Chip Taylor Communications

Subject: Arts: Art & Artists

Art: Transatlantic Modernism Series

Art historian and author Wanda Corn (The Color of Mood; The Art of Andrew Wyeth; Grant Wood) examines the cultural dynamics that linked art circles in Paris and New York in the opening decades of the 20th century, focusing on painting, sculpture, art films, literature and the decorative arts. Produced Click for more

4. Paris: Symbolism and Abstraction

04. Paris: Symbolism and Abstraction

The avant-garde artists of the late 19th and early 20th centuries in Paris and New York enthusiastically endorsed a fusion of Symbolism and Abstraction. Unlike the traditionalists for whom subject matter mattered and realism ruled, Modernist artists focused on the process of art and on the potential experiences evoked by art. In this program, Professor Wanda Corn utilizes works by Matisse, Whistler, Van Gogh, Gauguin, and Kandinsky to demonstrate the special connotations of Symbolism and Abstraction for the avant-garde artists. For them, Abstraction meant rendering familiar objects in unfamiliar ways, without didactic purpose or rigid allegiance to the true appearance of the objects, and with the goal of evoking a spiritual, sensual, and emotional response from the viewer. The artists of the avant-garde believed that art could "exploit its own nature, could be powerful through its own tools," as evidenced by the bold, ethereal forms and flat serpentine lines of Matisse's The Dance and the unnatural celestial "firestorm of light and movement" in Van Gogh's The Starry Night. In the same fashion, Symbolism for the Modernist artist did not mean peaceful doves or pure white lilies; rather it meant "manipulating the language of art" - lines, form, and color - to convey something beyond the images depicted. The artists of the avant-garde sought to stimulate a "psychic experience" for their audiences and to have art appreciated for its own sake. 98/09DE SCA 60 min.

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