Modernism and Modernity in European Art  


Central European University / Budapest College /Department of History  

Cultural History Course for the Winter Trimester  

Modernism and Modernity in European Art  

From the Artistic Trends of the 1890`s to Post-Modernism  

Lectures given by Ilona Sármány-Parsons  

The course is intended to give an overview of the main artistic trends from Art Nouveau /Secession to Post-Modernism by concentrating on the changing role of the arts in society and the changing attitudes of the artists to their vocation. 
It will concentrate on painting, viewed in its social, cultural and national contexts, and will analyse the relationship between art and political and /or philosophical ideas. As in the Fall Trimester, changing world views, as manifested in works of art, will be analysed from a social, political and philosophical point of view. Together with English, French, German and Russian artistic trends, specific Central European variations of the new styles in art will be discussed. 

Apart from the oral examination at the end of the course, the students will be tested on their recognition of the styles and masters featured in the lectures. 

Compulsory Reading:  

E.H. Gombrich: The Story of Art. London, 1992. pp. 442-475. 

H.Honour & J. Fleming: A World History of Art. London, 1982. pp. 564-621. 

R.Rosenblum & H.W. Janson: Art of the Nineteenth Century. London, pp. 428-463. 

Shearer West: Fin-de-sècle. London, 1993. 

N.Lynton: The Story of Modern Art, London, 1992. pp. 1-225. 

Mark Girouard: Cities and People. New Haven, London 1995. pp. 343-382. 

George H. Hamilton: Painting and Sculpture in Europe 1880-1940. New Haven, London, 1993. 

Optional Reading: 

The following books are basic sources for the pictures discussed during the course: 

Herbert Read: A Concise History of Modern Painting. London rev. ed. 1968. 

Nikos Stangos (Ed.): Concepts of Modern Art. New York, 1974. 

Camilla Gray: The Russian Experiment in Art 1863-1922. London 1975. 

Robert Hughes: The Shock of the New: Art and the Century of Change. London, 1980. 

Open Univeristy Textbooks

Modern Art Practices and Debates (Series edited by Frascina et al.):  

Modernity and Modernism: French painting in the Nineteenth Century. New Haven, London 1993. 

Primitivism, Cubism, Abstraction: The Early Twentieth Century. New Haven, London 1994. 

Realism, Rationalism, Surrealism: Art since the Wars. New Haven, London. 1995. 

Modernism in Dispute: Art since the Forties. New Haven, London. 1993. 

Edward Lucie-Smith: Movements in Art since 1945. London 1997. 

Thematic Units of the Course 

15. Jan: 1/ The increasing antagonism between the artistic establishment and experimental art in the 1890`s and its consequences. (This includes discussion of official forums, the newly established art market and the marginalised status of the avant-garde). 

Readings: Shearer West: Fin-de-siècle. London 1993.Pp. 33-68. G.H. Hamilton: Painting and Sculpture in Europe 1880-1940. Pp. 105-118, 131-153. 

22. Jan: 2/ Secession and Modernism in the Austro-Hungarian Empire: in Vienna, Prague, Cracow and Budapest. The relationship of these Central European art centres to those in Western Europe. 

Readings: Carl E. Schorske: Fin-de-siècle Vienna. NY. 1981. Pp. 208-278. Ilona Sármány-Parsons: Austrian Painting in the 19th Century. Bp 1987. Pp. 7-32. 

Optional: Jeremy Howard: Art Nouveau. 1996. Manchester/NY. 

29 Jan: 3/ The Coming of the radical avant-garde generation: Fauvism and Expressionism. France, Germany, Austria and the impact of their art on the rest of Europe. 

Readings: Shearer West: Fin-de-sècle Pp. 122-140. Norbert Lynton: The Story of Modern Art. Pp. 25-54. Primitivism, Cubism, Abstraction: The Early Twentieth Century (Yale, 1993) Pp. 46-86. G.H. Hamilton op cit : Pp. 157-234 and 487-494. 

5. Feb: 4/ The final break with tradition: Cubism in Paris, Futurism in Italy and related tendencies elsewhere in Europe. 

Readings: G.H.Hamilton Pp. 235-271 and 279-291. Primitivism, Cubism, Abstraction Pp. 87-183. Norbert Lynton: The Story of Modern Art Pp. 55-73. 

12 Feb: 5/ Abstraction: Experiments in the creation of a new visual language. "Zero hour" for modern art. Kandinskij, Malevich, Mondrian. 

Readings: Hamilton op cit Pp. 303-331. Primitivism etc. op cit Pp. 184-264. N. Lynton op cit Pp. 74-122. Camilla Gray op cit Pp. 

19 Feb: 6/ The attraction of war for certain artists and the multiple crises of the creative ego: Dadaism, Surrealism and the individual contemporary artists not belonging to any movement. Readings: Hamilton op cit Pp. 365-420. Realism. Rationalism etc op cit Pp. 19-61, 171-249. N. Lynton op cit Pp. 147-200. 

26 Feb: 7/ The heritage of the early radical avant-garde in historical perspective. 

Readings: Lynton op cit Pp. 201-225. Hamilton op cit Pp. 331-340, 425-438, and on Klee 494-499. 

5 March: 8/ Realistic tendencies between the two World Wars and the special artistic profile of totalitarian regimes. 

Readings: Realism, Rationalism etc op cit Pp. 250-332. Lynton op cit Pp. 123-146 and 169-200. Hamilton op cit Pp. 331-340 and 473-484. 

12 March: 9/ Modernism in architecture. The pioneers of International Style, Frank Lloyd Wright, Corbusier and others. 

Readings: Patrick Nuttgens: The Story of Architecture. London 1983. Pp. 259-270. Mark Girouard: Cities and People. Pp. 325-382. 

19March: 10/ New stylistic trends after the Second World War. The influence and defeat of Nazism and Fascism on the development of cultural policy in the Western European states. The new art market and its effect on art production. 

Readings: N.Lynton op cit Pp. 226-282, if possible up to 316. Modernism in Dispute: Art since the Forties op cit Pp. 1-170. Optional reading: Edward Lucie-Smith: Movements in Art since 1945. London 1997. Pp. 7-24, if possible to 201. 

26 March: 11/ The international art exhibitions. Trends since the 1980`s. The effect of the new media. Post-Modernism. 

Readings: Modernism in Dispute op cit Pp. 170-237. Nuttgens op cit Pp. 271-281. Lynton op cit Pp. 317-364. Lucie Smith op cit Pp. 202-290. 

2 April: 12/ Test and Examination. 

All lectures will be accompanied by slides.