Discovering Child Art: Essays on Childhood, Primitivism, and Modernism

Discovering Child Art: Essays on Childhood, Primitivism, and Modernism


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Discovering Child Art: Essays on Childhood, Primitivism, and Modernism by Jonathan Fineberg, Johathan D. Fineberg

This book brings together thirteen distinguished critics and scholars to explore children's art and its profound but rarely documented influence on the evolution of modern art. It shows that children's art and childhood have inspired major works of art, served as central metaphors for artistic spontaneity and honesty, and provided a window into the fundamental human qualities explored by modern artists.

The volume complements editor Jonathan Fineberg's groundbreaking new book, The Innocent Eye (Princeton, 1997), in which he showed how many of the greatest masters of modern art collected and were directly influenced by children's drawings. Contributors here both expand on Fineberg's themes and take the study of children's art in new directions. They examine, for example, the influence of child art on such artists as Kandinsky, Klee, Larionov, and Miró; the diverse styles of children's art; the influence of Romantic ideas on perceptions of children's art; the conception of giftedness versus education in children's drawings; and the relationship between children's art and primitivism. The book offers unique glimpses into the working processes of great modern artists, presenting, for example, Dora Vallier's personal recollections of Miró and his creative process, and new documentation about the works of the Russian avant-garde. The essays draw on art theory, psychology, and the close study of individual works of art and written texts. Discovering Child Art will appeal to a wide range of readers, including art historians, psychologists, and art educators.

Contributors to the book are Troels Andersen, Rudolf Arnheim, John Carlin, Marcel Franciscono, Ernst Gombrich, Christopher Green, Josef Helfenstein, Werner Hofmann, Yuri Molok, G. G. Pospelov, Richard Shiff, Dora Vallier, and Barbara Würwag.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780691011882
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication date: 03/09/1998
Pages: 296
Product dimensions: 7.86(w) x 10.37(h) x 0.92(d)

About the Author

Jonathan Fineberg is Professor of Art History and University Scholar at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. He has won the Pulitzer Fellowship in Critical Writing and the Art Critic's Fellowship of the National Endowment for the Arts. Fineberg has curated major exhibitions in the United States and Europe and has published widely on modern art. His most recent books are The Innocent Eye (Princeton) and Art since 1940: Strategies of Being.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
The Art of Unlearning3
Beginning with the Child15
Viollet-le-Duc's Histoire d'un dessinateur27
Larionov and Children's Drawings40
Children's Drawing in Russian Futurism55
"There Is an Unconscious, Vast Power in the Child": Notes on Kandinsky, Munter and Children's Drawings68
Paul Klee and Children's Art95
The Issue of Childhood in Klee's Late Work122
From Primitivist Phylogeny to Formalist Ontogeny: Roger Fry and Children's Drawings157
Miro and Children's Drawings201
The Infant in the Adult: Joan Miro and the Infantile Image210
Magic Figures: Jorn, Cobra and Children's Drawings235
From Wonder to Blunder: The Child Is Mother to the Man242
Notes on the Contributors263

What People are Saying About This

Steven Mansbach

The breadth of contributions, the eminence of the authors, and the new perspectives brought to light help clarify dramatically the seminal role children's art played in paintings, drawings, and aesthetic theories of many of this century's most innovative artists.
Steven Mansbach, Pratt Institute

Kent Anderson

The premise that many of the great masters of twentieth-century art collected children's drawings in depth, and that these drawings directly influenced some of their most celebrated works, is extended and explored [in Discovering Child Art] by a diverse group of museum directors and curators, art historians, psychologists, philosophers, and critics. . . . This book is recommended for both art history and art education university resource shelves.
Kent Anderson, School Arts

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