Paul Klee and the Decorative in Modern Art

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9780521822503: Paul Klee and the Decorative in Modern Art

One of the goals of Modernism was the presentation of the essence of art, or pure form. Encouraged by theorists, modern artists found pure form in ornament which, though promising, was sullied by connotations of materiality, domesticity, and femininity. Jenny Anger demonstrates that the decorative significantly informed Paul Klee's art. She compares his work to that of another major modernist, Henri Matisse, to confirm the critical role of the decorative in Modernism. Anger also explores the relevance of the decorative for contemporary and, especially, women artists.

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'For scholars steeped in the modernist distinction between art and the decorative, Paul Klee and the Decorative in Modern Art offers a unique opportunity to consider the investment in the notion of purity essential to this distinction and the hierarchies of artistic practice, gender and race it fosters. Above and beyond Anger's book's value as a revisionist history of Klee or a detailed history of the decorative's rise and decline in the early twentieth century is tis presentation of a long-overdue study that confronts the issue of hierarchy in the arts under modernism and its consequences." CAA Reviews Elissa Auther

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