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ARTH209: 20th Century Art

Unit 2: Fauvism and Cubism   In the first decades of the 20th century, Fauvism and Cubism brought extraordinary innovation and experimentation to the visual arts. The Fauves, led by Henri Matisse and strongly influenced by the Post-Impressionists, favored vivid nonnaturalistic colors, simplified decorative lines, and flatter pictorial space. The Cubists, led by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque, were influenced primarily by Paul Cézanne. In Cubism’s initial phase, known as Analytic Cubism, objects seemed to be shattered into geometric planes splayed across the canvas, making it difficult to recognize the subject matter and emphasizing the essentially two-dimensional nature of the canvas’s surface. In the second phase, called Synthetic Cubism, the colors became brighter and the objects more identifiable, but the emphasis on flatness remained. Picasso and Braque began to introduce nonart materials into their work as they experimented with collage and constructed, rather than carved or modeled, their sculptures.
 
Most of the artists associated with Fauvism and Cubism were also inspired by the highly stylized sculptures of various African countries. Due to the colonizing enterprises of France, Belgium, and Germany, the artists were able to see such artifacts in public and private collections in Europe. The abstracted forms of these African objects encouraged the artists in their movement away from naturalistic representation and toward greater abstraction. It helped them realize that there were alternative artistic conventions and styles available. For many artists, these non-Western objects functioned as a new source of originality. Some artists used elements borrowed from non-Western traditions in order to critique the social and artistic conventions of modern, Western society.

Unit 2 Time Advisory
Completing this unit should take approximately 8 hours.

☐    Subunit 2.1: 3 hours

☐    Subunit 2.2: 5 hours

Unit2 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, you will be able to: - identify and describe the visual characteristics and technical principles of Fauvism and Cubism; - explain the differences between Analytic and Synthetic Cubism; - explain the sources of Cubism; - demonstrate knowledge of the individual artists’ contributions to the development of Fauvism and Cubism; and - explain the influence of European colonialism and African art on some Cubist and Fauve works of art.

2.1 Fauvism and Matisse   2.1.1 Fauvism   - Reading: The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History: Sabine Rewald’s “Fauvism” Link: The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History: Sabine Rewald’s “Fauvism” (HTML)

 Instructions: After you read the essay, click on the images at the
top of the page to view the works of art and read the brief
descriptions for each one.  

 Reading this essay should take approximately 30 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

2.1.2 Henry Matisse   - Reading: The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History: Magdalena Dabrowski’s “Henri Matisse (1869–1954)” Link: The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History: Magdalena Dabrowski’s “Henri Matisse (1869–1954)” (HTML)

 Instructions: Read this essay and then click on the images at the
top of the page and read the brief descriptions of each work.  

 Reading this essay should take approximately 30 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.
  • Reading: The New Criterion: Hilton Kramer’s “Reflections on Matisse” Link: The New Criterion: Hilton Kramer’s “Reflections on Matisse” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Hilton Kramer’s essay discusses Matisse’s ideas on the relationship between painting’s formal elements (such as color, line, form and composition) and expressive feelings.
     
    Reading this article should take approximately 30 minutes.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Web Media: Khan Academy’s SmartHistory: “Fauvism & Matisse's Bonheur de Vivre” and Khan Academy’s SmartHistory: Dr. Beth Harris and Dr. Steven Zucker’s “Matisse’s The Red Studio” Links: Khan Academy’s SmartHistory: “Fauvism & Matisse's Bonheur de Vivre (HTML) and Khan Academy’s SmartHistory: Dr. Beth Harris and Dr. Steven Zucker’s “Matisse’s The Red Studio (Flash)

    Instructions: Read both of these pages as an introduction to Henri Matisse and his famous paintings, Bonheur de Vivre and The Red Studio. When you are finished reading “Matisse’s The Red Studio,” watch the accompanying video.

    Reading these pages and watching the video should take approximately 15 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareALike 3.0 United States License. It is attributed to Khan Academy. 

  • Reading: The New York Times: Michael Kimmelman’s “Art View; How the Spirit of Morocco Seized Matisse” Link: The New York Times: Michael Kimmelman’s “Art View; How the Spirit of Morocco Seized Matisse” (HTML)

    Instructions: As you read this essay, think about the impact that Morocco had on Matisse’s subject matter and style.

    Reading this article should take approximately 30 minutes.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Web Media: Wikipedia: “Henri Matisse” Link: Wikipedia: “Henri Matisse” (HTML)

    Instructions: You do not need to read the essay. Please scroll down to the section labeled “Selected Paintings: Paris, 1901–1917” and browse the images. Click on the following pictures to see a larger image of these works: Luxe, Calme et Volupte; Blue Nude; The Dance (first version); Le Rifain assis; and Zorah on the Terrace. As you look at the images, think about the formal and historical issues raised by the readings in this section on Matisse and Fauvism. Try to identify the significant characteristics of Matisse’s style and technique.

    Browsing these images and identifying the significant characteristics should take approximately 30 minutes.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

2.2 Cubism, African Art, and Picasso   2.2.1 Cubism   - Reading: The Art Story: “Cubism” Link: The Art Story: “Cubism” (HTML)

 Instructions: First, read over the page as an introduction to
Cubism. Please pay particular attention to the differences between
Analytic and Synthetic Cubism. Then click on the “Pablo Picasso
Page” and the “George Braque Page” found on the right side of the
webpage and read about each of these Cubist artists. Note this
covers the material you need to know for subunit 2.3.2. Please
remember to click on each of the images at the top right of each
page to read more about the individual works.  

 Reading this material should take approximately 1 hour and 30
minutes.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.
  • Reading: The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History: Sabine Rewald’s “Cubism” Link: The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History: Sabine Rewald’s “Cubism” (HTML)

    Instructions: After reading the essay, click on the images at the top of the page and read a brief description of each work.

    Reading this essay should take approximately 45 minutes.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: mariabuszek.com: Guillaume Apollinaire’s “On the Subject of Modern Painting” Links: mariabuszek.com: Guillaume Apollinaire’s “On the Subject of Modern Painting” (PDF)

    Instructions: Click on the link “ApolPtg.pdf” to read the document. Apollinaire was an early and enthusiastic supporter of Cubist painting. He realized many viewers found this kind of painting difficult to appreciate as it lacked the clearly identifiable subject matter and highly finished style of Salon paintings. Apollinaire explained the artists’ move away from nature by comparing it to music. He also argued that these paintings replaced the old value of verisimilitude with the new values of austerity and purity.

    Reading this essay should take approximately 45 minutes.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

2.2.2 African Influences in Modern Art   - Reading: The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History: Denise Murrell’s “African Influences in Modern Art” Link: The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History: Denise Murrell’s “African Influences in Modern Art” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read this essay about the influence of African art on Picasso’s art and Cubism in general. Click on the thumbnails at the top of the webpage and read the description for each work. 

 Reading this material should take approximately 1 hour.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

2.2.3 Pablo Picasso, the Great Innovator   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 2.3: The Art Story’s “Cubism.” Please focus on the page about Picasso that appears after you have clicked on the “Pablo Picasso Page” from the right-hand menu.

  • Web Media: Khan Academy’s SmartHistory: “Cubism & Picasso’s Still Life with Chair Caning” and Khan Academy’s SmartHistory: Dr. Beth Harris and Dr. Steven Zucker’s “Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon” Links: Khan Academy’s SmartHistory: “Cubism & Picasso’s Still Life with Chair Caning and Khan Academy’s SmartHistory: Dr. Beth Harris and Dr. Steven Zucker’s “Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (HTML and Flash)

    Instructions: Read both pages and watch the accompanying videos to learn about Pablo Picasso and his two famous works, Still Life with Chair Caning and Les Demoiselles d’Avignon.

    Reading the essays and watching the videos should take approximately 30 minutes.

    Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareALike 3.0 United States License. It is attributed to Khan Academy. 

  • Web Media: Khan Academy’s Dr. Stephen Zucker and Salman Khan’s “Picasso’s Guitar” Link: Khan Academy’s Dr. Stephen Zucker and Salman Khan’s “Picasso’s Guitar” (Flash)

    Instructions: Watch the video for a discussion of Picasso’s constructed sculpture, Guitar. As you watch, think about how this work differs from traditional sculptures.

    Watching this video should take approximately 15 minutes.

    Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareALike 3.0 United States License. It is attributed to Khan Academy. 

  • Assessment: The Saylor Foundation’s “ARTH209 Unit 2 Quiz” Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “ARTH209 Unit 2 Quiz” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Complete this assessment to gauge your understanding of the topics covered in this unit. The correct answers will be displayed when you click the “Submit” button.
     
    Completing the assessment and reviewing, if needed, should take approximately 30 minutes.