THE ART OF PAINTING IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY by

THE ART OF PAINTING IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The third volume of this handsome series places the confusing realm of ""modern"" painting in the hands of the painters responsible for it. Although the aesthetic theories and vagaries expounded here may not turn out to be as classic as da Vinci's Precepts (Vol. 1) or Hegel's prophecies (Vol. 2), this latest volume is certainly the most polemic, the most contradictory, and probably the most fascinating of the three. Within the no-man's-land of modern pictorial art, everyone and his -ism has a place -- Fauvism, Kandinsky and his spiritualistic breakthrough to non-representational painting, Valery and his nearly classical formalism, Klee and his emotional poetics in paint, Picasso, Leger, Braque for Cubism, Ernst for the Surrealists , and all the way through Mondrian's geometric purism to Pollock's Action Painting (the -ism for that one reads ""Tachism""). Scattered among the painters are the critics and aestheticians -- Focillon, Lhote, and even Henry Miller. It is an unholy potpourri -- with some of the big name painters represented by little nothings (Picasso's ""aphorisms""), making the more eloquent writers like Klee and Kandinsky suffer for lack of space -- and there are countless numbers omitted. But modern painting itself is potpourri and there are too many opinions for any one volume. At least we are spared the prose pomp of Pop and Op practitioners --Volume 4 for them? Color plates are included at the end, finishing off a collection worthwhile for its presentation of the methods behind all the madness.

Publisher: Hawthorn