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Wednesday, December 26, 2007


Who was the leader of the Fauves and what were their painting goals?

Les Fauves were a short-lived and loose grouping of early 20th century Modern artists whose works emphasized painterly qualities, and the imaginative use of deep color over the representational values retained by Impressionism. Fauvists simplified lines, made the subject of the painting easy to read, exaggerated perspectives and an interesting prescient prediction of the Fauves was expressed in 1888 by Paul Gauguin to Paul Sérusier. The name was given, humorously and not as a compliment, to the group by art critic Louis Vauxcelles. The French word, "Fauves" means "wild beasts". Gustave Moreau was the movement's inspirational teacher; a professor at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, and a Symbolist painter he pushed his students to think outside of the lines of formality and to follow their visions.

When Picasso painted “Les Desmoiselles d’Avigon” he started a new style of art known as Cubism. What is the meaning of this painting?
Les Demoiselles d'Avignon (1907), a pivotal work in the development of modern art and in The Museum of Modern Art's permanent collection. Les Demoiselles d'Avignon means The Young Ladies of Avignon in English is a celebrated painting by Pablo Picasso that depicts five prostitutes in a brothel, in the Avignon Street of Barcelona. Picasso painted it in France, and completed it in the summer of 1907. The eye-catching painting is one of Picasso's most famous. It now hangs in the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.
Picasso created over one hundred sketches and studies in preparation for this work, one of the most important in the early development of Cubism. Within the narrative of early modern art, it is widely held as a seminal work. This painting was stylized from his trips to Africa and the unique wood carving he found there.

Who was the leader of Die Brucke and what were their goals?

Die Brücke (The Bridge) was a group of German expressionist artists formed in Dresden. The group was one of the seminal ones, which in due course had a major impact on the evolution of modern art in the 20th century and created the style of Expressionism.

The founding members of Die Brücke in 1905 were four Jugendstil architecture students: Fritz Bleyl (1880-1966), Erich Heckel (1883-1970), Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (1880-1938) and Karl Schmidt-Rottluff. They met through the Königliche Technische Hochschule (technical university) of Dresden, where Kirchner and Bleyl began studying in 1901 and became close friends in their first term. They discussed art together and also studied nature, having a radical outlook in common. Kirchner continued studies in Munich 1903–1904, returning to Dresden in 1905 to complete his degree. The institution provided a wide range of studies in addition to architecture, such as freehand drawing, perspective drawing and the historical study of art.

Who was the leader or key figure of Der Blau Reiter and what were the goals of this group?
Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider) was a group of artists from the Neue Künstlervereinigung München secessioning in Munich, Germany. Der Blaue Reiter was a German movement lasting from 1911 to 1914, fundamental to Expressionism, along with Die Brücke which was founded the previous decade in 1905. Wassily Kandinsky, Franz Marc, August Macke, Alexej von Jawlensky, Marianne von Werefkin, Lyonel Feininger, Albert Bloch and others founded the group in response to the rejection of Kandinsky's painting Last Judgement from an exhibition. Der Blaue Reiter lacked a central artistic manifesto, but was centred around Kandinsky and Marc. Artists Gabriele Münter and Paul Klee were also involved.
The name of the movement comes from a painting by Kandinsky created in 1903 (see illustration). It is also claimed that the name could have derived from Marc's enthusiasm for horses and Kandinsky's love of the colour blue. For Kandinsky, blue is the colour of spirituality: the darker the blue, the more it awakens human desire for the eternal (see his 1911 book On the Spiritual in Art).
Within the group, artistic approaches and aims varied from artist to artist; however, the artists shared a common desire to express spiritual truths through their art. They believed in the promotion of modern art; the connection between visual art and music; the spiritual and symbolic associations of colour; and a spontaneous, intuitive approach to painting. Members were interested in European medieval art and primitivism, as well as the contemporary, non-figurative art scene in France. As a result of their encounters with cubist, fauvist and Rayonist ideas, they moved towards abstraction.

Modern art came to America with the Armory Show of 1913. Which painting in that exhibition was called ‘an explosion in a shingle factory’ by a reviewer? Who painted it?

In 1913 the International Exhibition of Modern Art opened at the Sixty-Ninth Regiment Armory in New York City. Art historian Milton Brown calls it "the most important single exhibition ever held in America." Prior to what became known as the Armory Show, contemporary art and artists had received little attention from the American public, and this exhibition brought curious onlookers in numbers previously unimaginable. Displayed were works by avant-garde European artists such as Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, and Marcel Duchamp, all of whose abstract work had been shown in Europe beginning in 1905, with the Fauviste exhibition (where Gertrude Stein and her brother began collecting modern art). A similar exhibition in London in 1910 had prompted Virginia Woolf to tie a fundamental shift in the world to the display of those paintings, claiming that "on or about December 1910 human character changed." Cubism, a style of painting that emphasized the underlying geometric forms of objects, shocked American viewers, many of whom thought that the artists were trying to conceal their own lack of artistic talent or were simply insane. Marcel Duchamp's Nude Descending a Staircase caused the greatest public furor, standing for all that was wrong in modern art in the eyes of its critics. It became a target of public ridicule, and parodies of the work appeared in newspapers and journals. As Brown puts it, "American critics were as unprepared for the European visitation as they were for an exhibition of art from Mars." An art critic for the New York Times thought the work resembled "an explosion in a shingle factory."

Who was the leader or key figure of Suprematism and what were the goals of this group?
Suprematism is an art movement focused on fundamental geometric forms (squares and circles) which formed in Russia in 1915-1916.
When Kasimir Malevich originated Suprematism in 1915 he was an established painter having exhibited in the Donkey’s Tail and The Blue Rider exhibitions of 1912 with cubo-futurists works. The proliferation of new artistic forms in painting, poetry and theatre as well as a revival of interest in the traditional folk art of Russia were a rich environment in which a Modernists culture was being born.
He created a Suprematist 'grammar' based on fundamental geometric forms; the square and the circle. Malevich exhibited his early experiments in Suprematist painting. The centrepiece of his show was the Black square on white, placed in what is called the red/beautiful corner in Russian Orthodox tradition ; the place of the main icon in a house.
Another important influence on Malevich were the ideas of Russian mystic-mathematician who wrote of
'a fourth dimension beyond the three to which our ordinary senses have access'.

Abstractions of egg-like figures or birds were the subjects of which artist’s sculptures?
Constantin brancusi simplified his works, such as in the Newborn. He reduced his subject to an ovoid suggesting an egg. The form also resembles a head with the concave depression as the mouth releasing its first cry and the narrow triangle as the nose. Yet the whole is so abstract that we are left with a sense of the elemental ower of the marble which seems
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