Wednesday, December 26, 2007

late 1800’s

1. In the late 1800’s some artists became dissatisfied with Impressionism so they branched into a new style, Post-impressionism. Name two artists that followed that path and the reasons they left Impressionism. (2 pts.)

Post-Impressionism in Western painting, movement in France that represented both an extension of Impressionism and a rejection of that style's inherent limitations. The term Post-Impressionism was coined by the English art critic Roger Fry for the work of such late 19th-century painters as Paul Cézanne, Georges Seurat, Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, and others. All of these painters except van Gogh were French, and most of them began as Impressionists; each of them abandoned the style, however, to form his own highly personal art. Impressionism was based, in its strictest sense, on the objective recording of nature in terms of the fugitive effects of colour and light. The Post-Impressionists rejected this limited aim in favour of more ambitious expression, admitting their debt, however, to the pure, brilliant colours of Impressionism, its freedom from traditional subject matter, and its technique of defining form with short brushstrokes of broken colour. The work of these painters formed a basis for several contemporary trends and for early 20th-century modernism.
The Post-Impressionists often exhibited together, but, unlike the Impressionists, who began as a close-knit, convivial group, they painted mainly alone. Cézanne painted in isolation at Aix-en-Provence in southern France; his solitude was matched by that of Paul Gauguin, who in 1891 took up residence in Tahiti, and of van Gogh, who painted in the countryside at Arles. Both Gauguin and van Gogh rejected the indifferent objectivity of Impressionism in favour of a more personal, spiritual expression. After exhibiting with the Impressionists in 1886, Gauguin renounced “the abominable error of naturalism.” With the young painter Émile Bernard, Gauguin sought a simpler truth and purer aesthetic in art; turning away from the sophisticated, urban art world of Paris, he instead looked for inspiration in rural communities with more traditional values.

2. Toulouse-Lautrec found his subject matter in the nightlife of Paris cafes. What 'new' graphic art media did he excel in that advertised the evening establishments? (1 pt.)

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, paradoxically seurat, like the other post-impressionist artists, constituted a new avant garde style that lead him down a path of esoteric, incomprehensible new designs, that captured the urban exuberance towards the close of the nineteenth century. In particular, his pictures of Cirque Fernando, were exhibited at the circus, dance halls, cabarets, and nightclubs. What really caught the attention of audiences was the ‘new’ graphic art media called lithography.


3. What was Gauguin searching for in Tahiti that he could not find in Western society? (1 pt.)

Gauguin was quoted in a letter to Danish painter J.f. Willumsen, telling his friend:
As for me, my mind is made up. I am going to Tahiti, a small island in Oceania, where the material necessities of life can be had without money. I want to forget all the misfortunes of the past, I want to be free to paint without any glory whatsoever in the eyes of the others and I want to die there and to be forgotten there.. A terrible epoch I brewing in Europe for the coming generation: the kingdom of gold. Everything is putrefied, even men, even the arts. There at least, under eternally summer sky, on a marvelously fertile soil, the Tahitian has only to lift his hands to gather his food; and in addition he never works. When in Europe men and women survive only after unceasing labor during which they struggle in convulsions of cold and hunger, a prey to misery, the Tahitians, on the contrary, happy inhabitants of the unknown paradise of the Oceania, know only sweetness of life. To live, for them, is to sing and to love… Once my material life is well organized, I can there devote myself to great works of art, freed from all artistic jealousies and with no need whatsoever of lowly trade.


4. Define Symbolism. Name one artist associated with that movement and the title of one of his works. How is Symbolism different from Post-Impressionism? (3 pts.)

Although Gauguin devised the label Synthetism to describe his art, he was soon heralded as a Symbolist. Symbolism was a literary movement announced in a manifesto issued by poet Jean Moreas. The label was soon extended to art, and Gauguin’s name always topped anyone’s list of important Symbolists. Van Gogh, with his expressionist fantasies was considered a Symbolist as well. In 1891, art critic Georges Albert Aurier defined Symbolism with five adjectives:

“Ideal, symbolist, synthesis, subjective, and decorative.” Gauguin himself felt compelled to use symbolist terminology to describe his painting ‘Where Do We Come From?’


5. Who was the leader of the Vienna Session? Describe this style of painting. (1 pt.)

The Vienna Secession in Austria was part of the highly varied Secessionism movement that is now covered by the general term Art Nouveau. It was formed in 1897 by a group of 19 Vienna artists who had resigned from the Association of Austrian Artists, housed in the Vienna Künstlerhaus. The first president of the Secession was Gustav Klimt.

In 1895, a German entrepreneur, Siegfried Bing, opened a decorative arts shop called La Maison de l’Art Nouveua in Paris. He made a fortune importing Japanese art and furnishings, and now sought to promote the Japanese principle of total design: Every detail of an interior space would be integrated into a single style. Aiming to eliminate any distinction between the fine and decorative arts, he hired famous architects, artists and designers to develop ever detail of entire rooms fo his shop, as well as to design individual products including furniture, vases, tiles , and stained-glass windows. This new style was called Art nouveau, after Bing’s shop. Art Nouveau was considered a response to William Morris’s Arts and Crafts Movement, and certainly the emphasis on handcrafted, finely designed products reflects this. Many Art Nouveau artists embraced mass-production and new, industrial materials. Also, it is important to note that Art Noveau designs, though clearly organic, are often purely abstract rather than based on identifiable botanical specimens, as is the case in Morris’s designs.


6. Where was Rodin’s ‘The Thinker’ supposed to have been placed? Why did it not go there? (1 pt.)

The Thinker is a bronze and marble sculpture by Auguste Rodin, held in the Musée Rodin, in Paris. It depicts a man in sober meditation battling with a powerful internal struggle. It is sometimes used to represent philosophy.

Originally named The Poet, the piece was part of a commission by the Musee de Arts Decoratives, Paris, to create a monumental portal to act as the door of the museum. Rodin based his theme on The Devine Comedy of Dante and entitled the portal The Gates of Hell. Each of the statues in the piece represented one of the main characters in the epic poem. The Thinker was originally meant to depict Dante in front of the Gates of Hell, pondering his great poem. (In the final sculpture, a miniature of the statue sits atop the gates, pondering the hellish fate of those beneath him.)


The Thinker in front of Philosophy at Columbia University
The first large-scale bronze cast was finished in, but was not presented to the public until 1904. It became the property of the city of Paris, thanks to a subscription organized by Rodin admirers, and was put in front of the Pantheon. It was moved to the Hotel Biron, transformed into a Rodin Museum.
More than any other Rodin sculpture, The Thinker moved into the popular imagination, as an immediately recognizable icon of intellectual activity; consequently it has been subject to endless satirical use. This began already in Rodin's lifetime. Armand Hammer records that, on meeting Lenin face to face in 1912, he gave the leader a small sculpture of a chimpanzee in Thinker pose, meditating on a human skull, in recognition of the Darwinist slant of Lenin's thinking.
Until September 2006, the original cast was on display at Sakip Sabancı Museum in Istanbul, Turkey. Prior to that, the original cast was displayed in Hartford, Connecticut, at the Wadsworth, in March and April 2006. Since the beginning of 2007, it is back in Paris.


7. Define Art Nouveau and provide an example of it by naming a building and the artist who constructed it. (1 pt.)


The Vienna Secession in Austria was part of the highly varied Secessionism movement that is now covered by the general term Art Nouveau. It was formed in 1897 by a group of 19 Vienna artists who had resigned from the Association of Austrian Artists, housed in the Vienna Künstlerhaus. The first president of the Secession was Gustav Klimt.

In 1895, a German entrepreneur, Siegfried Bing, opened a decorative arts shop called La Maison de l’Art Nouveua in Paris. He made a fortune importing Japanese art and furnishings, and now sought to promote the Japanese principle of total design: Every detail of an interior space would be integrated into a single style. Aiming to eliminate any distinction between the fine and decorative arts, he hired famous architects, artists and designers to develop ever detail of entire rooms fo his shop, as well as to design individual products including furniture, vases, tiles , and stained-glass windows. This new style was called Art nouveau, after Bing’s shop. Art Nouveau was considered a response to William Morris’s Arts and Crafts Movement, and certainly the emphasis on handcrafted, finely designed products reflects this. Many Art Nouveau artists embraced mass-production and new, industrial materials. Also, it is important to note that Art Noveau designs, though clearly organic, are often purely abstract rather than based on identifiable botanical specimens, as is the case in Morris’s designs.

Compared to the dark ponderous interiors of the Victorian era, the buoyant naturalism of Art Nouvea was a breath of fresh air. Exuding youth, liberation, and modernity. It shared with Symbolism the elemet of fantasy, in this case a biomorphic fantasy, which can especially be seen in architecture. Art Nouveau designers converned themselves equally with exterior finish and interior space.

The style began in Brussels with Belgian architect Victor Horta. Horta studied drawing, textiles, and architecture there at the Academie des beaux-arts, and worked in paris before returning to Belgium to start his own practice. Horta designed the Tassel House in Brussels in 1892. The centerpiece of the Tassel House’s design was in the ironwork of the stairwell. The malleable wroght-iron columns and railings that were easily shaped into vienes that evolve into whiplash tendrils on the walls, ceilings, and mosaic floor.

8. Skyscrapers become the architectural symbol for modern architecture in America in the late 19th century. What new fire tolerant metal was invented to build them? Name a Chicago architect who was a leader in this field who coined the phrase ‘form ever follows function’. (2 pts.)


Louis Sullivan was coined saying, “form ever follows function.” As the early fires of Chicago demonstrated, iron is not fire resistant; instense heat makes it soften, bend, and if hot enough, melt. To avoid towering infernos, it was necessary to fireproof the metal, enveloping iron, and shortly thereafter steel(which was only developed as we know it today in the early twentieth century) with terra-cotta tiles and later in a coating of concrete (modern concrete, called Portland cement, was invented in England in 1825). The insulation also prevented corrosion.

Equally important was the invention of the curtain wall. Unlike a self-supporting wall, the curtain wall hangs from the lip of a horizontal I-beam. Without this innovation the base of the wall for a tall building would have had to be extremely thick in order to support the weight of the wall above. The curtain walls allow for entire walls to be made of glass.

9. Frank Lloyd Wright, one of America’s most famous architects, began designing Prairie Houses [also called Prairie School Houses] during the 1890’s and into the early 20th century. Describe 2 features of these structures and name a building that uses this design. [Instructor’s note: Mason City, IA has 3 of his buildings from this era and I’m helping to restore them. I live in a home of this period design by another Chicagoan, Walter Burley Griffin.] (2 pts.)

Frank Lloyd Wright was one of the world's most prominent and influential architects. He developed a series of highly individual styles over his extraordinarily long architectural career (spanning the years 1887–1959) and he influenced the entire course of architecture and building internationally.
Between 1900 and 1917, his residential designs were “Prairie Houses" (extended low buildings with shallow, sloping roofs, clean sky lines, suppressed chimneys, overhangs and terraces, using unfinished materials), so-called because the design is considered to complement the land around Chicago. These houses are credited with being the first examples of the “open plan."
The Darwin D. Martin House, in Buffalo, NY, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, is a famous prairie style house. Wright came to Buffalo and designed not only the first sketches (completed in 1904, demolished in 1950), but also homes for three of the company's executives:
· George Barton House, Buffalo NY, 1903
· Hillside Home School, 1902, Taliesin, Spring Green, Wisconsin
· Darwin D. Martin House, Buffalo NY, 1904
· William Heath House, Buffalo NY, 1905
o and later, the Graycliff estate, Derby, NY 1926
The Westcott House was built between (1907 and 1908), in Springfield, Ohio. It not only embodies Frank Lloyd Wright’s innovative Prairie Style design but also reflects his passion for Japanese art and culture as the Westcott House displays unique design traits characteristic of traditional Japanese design. The Westcott House is the only Prairie house to be built in Ohio, and it represents an important evolution of Wright’s Prairie concept. The Westcott House includes an extensive ninety-eight foot pergola, capped with an intricate wooden trellis, that connects a detached carriage house and garage to the main house -- features that are included in only a few of Wright’s later Prairie Style houses designs.
It is not known exactly when Wright designed The Westcott House; scholars speculate that it may have been several months prior to more than a year after the architect returned from his first trip to Japan in 1905. Wright created two separate designs for the Westcott House; both are included in Studies and Executed Buildings of Frank Lloyd Wright, published by the distinguished Ernst Wasmuth (Germany, 1910-1911). This two-volume work contains more than one hundred lithographs of Wright’s designs and is commonly known as the Wasmuth Portfolio.
Other Frank Lloyd Wright houses considered to be masterpieces of the late Prairie Period (1907–1909) are the Frederick Robbie House in Chicago and the Avery and Queene Coonley House in Riverside. The Robie House, with its soaring, cantilevered roof lines, supported by a 110 foot (34 m)-long channel of steel, is the most dramatic.


10. Once photography was invented it progressed quickly into other creative applications. What did Muybridge contribute to the field? Why were his photographs so important? (1 pt.)


Eadweard Muybridge was an English-born photographer, known primarily for his early use of multiple cameras to capture motion, and his zoopraxiscope, a device for projecting motion pictures that pre-dated the celluloid film strip that is still used today.

Muybridge began to build his reputation in 1867 with photos of Yosemite and San Fransico. Muybridge quickly became famous for his landscape photographs, which showed the grandeur and expansiveness of the West. The images were published under the pseudonym “Helios.” Muybridge was commissioned to photograph one of the U.S. Army's expeditions into the recently territorialized Alaska purchase.
In 1871 the California Geographical Survey invited Muybridge to photograph for the High Sierra survey. That same year he married Flora Stone. He then spent several years traveling as a successful photographer. By 1873 the Central Pacific Railroad had advanced into Indian Territory and the United States Army hired Muybridge to photograph the ensuin and the Modaic Wars.
Soon-to-be Govenor of California, Leland Stanford, a businessman and race horse owner, had taken a position on a popularly-debated question of the day: whether during a horse's trot, all four hooves were ever off the ground at the same time. Stanford sided with this assertion, called "unsupported transit", and took it upon himself to prove it scientifically. (Though legend also includes a wager of up to $25,000, there is no evidence of this.) Stanford sought out Muybridge and hired him to settle the question. Muybridge's relationship with Stanford was long and torrid, and it would ultimately prove to be his entrance and exit from the history books.
To prove Stanford's claim, Muybridge developed a scheme for instantaneous motion picture capture. Muybridge's technology involved chemical formulas for photographic processing and an electrical trigger created by Stanford's electircal engineer, John D. Isaacs.
In 1877, Muybridge settled Stanford's question with a single photographic negative showing Stanford's racehorse Occident airborne during trot. This negative has not survived, although woodcuts made of it did.
By 1878, spurred on by Stanford to expand the experiment, Muybridge had successfully photographed a horse in fast motion using a series of twenty-four cameras. The cameras were arranged along a track parallel to the horse's, and each of the camera shutters was controlled by a trip wire which was triggered by the horse's hooves.

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