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Art in the Early Twentieth Century
Transcript of Art in the Early Twentieth Century
``Gershwin is a genius in fact, whose style hides the wealth and complexity of invention. There are indeed weak spots but who cares about them when there is greatness?" – Hans Keller
Atonality in its broadest sense is music that lacks a tonal center, or key. Atonality, in this sense, usually describes compositions written from about 1908 to the present day where a hierarchy of pitches focusing on a single, central tone is not used.
Art in the Early Twentieth Century
H. D. Lawrence
T. S. Eliot
-Novelist, poet, playwright, essayist, literary critic and painter who lived during the time of World War I, in England
-Able to express his opinion of modernity and industrialism and how these movements conflicted with one’s emotional health and instinctual needs
-Lawrence inspired many people during the 1950’s and 60’s with his views of human nature
D. H. Lawrence most forcefully argued that several other major American writers of the nineteenth century derived their inspiration from native sources by responding to the "ultimate savage" within them.
-Wrote on the subject of American Literature during the First World War, as means of escape from constricting European culture
-Felt that American writers reflected his same vision- the importance of an older, natural, and spontaneous life, one that contrasted European life at the time
-American writers were subconsciously expressing their instinctual need for freedom from European laws and “out of a pattern of lies, art weaved the truth.”
-Melville’s novel Typee, a story where the main characters escape from their lives in Europe onto an island called Nukuheva in the Pacific.
-Discover an aboriginal tribes there that lead a natural, spontaneous, and sensual life, untainted by Western civilization
-They quickly overcome their initial reservations about the savage’s lack of morality, and even their cannibalism
-Through the rest of the novel and into the sequel, the idea that Europeans are unable to completely separate from their trained morals is modeled, although it is realized that something is lacking in European life.
-Many poems of this time period demonstrate the new mind set of people after the war (somewhat paralyzed)
-Originally Eliot was thought to have paid little attention to the war and to have made little move to associate himself with it
-Many years later, it was discovered that on June 23rd, 1917, The Nation, a weekly magazine of news and comment, published a letter from T.S Eliot that included parts of another letter from an officer, directly from a public school, who began his service in the trenches before he was nineteen
Part of the letter: “Wounded men lying in the shell holes among the decaying corpses: helpless under the scorching sun and bitter nights, under repeated shelling. Men with bowels dropping out, lungs shot away, with blinded smashed faces, or limbs blown into space. Men screaming and gibbering. Wounded men laughing in agony on the barbed wire, until a friendly spout of liquid fire shrivels them up like a fly in a candle.”
This was the first significant connection of Eliot to the war, but after further analysis, people discovered that some of his poems also modeled the effects of the war.
"The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock", demonstrates a sense of paralysis as the subject of the poem questions everything- he wonders whether he should eat a piece of fruit, make a radical change, or if he has the strength to keep living.
- James Joyce was born on February 2, 1882 in Dublin, Ireland.
- James Augustine Aloysius Joyce novelist and poet, and is known to be one of the most influential writers in the modernist avant-garde of the early 20th century.
- At the age of 9, James Joyce composed “Et Tu Healy.” This poem represented the anger that Joyce’s father felt over Charles Stewart Parnell loss of acclaim and failure to obtain Irish Home Rule.
- In his early twenties he immigrated to continental Europe, living in Trieste, Paris and Zurich. Many of his fictional characters resembled his family members, friends, and enemies from the time he was there.
- Shortly after the publication of Ulysses he said to himself, “For myself, I always write about Dublin, because if I can get to the heart of Dublin I can get to the heart of all the cities of the world. In the particular is contained the universal.”
- He taught himself Norwegian so he could read Henrik Ibsen's plays in the language they'd been written.
- Joyce attended University College of Dublin, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree with a focus on modern languages.
- Joyce continued to write and in 1914 he published his first book, Dubliners, a collection of 15 short stories.
- Virginia Woolf was born on January 25, 1882 in London, England.
- She was an English novelist, essayist, biographer, and feminist.
- Woolf represents a historical moment when art was integrated into society. T.S. Eliot describes in his obituary for Virginia. “Without Virginia Woolf at the center of it, it would have remained formless or marginal…With the death of Virginia Woolf, a whole pattern of culture is broken.”
- The main theme of her work was how to make sense of the changes throughout English society by the war, specifically from the perspective of a woman who had never seen battle.
- On March 28, 1941, Virginia Woolf drowned herself due to her madness and depression.
-Originally from America, though he settled in England for the remainder of his life
-One of the most daring visionaries of twentieth-century poetry, as he never followed the rules of the public or even of language
-Eliot wanted his poetry to express the fragile psychological state of humanity in the twentieth century
Virginia Woolf's novel Jacob’s Room is about the despair a woman struggled through, when her son, Jacob Flanders dies in the First World War. The novel follows Jacob’s life, but he is seen mainly at a distance, through the perspectives of women who knew him more or less well. The reader experiences the same problem faced by Jacob’s survivors—how to piece together his life. Woolf based the novel partly on the death of her brother Thoby in 1906. The death itself, however, is not described. Instead, the novel ends with Jacob’s mother asking his friend Ralph Bonamy to help her sort through Jacob’s possessions.
“In silent corridors of death
Short sighs and stifled breath,
Short breath and stifled sighing;
Somewhere the soul crying.
And I wander alone
Without haste, without hope, without fear
Without pressure or touch
There is no moan
Of souls dying
But the warm
Dry airless sweet scent
Of the alleys of death
Of the corridors of death.”
by Danielle Eagleson, Adibah Ashari, Miranda James, Alex Mayhew and Lydia Canfield
The idea of a damaged human psyche was explored in many of T.S. Eliot’s poems. Although of all the poems, one in particular was very directly related to the Great War. Eliot is believed to have written this untitled poem, but no one is certain:
A poem about there and here; about a place of horror and a place away from it that can still be infected by the horror. The corridors of death are believed to have represented the trenches at war.
Connection to WWI
-In this book were essays that were meant to uncover the secret messages hidden in many American works.
-When he made it to America in 1922 after the War, he published a book under Studies in Classic American Literature in New York
Connection to WWI
- Joyce went to Paris to study medicine, and was recalled to Dublin in April 1903 because his mother was diagnosed with cancer.
- He stayed in Ireland until 1904, and in June that year he met Nora Barnacle, the Galway woman who was to become his partner and later his wife.
- In 1904 Joyce’s first short story was published in the Irish Homestead magazine
- During this year, he began writing Ulysses.
- Ulysses relates the events of Dublin on June 16, 1904. This date was personally significant since it was the date Joyce married Nora Barnacle. An element of chance pervades the book as the point of view shifts between hundreds of citizens of Dublin. However, this chance is an illusion. Joyce has orchestrated the many desperate voices in his book. At times, Joyce even talked of the complicated plan as “the only way of ensuring one’s immortality.”
- Two years later Joyce put out a second book, the novel Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.
- With the start of World War One, Joyce and Nora, along with their two children, Georgio and Lucia, were forced to leave Trieste and arrived in Zurich where they lived for the duration of the war.
- Characteristics of friends of his in Trieste, Zurich and Paris are given to characters in the book, and, most notably, Nora’s characteristic language and writing becomes the voice of Molly Bloom in Ulysses.
- On May 4th, 1939, Joyce’s last piece of work, Finnegan’s Wake was published.
- Joyce died at the age of fifty-nine, on 13 January 1941.
Tyers, Bill. "GuitarDownUnder -Igor Stravinsky And His Influence On 20th Century Popular Music by Bill Tyers." GuitarDownUnder - Home Page. N.p., n.d. Web. 2 Nov. 2012. <http://www.guitardownunder.com/stravinsky.html>.
"Matisse: Life and Painting." Matisse: Life and Painting. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 Nov. 2012. <http://www.henri-matisse.net/>.
Period, Time. "Surrealism | Thematic Essay | Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History | The Metropolitan Museum of Art." The Metropolitan Museum of Art - Home. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 Nov. 2012. <http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/surr/hd_surr.htm>.
" Vincent van Gogh Biography - His Life and Times." Vincent van Gogh Gallery - Welcome!. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 Nov. 2012. <http://www.vangoghgallery.com/misc/bio.html>.
" Canada’s War Art | Canadian War Museum." Canadian War Museum - Musée canadien de la guerre. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 Nov. 2012. <http://www.warmuseum.ca/education/online-educational-resources/dispatches/canadas-war-art/>.
Pablo Picasso was born in Malaga, Spain on October 25th,1881.
Picasso was a Spanish painter and sculptor of the 20th-century, famous for his wide variety of styles in his work and for introducing Cubism to the art world.
•Art of the Twenties is the first wide-ranging examination of fine art from the end of World War I through the start of the Great Depression.
‘’Art is the desire of a man to express himself; to record the reactions of his personality to the world he lives in.’’ – Amy Lowell (1874- 1925)
•The 1920s—“The Jazz Age,” “The Roaring Twenties”—was a decade noted by widespread urbanization, industrialization, and social exceptions, including the postwar destruction of traditional ideals and the encounter of rural and urban environments.
•Society was dramatically transformed, and artists all around responded to this new modern world with works that demonstrated a want for certainty and wholeness, and for the expression of stillness and composition.
Woman in White-Picasso, 1923
Harold Septimus Power
•Henri Matisse was born December 31, 1869, in Le Cateau, northern France. Throughout his career he worked in all media, from painting to sculpture to printmaking.
•Although his artwork was traditional—figures in landscapes, portraits, interior views—his noted use of intense color and exaggerated form to express emotion made him one of the most well known artists of the 20th century.
“Expression, for me, does not reside in passions glowing in a human face or manifested by violent movement. The entire arrangement of my picture is expressive; the place occupied by the figures, the empty spaces around them, the proportions, everything has its share.” – Henri Matisse.
•Matisse's artwork contained common subject matter, such as human faces and figures, but instead of using regular skin tones and realistic colors, he used vivid uncommon colors to portray feelings and concepts of what the face was like.
"Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success."-Pablo Picasso
•Throughout Matisse’s paintings in the twentieth century, we notice a busy pattern contained in almost all of them. He uses vibrant colors, chaotic elements and different angles to display these patterns. Usually these prints can be found in the carpet, flooring, furniture or just the back ground of the painting.
"Painting is a blind man's profession. He paints not what he sees, but what he feels, what he tells himself about what he has seen. "-Pablo Picasso
The Moorish Floor – Henri Matisse, 1921
•After World War I, Matisse had obtained a high reputation and was an internationally recognized artist. In 1917 he left Paris and settled in Nice in the South of France where he stayed for the rest of his life. In 1925 he received the French Legion of Honor award.
•Matisse explored the simplicity of color and desire to simplify art. He wanted to bring more to the world of color and expressionism.
Seated Figure, Striped Carpet – Henri Matisse, 1920
"Color was not given to us in order that we should imitate nature, but so that we can express our own emotions." – Henri Matisse. This was a revolutionary theory, which would become an important notion in the art of the 20th century.
Picasso was also known to change his style frequently and went through many different phases.
Some of his phases include:The Blue Period from 1903-1905, where the main colour is blue with sad people and gloomy settings.The Rose Period from 1905-1906, where the scene is romantic with pale pink colours. Cubism from 1907-1925, where natural forms are distorted into geomentric-like shapes. And Neo-Classicism from 1920-1930, with heavily-built Grecian women.Surrealism beginning in 1926, compositions of a dream-world
Seated Woman, Back Turned to the Open Window
•Another aspect that is recognizable in his paintings is the hairstyles of the women in them. They had what was known as the ‘’bob cut.’’ This hairstyle remained popular throughout the 1920’s and 1930’s.
Woman before an Aquarium
• Though Matisse was essentially a painter, he also was known for his drawings, sculptures and printmaking. Later in Matisse's life, he became ill and bedridden and was no longer able to paint. Instead, he began to create lively collages with colorful paper that he cut into unusual shapes, known as his cutouts.
• Surrealism is an artistic movement that first gained popularity in the 1920's. Much of its emphasis was on examining the unconscious, as viewed by Sigmund Freud, who was a physiologist. Surrealism was dedicated to expressing the imagination as revealed in dreams, free of the conscious control.
• Surrealism inherited its anti-rationalist emotion from Dada, which was a previous movement in the art world. Like Dada, surrealism was shaped by emerging theories on our perception of reality, but it was lighter in spirit than that movement. Surrealism originated from the Dadaist movement, which was founded during World War I. Dadaists believed that most irrational things originated from the horrors of war.
• The Surrealist movement was founded in Paris by a French poet named Andre Breton and a group of artists who proposed to initiate the unconscious as a means to unfold the power of the imagination. Disliking rationalism and literary interest, and powerfully influenced by Sigmund Freud, the Surrealists believed the subconscious mind held the power of imagination.
Georges Braque was born in Argenteuil, Val-d'Oise, May 13th, 1882. He grew up in Le Havre and trained to be a house painter and decorator like his father and grandfather.
• After World War I, artists and intellectuals were looking for an escape against the harshness of reality. They wanted to escape the world in their own way, and Freud provided them with a strong influence, by exploring the unconscious aspect of our brain.
• As the artistic movement, surrealism came into being popular after Andre Breton in 1924, published a book on the subject. In this book Breton suggested that rational thought was restrained to the powers of creativity and imagination, and thus opposed artistic expression. Breton was an admirer of Sigmund Freud and his idea of the subconscious mind, so he felt that contact with this hidden part of the mind could reveal artistic truth.
• Rene Magritte was a Belgian surrealist artist who became well known for a number of witty and thought-provoking images that fell under the category of surrealism, in the twentieth century. Many of his paintings were absurd and bizarre, but made their viewer think.
His earliest works were impressionistic, but after seeing the work exhibited by the artistic group known as the “Fauves” in 1905, Braque adopted a Fauvist style. In 1908-1913 Braque found a new interest in cubism, with strange geometric shapes and different perspective.
Rene Magritte, 1927
“The goal is not to be concerned with the reconstitution of an anecdotal fact, but with the constitution of a pictorial fact. ”
- Georges Braque
"One has to guard against a formula that is good for everything, that can interpret reality in addition to the other arts, and that rather than creating can only result in a style, or a stylization. ” - Georges Braque
Rene Magritte, 1923
- Georges Braque
After a brief break in which Braque was called up to fight in WWI, his style developed in the direction he was to follow for the rest of his life. Braque refined art with Cubism in the twentieth Century. He always wanted to convey a feeling of being able to move around within his paintings.
General James Wolfe's death portrait versus actual war and the paintings of the 1920s
The painting of General Wolfe's death gives a romantic feeling. He is in the arms of his men all around and is slowly dying away in his sleep. It does not show the true ugliness of war. There is no blood, or scars and gives the appearance of a peaceful death.
The paintings of Picasso, Braque and Matisse contrast to the painting of General Wolfe. The cubism and surrealism these artists, use is extremely dynamic and bold. Unlike the calm painting of General Wolfe's death, the strange paintings by these artists are extremely harsh and disfigured.
‘’Instead of stubbornly attempting to use surrealism for purposes of subversion, it is necessary to try to make of surrealism something as solid, complete and classic as the works of museums.’’
– Salvador Dali (surrealist artist in the 1930’s)
Nude Standing by the Sea, 1929, Pablo Picasso
• Throughout World War I, there were many individuals that were a part of the war who created artwork to display the emotions and feelings they were experiencing.
• Many soldiers would record images of the unbearable trenches and horrifying situations occurring around them, or even the things they found to be valued like nature or animals.
• Canadian soldier, Paul Nash was a war artist who frequently recorded sketches and paintings of the environment surrounding him. In November 1917 in the immediate aftermath of the battle of Passchendaele, Nash returned to France. After the war, Nash was unhappy with the work he had been producing.
"I am no longer an artist. I am a messenger who will bring back word from the men who are fighting to those who want the war to go on forever. Feeble, inarticulate will be my message, but it will have a bitter truth and may it burn their lousy souls." – Paul Nash
The Mule Track
Paul Nash, 1918
• Throughout Findley’s novel The Wars, we can observe that Rodwell, one of Robert’s accompanying men in the stained glass dugout, would sketch images of some of the animals he cared for in the trenches.
• Later in the novel before his death, Rodwell passed on his sketchbook and a letter for his daughter to Robert.
• This stained glass dugout was sort of a comfort zone for Devlin and his fellow men in the trench. Not only was it a valued piece of art, it also contained sentimental value.
• These sketches symbolize a sense of peace for Rodwell; he used his artistic ability combined with his love for animals to create a peace of mind while suffering in the trenches.
• Another aspect of treasured art in The Wars was the stained glass dugout itself.
• This part of the trenches gave a feel of home for Robert and the other men in it, including Levitt, Rodwell, Bonnycastle and Devlin.
• When Robert and Levitt arrived at the trench, Levitt put down his bag and bumped it against the door. Devlin reprimanded him and told him not to hit the door. Robert and Levitt then saw that the door contained a panel of stained glass. Devlin explained that he collects items and got it from a house in St. Eloi. He also contained a number of other artifacts that he had collected over time.
Did You Know? - Van Gogh
One famous artist that was mentioned in the novel was Vincent Van Gogh. It was said that Van Gogh stayed in the same insane asylum, Désolé, in which Robert was raped in at one point in the novel.
‘’On the outskirts of town there was an asylum for the mad- (Van Gogh had been one of its patients) - and it was here the officers bathed in black iron tubs...’’ – Findley, page 70.
Vincent Van Gogh was a Dutch post-Impressionist painter, whose work was notable for its rough beauty, emotional components and bold color; also having a great influence on 20th-century art.
The Starry Night
Vincent Van Gogh, 1889
Although Van Gogh’s painting, The Starry Night, is from 1889, it displays his style that carried on throughout the 1900’s. He painted this picture while staying in an insane asylum in Saint-Rémy, France.
Cubism was started by Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso in the early twentieth-century.
Most Cubist works are immediately recognizable because of their flattened, almost two-dimensional appearance.
Unlike traditional still-lifes, landscapes, or portrait paintings, Cubist paintings are not meant to look realistic. Instead, the artist will piece together pieces of their subject from different vantage points into one painting.
Cubism involves geometric angles, lines, and shapes; and a fairly neutral color palette.
- Sept 26 1898 – Brooklyn, NY- Began playing piano professionally at 15- Jazz, opera, and popular songs for stage and screen- Passed away July 11 1937In the early 1930s, Gershwin came up with major orchestral contributions. His “Second Rhapsody” from 1931 featured in the movie “Delicious”. It was one of the most experimental works and received a lot of appreciation. “Strike up the Band”, “Let ‘Em Eat Cake”, and “Of Thee I Sing”, were innovative works of the 1930s which dealt with social issues of that time. “Of Thee I Sing” was a major hit and it was the first comedy to win the Pulitzer Prize. In 1935, a decade after composing “Rhapsody in Blue,” Gershwin debuted his most ambitious composition, “Porgy and Bess.”
Stravinsky's major musical influences during his formative years were the two great Russian nationalistic composers Mussorgsky (1839-1881) and Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908), and the more cosmopolitan Glazunov (1865-1936).
The devastation of World War I led Igor Stravinsky to conclude that the era of grandiose Romantic music had become obsolete, and that a new spirit of musical economy was imperative in an impoverished world. As an illustration of such economy, he wrote the musical stage play L'Histoire du soldat, scored for only 7 players, with a narrator.
Born near Linden, Texas on November 24, 1868. Joplin died on April 1, 1917. Although Joplin's music was popular and he received modest royalties during his lifetime, he did not receive recognition as a serious composer for more than fifty years after his death. Then, in 1973, his music was featured in the motion picture, The Sting, which won and Academy Award for its film score. Three years later, in 1976, Joplin's opera Treemonisha won the coveted Pulitzer.
Radio and phonograph records were becoming popular during this period in time — Americans bought more than 100 million of them in 1927 — it was a way of connecting to the music without the need of a live band.
His skills as an animal painter were apparent in such paintings as 'The First Divisional Artillery goes into action before Ypres July 31st 1917' which was acclaimed at the Royal Academy in 1919.
Connection to WWI
The Roaring Twenties was also known as The Jazz Age. This movement in which jazz music grew in popularity by limitless standards in the U.S., also influenced other parts of the world.
In 1917 he was appointed official war artist with the Australian Imperial Force, with the honorary rank of lieutenant.
He completed a War mural
Throughout the 1920's many people took an interest in music. They owned pianos, played sheet music, and listened to records.
Jazz in the 1920s dominated in popular culture, so much so that the sound came to represent an entire decade. During this time, artists like Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington entertained people who were facing incredible societal changes after World War I.
-Artist from New Zealand who worked on animal and landscape portraits
Poetry and Literature
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