008 Hard cover New in new dust jacket. Excellent, new copy. Sewn binding. Paper over boards. With dust jacket. 250 p. Contains: Illustrations. Audience: ... General/trade. Read more Show Less

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Overview

Among postimpressionist painters, Van Gogh, Seurat, Cézanne, and Gauguin produced a remarkable body of work that responded to a cultural and spiritual crisis in the avant-garde world—influences that pushed them toward an increasing reliance on science, literature, and occultism. In Revelation of Modernism, renowned art historian Albert Boime reappraises specific works by these masters from a perspective more appreciative of the individuals’ inner conflicts, offering the art world a new understanding of a period fraught with apocalyptic fears and existential anxieties.

Building on the seminal observations of Sven Lövgren from a half-century ago, Boime rejects popular notions of “art for art’s sake” and rethinks an entire movement to suggest that history, rather than expressive urge, is the driving force that shapes art. He reconsiders familiar masterpieces from a fresh perspective, situating the art in the contexts of history both real and speculative, of contemporary philosophy, and of science to depict modernism as a development that ultimately failed.

Boime expands on what we think we know about these figures and produces startling new revelations about their work. From the political history of Seurat’s Parade de cirque to the astronomical foundations of Van Gogh’s Starry Night, he draws analogies between literary sources and social, personal, and political strategies that have eluded most art historians. He offers a richer and more complex vision of Cézanne, considering the artist as an Old Testament figure in search of the Promised Landscape. And he provides a particularly detailed look at Gauguin—on whom Boime has never previously published—that takes a closer look at the artist’s The Vision after the Sermon and its allusions to Eliphas Lévi’s writings, sheds light on the sources for From whence do we come? and offers new thoughts about Gauguin’s various self-portraits.

Boime’s latest contribution further testifies to his status as one of our most important living art historians. As entertaining as it is eloquent, Revelation of Modernism is a bold and groundbreaking work that should be required reading for all who wish to understand the contradictory origins and development of modernism and its role in history.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780826217806
  • Publisher: University of Missouri Press
  • Publication date: 2/26/2008
  • Edition description: 8 color and 77 b&w illustrations, bibliography index
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 6.13 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Albert Boime is Professor of Art History at the University of California–Los Angeles and recipient of numerous fellowships and awards, including the Myers Center Award for the Study of Human Rights in North America in 1999. His numerous books include Art and the French Commune: Imagining Paris after War and Revolution as well as Art in an Age of Counterrevolution, 1815–1848, volume 3 in his series A Social History of Modern Art.

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Table of Contents

Preface     ix
Acknowledgments     xv
Van Gogh's Starry, Starry Night: After the Apocalypse a Heavenly Utopia     1
Seurat's La parade de cirque: A Political Allegory of Dystopia     52
Cezanne's Real and Imagined Estate: A Utopia of One's Own     102
Gauguin's D'ou venons-nous? Que sommes-nous? Ou allons-nous?: Millenarianism and Necromancy in Fin-de-Siecle France     135
Conclusion     221
Bibliography     225
Index     239
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