The Visual Arts in French Society (G46.2339)
The Visual Arts in French Society
Kenneth E. Silver
Objective: This course is designed as an intensive survey of a half-century of art-making in France, with special
emphasis on representations and constructions of French identity.
Course requirements: regular attendance, extensive reading, class participation, culminating in class presentation
based on a 15 page term paper (which will be read and commented upon by entire class).
September 9: Introductory remarks
September 16: The Look of the Third Republic: What (Who) is France?
Debora L. Silverman, Art Nouveau in Fin-de-Siècle France: Politics, Psychology, and Style (Berkeley: U. of Cal.,
1989). Chapter 2:"Aristocratic Ralliement and Social Solidarité," pp. 43-51; Chapter 10: "Art Nouveau: Craft
Modernism and the State,@ pp. 172-185(plus notes: pp. 322-325; 453-355).
Paul Hayes Tucker, Monet in the '90s: The Series Paintings (exh. cat. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Yale U. Press,
1989), Chapter 5: "Rooted in la France: Monet's Poplar Paintings of 1891," pp. 106-141(plus notes: pp. 275-277).
Margaret Werth, The Joy of Life: The Idyllic in French Art. Circa 1900 (Berkeley: U. of Cal., 2002)). Chapter 1: “Idyll
of the Living Dead: Puvis de Chavannes,” pp. 20-82, (plus notes pp. 241-261).
Phillip Dennis Cate, AThe Paris Cry: Graphic Artists and the Dreyfus Affair,@ in Kleeblatt, ed. The Dreyfus Affair:
Art, Truth, and Justice (exh. cat. The Jewish Museum, New York; U. of Cal., 1987), pp. 62-95.
September 23: Forward-Looking Regression and the Avant-Garde
James D. Herbert, Chap. 3: "Painters and Tourists in the Classical Landscape," pp.82-111; Chap. 4: "The Golden Age
and the French National Heritage," pp. 112-145; plus notes, pp. 196-205, in Herbert, Fauve Painting: The Making of
Cultural Politics (Yale U. Press, 1992).
Jody Blake, Chap. 1: "Taking the Cake: The First Steps of Primitivism in Modern Art," pp. 11-36, and notes, pp. 168172, in Le Tumulte Noir: Modernist Art and Popular Entertainment in Jazz-Age Paris, 1900-1930 (Penn State Press,
Nancy J.Troy, Chap. 2: "Responses to Industrialization and Competition from Germany," pp. 52-102; plus notes, pp.
238-247, in Modernism and the Decorative Arts in France: Art Nouveau to Le Corbusier (Yale, 1991).
September 30: Museum study session: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 5th Ave. at 81st. Meet at Main Desk by 4:05.
October 7: Cubism(s)
Mark Antliff, AThe Body of the Nation: Cubisms Celtic Nationalism,@ in Inventing Bergson: Cultural Politics and the
Parisian Avant-Garde (Princeton, 1993), pp. 107-34, plus notes, pp. 189-208.
Patricia Leighten, "Picasso's Collages and the Threat of War, 1912-13," The Art Bulletin (December 1985), pp. 653672.
Kenneth E.Silver, AThe Heroism of Understatement: the Ideological Machinery of La Fresnayes Conquest of the Air,@
in Self and History: A Tribute to Linda Nochlin (Thames and Hudson, 2001), pp.116-126.
October 14: About Face: Art and La Grande Guerre
Kenneth E. Silver, Chap. I: "In the Nightmare Through Which We are Passing," pp. 3-27; Chap. II: "The Rewards of
War," pp. 28-73;plus notes: pp.401-429; Chap III “comme il faut,” pp. 74-145,” plus notes: pp. 420-429, in Esprit de
Corps: The Art of the Parisian Avant-Garde and the First World War, 1914-1925 (Princeton, 1989).
Philippe Dagen, Le Silence des Peintres: Les artists face à la grande guerre (Fayard, 1996),"Introduction," pp. 7-23.
October 21: Modernity and Le Corbusier
Kenneth E. Silver, "Purism: Straightening Up After the Great War," Artforum (March 1977), pp. 56-63.
Mary McLeod, "'Architecture or Revolution': Taylorism, Technocracy, and Social Change" Art Journal (Summer
1983), pp. 132-147.
Jody Blake, Chap. 6: "Toeing the Line: Purism," pp. 137-162,plus notes, pp. 186-189, in Le Tumulte Noir
Mark Antliff, "Georges Valois, Le Corbusier, and Fascist Theories of Urbanism," pp.134-170, in Affron and Antliff,
eds. Fascist Visions: Art and Ideology in France and Italy (Princeton, 1997).
October 28: Museum study session: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 5th Ave. at 81st. Meet at Main Desk by 4:05.
November 4: Outsiders/Insiders
Kenneth E. Silver, "Where Soutine Belongs: His Art and Critical Reception in Paris Between the Wars," pp. 19-40, in
N. Kleeblatt and K. Silver, An Expressionist in Paris: The Paintings of Chaim Soutine (exh. cat. Prestel/The Jewish
Malcolm Gee, “Le Réseau économique” in L’Ecole de Paris, 1904-1929, la part de l’Autre (Paris: Musée d’Art
Moderne de la Ville de Paris, 2000), pp. 127-137.
Patricia A. Morton, "National and Colonial: The Musée des Colonies at the Colonial Exposition, Paris, 1931," The Art
Bulletin (June 1998), pp. 357-377.
November 11: The Organic, the Biomorphic, the Engagé
James Clifford, "On Ethnographic Surrealism," pp. 117-151, in Clifford, The Predicament of Culture: TwentiethCentury Ethnography, Literature, and Art (Harvard U. Press, 1988).
James Herbert, Chap.2: "Gods in the Machine," pp. 40-67, plus notes pp. 178-186, in Paris 1937: Worlds on Exhibition
Romy Golan, Chap. 3:"A Crisis of Confidence: from Machinism to the Organic," pp. 61-,plus notes, pp. 181-187,in
Modernity and Nostalgia: Art and Politics in France between the Wars (New Haven and London: Yale, 1995).
Pascal Rousseau,"L'Art Mural: Le monumental au service de la collectivité;" in Le Front Populaire et l'Art Moderne:
Hommage à Jean Zay (exh. cat. Orléans: Musée des Beaux Arts,1995 ), pp.56-65.
November 18: Occupation and the Post-War Moment
[term papers due]
Laurence Bertrand Dorléac, "Le Maréchal à l'infini," p. 107-168, plus notes, pp. 336-356, in Dorléac, L'Art de la
défaite 1940-1944 (Seuil, 1993).
Michèle Cone, "Decadence and Renewal in the Decorative Arts under Vichy," pp. 239-262, in Affron and Antliff, eds.
Fascist Visions: Art and Ideology in France and Italy (Princeton, 1997).
Golan, AL "Eternel décoratif: French Art in the 1950s,@ Yale French Studies, no. 98 (2000), pp. 98-118.
Serge Guilbaut, A1955: The Year the Gaulois Fought the Cowboy,@ in Ibid., pp. 167-181.
November 25: Presentation of term papers
December 2: Presentation of term papers