Saturday, October 23, 2010

Matisse, Blue Nude

1907, Matisse, Blue Nude, Expressionist
Colonial primitive art inspires artists as a new kind of purity. The color has a kind of wildness to it.

Matisse, La Bonheur de Vivre

Matisse, La Bonheur de Vivre , 1906 , Expressionism or Fauvism

This painting reflected a crisis of modernity at the turn of the century. The expressionists were more concerned with internal reception of the world in response to the alienation experienced by modern life.

There was both hope and despair as artists looked to primitive cultures to criticize civilization. They looked for a new kind of purity and thought of art as an escape. The composition is comparable to Large Bathers but the violent, wild colors earned Matisse the name Fauves or Wild Beasts.

Expressionist Theory:
The artist is the originary center in art. The role of art is to express subjective feelings and it must be independent from life.

Gaugin, Where do we come from. What are we. Where are we going.

1897, Gaugin, Expressionist or Symbolist, Oil on Canvas

The painting poses an existential question faced by Gaugin in his quest for decadence. He was searching for a spiritual place where he could obtain a primordial way of living. It expresses an inner dream world and some spiritual longing within the artist. The intense color may be influenced by Cèzanne.

Artists saw themselves as having a privileged understanding of the world.

Signac, Portrait of Felix Fenèon

Paul Signac, 1890, Portrait of Felix Fenèon, Oil on Canvas, Expressionist, Neo-Impressionism

Signic uses the same pointilist technique of Seurat . However, as a symbolist he is interested in expressive abstractions. He is attached to aestheticism. The stylized decorations echo the art noveau movement. There is an emphasis on originality and enhanced subjectivity and figuration is combined with abstraction.

There is an emphasis on the inner dream world and on interpreting artistic symbols. The depiction of an art critic reveals the development of a specialized inner circle around art.

Sunday Afternoon on la Grande Jatte

Georges Seurat
Sunday Afternoon on la Grande Jatte

Neo-impressionists fused science and art to create a methodical style of painting. Seurat used Pointillism and tashes of paint to compose the entire image. The Neo-Impressionists took an interest in science and color theory and focused on time and permanence. The painted frame demonstrates his acknowledgement and proclamation that the painting is a representation, not reality. This anti-mimesis is a reaction to photography and a statement about the autonomy and specialization of art as an institution outside public discourse. 

Cèzanne, Large Bathers

Large Bathers,
Paul Cèzanne,

Another one of his favorite subjects. It is an important traditional subject matter with jarring details.

The clothed figures in the background raise questions about the politics of the gaze. This is similar to investigations by Manet in LèDejeneur and Olympia and by Degas in his dancer paintings.

Cèzanne, Mount Saint-Victoirè

 Mount Saint-Victoire,
 Oil on Canvas,

Cèzanne used to paint outside the city center in an attempt to escape the chaotic modernism of urban life

Cèzanne, Still Life with Compotièr

Date: 1879
Medium: Oil
Artist: Paul Cèzanne
Period: Post-Impressionism

Cèzanne was a post-impressionist artist. This particular work emphasizes his aesthetic innovation with traditional subject matter. It was seen as radically modern at the time it was published. It showed a self-consciousness of paint as paint rather than a medium of mimesis. A feature of the work is the flatness and compression of space. There are open, unfinished lines portraying moments of imminence and invisibility.

Cèzanne is concerned with vision and visuality. His painting is not static and not focused on a single point. He pays equal attention to the whole painting. The detailed tablecloth is a reflection about the canvas as a medium.