Albert Gleizes: For and Against the Twentieth Century

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9780300089646: Albert Gleizes: For and Against the Twentieth Century

Few painters lived the intellectual adventures of the early twentieth century as intensely as Albert Gleizes. At the centre of the public scandal over Cubism that broke out in Paris in 1911, he was with Marcel Duchamp and Francis Picabia in New York during the war and was one of the first European avant-garde artists to respond to the scale and vigour of New York life. Gleizes was also one of the few French painters of the 1920s to recognise non-representational painting as the logical development of Cubism. His work as a painter is accompanied by an immense body of theoretical work, addressing the question posed to starkly by Duchamp and Picabia: why should we paint? What is the justification for the work of art? Over his life he touches on many spheres of human activity - religious, political and cultural history, physics and the philosophy of work. This fascinating book follows Gleizes' argument as it evolves, drawing on detailed analysis of works of art and both published and unpublished writings. It reveals Gleizes, not just as a significant historical personality, but as a man whose work and thinking remains astonishingly fresh and relevant to the needs of our own time.

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Review:

Unless you're an avid fan of Cubist painting, you probably have never even heard of French painter Albert Gleizes (1881-1953), yet author Peter Brooke believes Gleizes to have been one of the 20th century's most important painters. Brooke's love and passionate respect of Gleizes's work has spurred him to write an intensely researched and well-written case on the magnitude of Gleizes's contributions to Cubism. In Albert Gleizes: For and Against the Twentieth Century are stories of the artist's life in France in the early 1900s, New York in the '20s, and his return to Europe in the '30s. Throughout are detailed analyses on the practice of Gleizes's painting, his movement from an early impressionistic style towards representational, and later nonrepresentational cubism. Gleizes's friends and fellow artists include such art-world luminaries as Marcel Duchamp and Francis Picabia.

From his early years as a member of an art/poetry collective, Gleizes questioned how art fit into society at large. Brooke explains that this collective, the Abbaye de Creteil, was named after an idea of Rabelais as a place of "refuge of honest, idealistic thinkers against a hostile world". How extremely and darkly troubling it then seems that along with his conscious questioning and awareness of his own place in society, Gleizes appears to bear a certain affinity for Germany and the Nazis during WWII. Brooke is uncertain of Gleizes's possible anti- Semitism, citing instances where Gleizes praises the Jews. It is an uncomfortable moment as Brooke confesses to the reader that while Gleizes never spoke in favor of any of the deportations in France, he never spoke out against them. Throughout everything, Brooke remains resolute in his commitment to Gleizes's artistic place in history. If you are a serious reader of art history or modern art, it will be a thesis that you won't want to miss. --J.P. Cohen

About the Author:

Peter Brooke has spent over ten years in France studying the practice of painting with one of Gleizes' most distinguished successors, Genevieve Dalban, and researching and cataloguing Gleizes' unpublished writings. He has written extensively on Gleizes and is currently publishing translations of some of his most important texts.

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Brooke, Peter
Published by Yale Univ Press, New Haven (2001)
ISBN 10: 0300089643 ISBN 13: 9780300089646
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Book Description Yale Univ Press, New Haven, 2001. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. Gleizes' "work as a painteris accompanied by an immense body of theoretical work, addressing the question posed so starkly by Duchamp and Picabia: why should we paint? Over his life he touches on many spheres of human activity--religious, political and cultural history, physics and the philosophy of work." This book "follows Glieze's argument as it evolves, drawing on paintings and both published and unpublished writings." Of interest to anyone wondering about the why of art through an artist's eye. // NEW and MINT. Bookseller Inventory # 000672

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Book Description Yale University Press, 2001. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0300089643

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