Seurat and the Avant-Garde

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Georges Seurat, one of the most popular and admired of post-Impressionist painters, has been the focus of much attention in recent years. This book by Paul Smith views the artist in a new context and explodes some of the myths that have grown up about him.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Art historian Paul Smith clearly lays out a rich context for understanding the work of seminal Impressionist Georges Seurat in his volume, Seurat and The Avant-Garde. In his discussion of subject, color theory, and form, as well as the art movements and politics that informed them, a view of Seurat as a painter with strong ideological and aesthetic positions is created. Scholarly but readable, this book is an informed study for those seeking a new way of seeing the effects of a brilliant artist's influence on an age.
Library Journal
Smith (art history, Univ. of Bristol) argues here that Seurat's works can be seen both ideologically and aesthetically and that the "meaning" will therefore depend on the point of view. He thoroughly reviews Seurat's enterprise, drawing heavily on contemporary theory and criticism. He presents informed discussions on color theory, line, subject-matter, art movements, and politics, and he elucidates the visionary aesthetics based on Richard Wagner in the making of Seurat's paintings and the role of ideas therein. The ideas are complex and, as with much contextual art history, demand much prior knowledge on the part of the reader; but the book is well organized and the writing is clear. For advanced and specialized collections. Curator Leighton and scholar Thomson offer the catalog of a single-painting exhibition at London's National Gallery. Again, it is very clearly written, with background on Seurat's work leading up to his 1884 masterpiece, "Bather at Asnires"; detailed exposition on the technical aspects of the painting; and an accessible discussion of the artistic context for the workincluding informative illustrations and comparisons with contemporary bather subject pictures. Narrower in focus than Smith's book, but aimed at a broader audience, Seurat and the Bathers succeeds on both the popular and the scholarly level and is recommended for all collections.Jack Perry Brown, Art Inst. of Chicago Lib.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300070026
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 7/28/1997
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 9.72 (w) x 11.40 (h) x 0.91 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction 1
I The Essential Parisian 7
1 The Idea in the Line 11
2 Colour, Science and Harmony 23
3 The Moral Subject 49
II The Avant-Garde 63
1 Seurat the 'Impressionist' 67
2 Symbolism in 1886 81
3 The Political Ideal 97
III 'Wagnerian Painting' 105
1 The Visionary Artist 111
2 Music and the 'Better Life' 123
3 Painting as Music 141
Epilogue 157
Appendices 165
Notes 168
Bibliography 199
Index 207
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