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Memorable Modern Art

By Edited Mar 30, 2016 1 2

Unforgettable and Extraordinary

"No great artist ever sees things as they really are. If he did, he would cease to be an artist."
Oscar Wilde

 

A New View Of Things

Champs de Mars. La Tour rouge. 1911

Champs de Mars. La Tour rouge.

The period known as Modern Art, commenced around 1860 and continued for about a hundred years. The art of this time reflected a period of huge, cultural change and was alive with scientific and technological development.

During this period, tall buildings were increasing built, creating views and ways of seeing never before experienced. Not only could people suddenly get a "birds eye" view of cities like Paris or New York, they could also view the changing skyline created by the soaring buildings from the ground.

Trains and motor cars also allowed another view, with the countryside and cityscape moving past at a faster rate than ever seen before. These were exciting times, times of change and times of experimentation.                                              

A New Way of Seeing

Artist Robert Delaunay, (1885-1941) painted a series of about 30 versions of the Eiffel Tower and according to art historian Robert Hughes, he viewed the structure with "real ecstasy". Gone were the country scenes of the Impressionists, replaced with a vision of Paris "dignified with the tallest building in the world". And yet the tower, with its Fauvist, Cubist influences, also manages to communicate a sense of vertigo, excitement and perhaps something frightening too.

Dynamism of a Dog on a Leash

Dynamism of a Dog on a Leash.1912

Giacomo Balla's Futurist work, captures the sense of mechanisation, energy and movement, that was beginning to typify the modern world.

The woman in the painting, has about fifteen feet and the dog around eight blurring, dynamic tails. There is a compelling sense of movement and hurry, with the bold black figures and the diagonal lines emphasising an almost frantic speed.

In this painting, Balla was inspired by cinematic pioneers, Muybridge and Marey, who were creating movement in film, with a series of still photographs.  The racing legs of the dachshund and the ladies flurry of feet were derived from these photographs.

Monogram, 1955
Audacious

Monogram, 1955

For its sheer ability to bewilder and perplex the viewer, Monogram by Robert Rauschenberg is outstanding. It is also a highly memorable work of art, which makes use of various non-traditional materials to create something truly surprising. Rauschenberg, supposedly found the taxidermised goat during the 1950's, in an office supply store and added the tyre.

According to art historian Robert Hughes however,  the goat with the tire, is actually a sexual metaphor, which when juxtaposed with the seeming innocence of the long-haired goat, is enigmatic provoking further interest.

 

Les Demoiselles d'Avignon
Back To basics

Les Demoiselles d'Avignon 1907

This early Cubist painting by Pablo Picasso, as art critic Robert Hughes says, turns the "viewer into the voyeur", as we view the five female, nude prostitutes staring almost insolently at us.

Two of the women possess faces much like African tribal masks and the overall style is somewhat "primitive", using much distortion. Regarded as revolutionary, as a dramatic break away from artistic tradition, this painting also gave birth to the exciting concept, that there were other ways in which to represent and express reality and ideas.

The artist Derain however, was of the opinion that Picasso would one day commit suicide, for the shame he brought to the art world. Quite contrary to this view, Les Demoiselles d'Avignon is regarded as a seminal work of modernity.

1947 replica of The Disquieting Muses (1916)
The Dream World

 replica of The Disquieting Muses 1947

The artist of this painting, Giorgio de Chirico, was known to make many replicas of his works, like the The Disquieting Muses. Regarded as a pre-Surrealist, de Chirico, created art pieces of haunting beauty, often in landscapes of emptiness and melancholy.

The classical robes of the muses, bring a sense of nostalgia and antiquity, to the puppet like figures, or are they tailors dummies? This painting which inspired  Sylvia Plath's poem The Disquieting Muses, also has a sense of theatre, like a stage set, waiting in readiness.

How Very Interesting!

Object (Le Déjeuner en fourrure)

Luncheon in Fur 1936

Meret Oppenheim was inspired to create this rather suggestive art piece, when at a Paris cafe, Picasso proclaimed that it is possible to do anything with fur. To this challenge Oppenheim replied "Even this cup and saucer." as she picked up a cup and saucer.

This Surrealist art piece is covered with the  fur of a Chinese gazelle and at the time of its creation was considered "erotic" and heavy with sexual overtones. However today, as we don't tend to see everything through a Freudian lens, this sensual aspect, may not immediately come to mind. What is more interesting about the work however, is the innovative and audacious use of a domestic item as an unashamed art piece.

Depeche Mode - Photographic

Painting - by Picasso The Kiss Belt Buckle
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Comments

Apr 20, 2012 7:52am
askformore
I love your Oscar Wilde quote!
I am not 100% certain, but I believe that Picasso once said:
"If an artist see a man falling from a high building, then a true artist has the painting of it ready in his mind, before the falling man hits the ground".
Apr 20, 2012 8:28am
Etcetera
Oscar Wilde was a unique individual. Your quote and observation by Picasso seems to confirm, that artists see the world in a different way to most of us.
Thanks for commenting.
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Bibliography

  1. Robert Hughes .. U. K Edition: The Guardian, January 2006.
  2. . Picasso's Les Demoiselles d'Avignon: Breaking with Tradition. .: http://faculty.mdc.edu/nrodrigu/demoiselles/lesdemoiselles.htm, ..
  3. Robert Hughes The Shock of the New. Netherlands: BBC, 1980.

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