Michael Fried University of Chicago Press, 1990 Library of Congress ND553.C9F74 1990 | Dewey Decimal 759.4
"'This book,' Michael Fried's work opens, 'was written not so much chapter by chapter as painting by painting over a span of roughly ten years.' Courbet's Realism is a magnificent work and its very first sentence brings us up against the qualities of mind of its author, qualities that make it as impressive as it is. It allows us to reconstruct the keen eye, the commitment to perception, the gift of rapt concentration, the conviction that great paintings are not necessarily understood easily, and the further conviction that a great painter deserves to get from us as good as he gives. By drawing on these qualities, Fried achieves something out of reach for all but a handful of his colleagues. In his writing, art history takes on some of the character of art itself. It is driven by the same stubborn resolve to open our eyes."—Richard Wollheim, San Francisco Review of Books
Courbet's Realism is clearly a major contribution to the highly active field of Courbet studies. . . . But to contribute here and now is necessarily also to contribute to central debates about art history itself, and so the book is also—I hesitate to say 'more importantly,' because of the way object and method are woven together in it—a major contribution to current attempts to rethink the foundations and objects of art history. . . . It will not be an easy book to come to terms with; for all its engagement with contemporary literary theory and related developments, it is not an application of anything, and its deeply thought-through arguments will not fall easily in line with the emerging shapes of the various 'new art histories' that tap many of the same theoretical resources. At this moment, there may be nothing more valuable than such a work."—Stephen Melville, Art History
In Enchanted Islands, renowned art historian Mary D. Sheriff explores the legendary, fictional, and real islands that filled the French imagination during the ancien regime as they appeared in royal ballets and festivals, epic literature, paintings, engravings, book illustrations, and other objects. Some of the islands were mythical and found in the most popular literary texts of the day—islands featured prominently, for instance, in Ariosto’s Orlando furioso,Tasso’s Gerusalemme liberata, and Fénelon’s, Telemachus. Other islands—real ones, such as Tahiti and St. Domingue—the French learned about from the writings of travelers and colonists. All of them were imagined to be the home of enchantresses who used magic to conquer heroes by promising sensual and sexual pleasure. As Sheriff shows, the theme of the enchanted island was put to many uses. Kings deployed enchanted-island mythology to strengthen monarchical authority, as Louis XIV did in his famous Versailles festival Les Plaisirs de l’île enchantée. Writers such as Fénelon used it to tell morality tales that taught virtue, duty, and the need for male strength to triumph over female weakness and seduction. Yet at the same time, artists like Boucher painted enchanted islands to portray art’s purpose as the giving of pleasure. In all these ways and more, Sheriff demonstrates for the first time the centrality of enchanted islands to ancient regime culture in a book that will enchant all readers interested in the art, literature, and history of the time.
The first major Jewish poet in America and a key figure of the Objectivist movement, Charles Reznikoff was a crucial link between the generation of Pound and Williams, and the more radical modernists who followed in their wake. A Menorah for Athena, the first extended treatment of Reznikoff's work, appears at a time of renewed interest in his contribution to American poetry.
Stephen Fredman illuminates the relationship of Jewish intellectuals to modernity through a close look at Reznikoff's life and writing. He shows that when we regard the Objectivists as modern Jewish poets, we can see more clearly their distinctiveness as modernists and the reasons for their profound impact upon later poets, such as Allen Ginsberg and Charles Bernstein. Fredman also argues that to understand Reznikoff's work more completely, we must see it in the context of early, nonsectarian attempts to make the study of Jewish culture a force in the construction of a more pluralistic society. According to Fredman, then, the indelible images in Reznikoff's poetry open a window onto the vexed but ultimately successful entry of Jewish immigrants and their children into the mainstream of American intellectual life.
The siege of Paris by Prussians in the fall and winter of 1870 and 1871 turned the city upside down, radically altering its appearance, social structure, and mood. As Hollis Clayson demonstrates in Paris in Despair, the siege took an especially heavy toll on the city's artists, forcing them out of the spaces and routines of their insular prewar lives and thrusting them onto the ramparts (as many became soldiers).
But the crisis did not halt artistic production, as some have suggested. In fact, Clayson argues that the siege actually encouraged innovation, fostering changed attitudes and new approaches to representation among a wide variety of artists as they made art out of their individual experiences of adversity and change—art that has not previously been considered within the context of the siege. Clayson focuses especially on Rosa Bonheur, Edgar Degas, Jean-Alexandre-Joseph Falguière, Edouard Manet, and Henri Regnault, but she also covers a host of other artists, including Ernest Barrias, Gustave Courbet, Edouard Detaille, Pierre Puvis de Chavannes, Albert Robida, and James Tissot. Paris in Despair includes more than two hundred color and black-and-white images of works by these artists and others, many never before published.
Using the visual arts as an interpretive lens, Clayson illuminates the wide range of issues at play during the siege and thereafter, including questions of political and cultural identity, artistic masculinity and femininity, public versus private space, everyday life and modernity, and gender and class roles in military and civilian society. For anyone concerned with these issues, or with nineteenth-century French art in general, Paris in Despair will be a landmark work.
Passionate Discontent is an erudite study of the relationship between gender and genius in late nineteenth-century French Symbolism. Born in an era of crisis, the Symbolist art movement was characterized by withdrawal to a mystical, antibourgeois world of the mind and spirit. While Symbolists idealized the "poète maudit," a creative, mad genius exhibiting an emotional state of heightened awareness and "passionate discontent," female artists displaying similar symptoms were dismissed as hysterical.
Art historian Patricia Mathews traverses the artistic, social, and scientific discourses of fin-de-siècle France in order to illuminate the Symbolist construction of a feminized aesthetic that nonetheless excluded female artists from its realm. Along the way, Mathews proffers important new readings of the art of such Symbolists as Gauguin, van Gogh and Moreau, as well as that of their female contemporaries Camille Claudel and Suzanne Valadon. Passionate Discontent is an important contribution to art historical and women's studies.
Rembrandt's life and art had an almost mythic resonance in nineteenth-century France with artists, critics, and collectors alike using his artistic persona both as a benchmark and as justification for their own goals. This first in-depth study of the traditional critical reception of Rembrandt reveals the preoccupation with his perceived "authenticity," "naturalism," and "naiveté," demonstrating how the artist became an ancestral figure, a talisman with whom others aligned themselves to increase the value of their own work. And in a concluding chapter, the author looks at the play Rembrandt, staged in Paris in 1898, whose production and advertising are a testament to the enduring power of the artist's myth.
The French Revolution was marked by a wealth of imagery and visual symbolism that inspired the masses to fight for freedom. Visualizing the Revolution surveys the rich and multifaceted visual culture of the French Revolution, exploring its creation and how it conveyed the new revolutionary sensibilities of the era.
Unlike most studies on art of the French Revolution, Visualizing the Revolution embraces a wide range of artistic genres—including prints, architecture, painting, and sculpture—and also draws upon archival documents to investigate the period’s aesthetic concerns. The authors break new ground in methodology and interpretative practice as they tease out the web of connections between these various historical artifacts and argue for the central place of the arts in the transmission of ideas and the political manipulation of the populace. The book translates the provocatively new visual language revealed in these artworks and writings and shows how its emphasis on metaphor, allegory, and symbolism transformed French mass visual culture. An innovative and lushly illustrated study, Visualizing the Revolution is a worthy new contribution to scholarship on the French Revolution and the history of French art.