Paris: Capital of the Arts

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9780810966390: Paris: Capital of the Arts

Published to accompany a significant exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, and at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, a visually stunning guide traces the progress of the visual arts across Paris, from the onset of Cubism in Montmartre, to the political and artistic uprisings of the 1960s in th

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Review:

Between 1900 and 1968 Paris was the undisputed capital of modern art, and the city is captured in all its splendor in Paris: Capital of the Arts, the extraordinarily ambitious catalog accompanying the show of the same name held at London’s Royal Academy of Arts and Bilbao’s Guggenheim Museum. Curated by a series of leading academics and curators and spearheaded by Sarah Wilson, both the show and the catalog aim to re-create Paris as “the hedonistic capital of Europe, an artistic crossroads and a testing ground of unparalleled vitality, the goal of artists in search of freedom and inspiration.” The result is a dizzying display of 280 works in full color of a collection of international artists who lived in Paris and invented modern art. French artists of the stature of Matisse, Braque, Duchamp, Fautrier, Dubuffet, and Klein, as well as Picasso, Miró, Ernst, Mondrian, Dalí, and Giacometti are just some of the artists who drew their inspiration from Paris.

Some attempt to organize the vast amount of material on show is made by the catalog’s essays, most of which move from one quarter of the city to another. The rise of bohemianism and cubism is discussed in relation to Montmartre, while the development of surrealism is located in Montparnasse. Finally, the more political postwar developments of existentialism and political confrontation are analyzed through an exploration of Saint-German-des-Prés and the Latin Quarter. Considering the wealth of artistic material on Paris itself, there are some unnecessary contributions, including those on Eastern Europe and the French Riviera, and the catalog suffers from a sadly rambling and incoherent introduction by Wilson, but overall this is an impressive overview of the mother city of modern art. --Jerry Brotton, Amazon.co.uk

From Library Journal:

This heavy volume, which accompanies an exhibition at London's Royal Academy of Arts and the Guggenheim in Bilbao, follows the development of the visual arts in Paris from the Universal Exposition in 1900 to the protests of 1968. Both English- and French-speaking scholars contribute to the book, which follows the chronological migration of the major art movements of this period around the neighborhoods of Paris, such as Montmartre (1900s-20s), Montparnasse (1920s-30s), Saint-Germain-des-Pr s (1940s-50s), and the Latin Quarter (1960s). Such major movements as Cubism, Dadaism, Surrealism, and Nouveau Realisme are discussed, as are both major and minor artists (e.g., Matisse, Picasso, Man Ray, Jean Fautrier, and Niki de Saint Phalle) in relation to the changing social and political climate of Paris. One of the most enlightening essays, by Eric de Chassey (Univ. of Tours, France), explores the French rivalry and response to the growth of Abstract Expressionism and Color Field painting in America during the 1950s and 1960s and New York's supplanting Paris as the major center for visual art. Filled with 280 full-color illustrations and a detailed time line, this excellent and comprehensive catalog is recommended for all libraries that collect art books and those academic libraries supporting French studies programs. Sandra Rothenberg, Framingham State Coll. Lib., MA
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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