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Early 20 th Century American Art

A Look at American Art During the Early 1900s. Early 20 th Century American Art. Introduction.

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Early 20 th Century American Art

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  1. A Look at American Art During the Early 1900s Early 20th Century American Art

  2. Introduction The beginning of the twentieth century was a time of revolutionary change in science, politics, and the arts in many parts of the world. People who lived then, felt these changes were overturning the certainty of their lives. Way of living and thinking, taken for granted in the nineteenth century, began to be challenged. In the world of science the discovery of X-rays in 1895 and radium in 1898 proved that matter was neither solid nor stable. Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity in 1905 proved that matter changes dimension depending on its speed through time. Sigmund Freud’s The Interpretation of Dreams dramatically changed the way people looked at human behavior. Con’t >>>

  3. Change is Brewing In the United States, the strength of the American Indians to survive under great stress and to keep alive the culture that the white man had tried to destroy, the energy of immigrants arriving in a new country to assimilate American life and make it work for themselves, the movement for the right of women to vote, and push for progressive labor and social reform all became irresistible forces in the early 1900s. This great social and political energy led to enormous changes throughout the century. - Excerpt from North American Art Since 1900, C.M.E.P. Turner, 1996, Cynthia Parzych Publishing, Inc., New York.

  4. Change is Brewing The early 1900s were a time of transition from tradition to innovation. American painters and sculptors continued to feel their educations were not complete without several years spent in Europe studying and working. This European influence was apparent in the artwork of this time. Sculpture continued to be based on classical forms, most of it a direct reflection of French and Italian ideals. Because of technological breakthroughs, architecture was the art form that differed most dramatically from the past.

  5. Masters From the Late 1800’s A number of established American artists were still working in the early 1900s, including such luminaries as John Singer Sargent, Winslow Homer, and Thomas Eakins.

  6. Impressionism Across the Room, 1899Edmund Tarbell Paintings by American Impressionist such as Edmund Tarbell, Childe Hassam, Frank Benson, and John Twachtman did not differ much in appearance from those of their European mentors. They were fascinated with the depiction of light and the spontaneity of Impressionism.

  7. Impressionism Allies Day, May 1917Childe Hassam, 1917

  8. Impressionism Beautiful, but that of European influence. Sunlight, 1909By Frank Benson

  9. Ash Can Painters 1900 - 1920 The Eight or also known as the Ash Can Painters or (School) were made up of Arthur B. Davies, William Glackens, Robert Henri, Ernest Lawson, George Luks, Maurice Prendergast, Everett Shinn, and John Sloan. Their “homely” American subject matter and style in which they painted were not acceptable to the art critics and established art academies of the time and were soon dubbed the Ash Can painters. Why do you think they were called this name?

  10. Ash Can School Snow in New York (1902) by Robert Henri Robert Henri (1865-1929) opened an art school in NYC in 1909 at a time when immigrants were streaming into American cities. He and his friends painted realistic, straight-forward pictures of everyday life using deep colors and quick brush strokes. They mostly painted overcrowded trains, sad city streets, tenement scenes, and laborers at work and play.

  11. John Sloan, American, 1871-1951Sunday, Women Drying Their Hair, 1912. Ash Can School

  12. Ash Can School Photo of Isadora Duncan Isadora Duncan, 1911By John Sloan Isadora Duncan, often considered the creator of modern dance was born in the US but left at the age of 22 to live in western Europe and in Russia.

  13. The Green Car1910by William Glackens Ash Can School

  14. Ash Can School Central Park1908-1910By Maurice Prendergast

  15. Ash Can School Cliff Dwellers, 1913By George Bellows George Bellows was not an original member of the Group of Eight, but his work is associated with the Ash Can School, nevertheless.

  16. Stag at Sharkey’s, 1909By George Bellows Ash Can School

  17. As mentioned there was change happening in Architecture… 1909: Frederic C. Robie House The Frederic C. Robie House by Frank Lloyd Wright Robie House, Chicago, Illinois, USA

  18. 1911 - 1925: Taliesin Taliesin by Frank Lloyd Wright Taliesin, near Spring Green, Wisconsin USA

  19. 1917-1921: Hollyhock House (Barnsdall House) The Aline Barnsdall House by Frank Lloyd Wright The Aline Barnsdall House (Hollyhock House), 4800 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles, California,USA VIEW FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT GALLERY OF ARCHITECTURE: http://architecture.about.com/od/franklloydwright/ig/Frank-Lloyd-Wright

  20. 1935: Fallingwater by Frank Lloyd Wright Fallingwater, 1413 Mill Run Road, Mill Run, Pennsylvania, USA

  21. Sculpture in the Early 1900s This period was an expansion of the Beaux-Arts style in both architecture and sculpture, reflecting classical European training. Most of the well-known American sculptors were creating portrait busts, equestrian and war memorials, stone decorations, and allegorical pieces for public buildings. Opera de Garnier in Paris – Beaux-Arts style. A few modernists such as ElieNadelman and Alexander Archipenko were simplifying natural forms, eliminating unnecessary details, and stylizing pieces in sharp contrast to the work of the realist sculptors.

  22. Hostess, 1918Carved by ElieNadelman A few Modernists like ElieNadelman were simplifying natural forms, eliminating unnecessary details, and reacting against the romanticism of Auguste Rodin, the acknowledged master. Their smooth, stylized pieces were in sharp contrast to the realism of such artists as Daniel Chester French.

  23. Lincoln, 1922Sculpted by Daniel Chester French Yes, this is the Lincoln in the Lincoln Memorial, Washingtion D.C.

  24. End of the Trail, 1915By James Earle Fraser This sculpture won a gold medal at the Panama-Pacific Exposition. Fraser had planned to have it bronzed, but when WWI broke out the metal became scarce. Eventually, the sculpture was broken apart, but the citizens of Tulare, California rescued it and had it restored in 1919. It symbolizes the end of the Native American way of life due to efforts to move them onto reservations.

  25. Early American Photography • In the mid to late 1800s after photography hit the shores of America in 1838, photography took Americans by storm. Studios popped up everywhere. Americans were fascinated by this scientific invention and it became a hobby, as popular as bicycle riding, by the turn of the century. By that time, newspapers and magazines were replacing drawings with photos. The camera and the telegraph could now bring world events, reported and recorded by eyewitnesses, into the homes of subscribers. • Even though photography was in great demand, much of the mystery and novelty had worn away by the early 1900s. At that point, artists began experimenting with it.

  26. The Photo-Secessionists • Alfred Stieglitz (1864-1946), considered to be the father of American photography, with other photographers wanted to make photography a separate and respected art form. • He resigned from the Society of American Photographers in 1902 and started a magazine, Camera Work, and opened an art gallery with his friend, Edward Steichen. Together they formed a photographic society called the Photo-Secession. • There were 105 members and 20 of them were women. Some of the best known photographers in the group were Alvin Langdan Coburn, Frank Eugene, Gertrude Kasebier, and Clarence H. White.

  27. The Photo-Secessionists Social consciousness was not of interest to the members of the Photo-Secession. They photographed romanticized scenes of America. Commonplace street scenes, machines, and skyscrapers were photographed using romantic, atmosphere-packed light. Much experimentation took place. Soft-focus, underdevelopment, underexposure, and work on the plate by hand were all processes with which many Photo-Secessionists began to work. They began to work away from the stark black and white of early photographs and towards expressive abstraction.

  28. The Steerage, 1907 Alfred Stieglitz (American, 1864–1946)Photogravure on vellum Source: Alfred Stieglitz: The Steerage (33.43.419) | Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History | The Metropolitan Museum of Art

  29. A Landscape Clarence Hudson White (April 8, 1871 – July 7, 1925) was an Americanphotographer and a founding member of the Photo-Secession movement.

  30. - The Misses Ide in Samoa (c. 1908) Frank Eugene (1865-1936)

  31. Alfred Stieglitz & Gallery 291 The photographer, Alfred Stieglitz, like Robert Henri and the Eight, was opposed to the standards the National Academy of Design imposed on art at the beginning of the century. But his ideas of modern American art were much more advanced than Henri’s. In 1905, Stieglitz and his friend, the painter/photographer Edward Steichen opened a gallery in the attic of a brownstone at 291 Fifth Avenue in New York City which they officially called the Little Gallery of the Photo-Secession, more familiarly known as 291. - Excerpt from North American Art Since 1900, C.M.E.P. Turner, 1996, Cynthia Parzych Publishing, Inc., New York.

  32. Stieglitz Contributions Alfred Stieglitz had a rare knack for discovering talent… • He was first to show Cezanne’s watercolors, Rousseau’s paintings, Matisse’s sculptures, works by Toulouse-Lautrec and Pablo Picasso in America. • He gave American artists John Marin, Marden Hartley, Max Weber, Arthur G. Dove, Abraham Walkowitz, Oscar Bluemner, Eli Nadleman, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Stanton MacDonald-Wright their first exhibitions. • He also gave the first serious exhibitions to children and sculptures by black artists in America.

  33. Man of Vision… • With an exhibition in January 1908 of 58 watercolors by the French artist, August Rodin (1840-1917), Stieglitz became the first person to show work by a modern artist in America. • Many American artists and writers had moved to Paris in the early years of the new century in search of a place where they could express themselves freely. As many drifted back to New York, 291 provided the center in America for avant-garde art and ideas. • His support for artists in providing a place to discuss ideas was unwavering.

  34. But Little Known by the Public… • Stieglitz never received much support for his ideas. The audience for avant-garde art was small. This was mainly due to gallery 291 being more like a private club where he protected his ideas and his artists. • Stieglitz seemed to be more interested in joining artists for a serious fight for intellectual and creative freedom. He said he was “…trying to establish for myself an America in which I could breathe as a free man.” • Ironically, he was left out of preparations in 1912, by Robert Henri’s group and others, for an exhibition of modern art called the Amory Show.

  35. The Amory Show of 1913 • It was the Amory Show of 1913 that exposed the general public to the avant-garde art that Alfred Stieglitz promoted at 291. • It opened on February 17, 1913 at the armory of New York’s 69th Regiment. • About 1,600 works were exhibited. • American works were usually ignored! • It was work by European artists such as Pablo Picasso, Paul Gauguin, and Henri Matisse that were like nothing the Americans had ever seen. • Over 300,000 people viewed the show which opened in New York, traveled to Chicago, and finally closed in Boston.

  36. European Art Invasion! Art students in Chicago reportedly burned Matisse in effigy!!! Painting Title: Notre-Dame (A Glimpse of Notre Dame in the Late Afternoon) 1902 Oil on Paper - approx 72x54cmHenri Matisse

  37. Painting Title: Le bonheur de vivre (The Joy of Life) 1905-06 Oil on Canvas - approx 175x241cmHenri Matisse

  38. The Critics Speak!! • Some critics, strongly opposed to all of the art, used words like “epileptic” and “anarchistic” to describe the show. • The critic Kenyon Cox said, “If these painters represent our time, it means we are all going mad.” • A philosophy professor, Joel Spingarn, wrote in the February 25, 1913, edition of the Evening Post that “…the opening…seemed to me one of the most exciting adventures I have ever experienced…though it needs repeating in every generation….” • One artist told a reporter that the show made him want to live another fifty years.

  39. The Critics Speak!! • Some critics, strongly opposed to all of the art, used words like “epileptic” and “anarchistic” to describe the show. • The critic Kenyon Cox said, “If these painters represent our time, it means we are all going mad.” • A philosophy professor, Joel Spingarn, wrote in the February 25, 1913, edition of the Evening Post that “…the opening…seemed to me one of the most exciting adventures I have ever experienced…though it needs repeating in every generation….” • One artist told a reporter that the show made him want to live another fifty years.

  40. Star of the Show!!! This painting by Marcel Duchamp received much attention. Teddy Roosevelt compared it to a Navajo blanket. Many jokingly said it resembled an explosion in a shingle factory! Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2 By Marcel Duchamp – 1912 Philadelphia Museum of Art

  41. American Versus European Art Family Group by William Glackens 1910-1911 The Red Studio by Henri Matisse 1911

  42. American Versus European Art Although the slide of the previous artworks may not have seemed very convincing, the patterns and bright colors in William Glackens’ painting, Family Group, look very calm, quiet, and ordinary compared to Henri Matisse’s The Red Studio. Thus, was the general feeling of American art in the Amory Show of 1913 when compared to the art of the Europeans. Glackens’ painting stood more than six feet high no less, yet could not evoke the same intense feeling as Matisse’s painting. Glackens commented, “I am afraid that the American section will seem very tame beside the foreign section. He was right!

  43. Ellis Island Art! One third of the Amory Show works of art were foreign and these were mostly French, prompting one critic to describe the foreign works as “Ellis Island Art,” meaning it was full of foreign influences being brought to the United States by immigrants. The show, nonetheless, was successful for it educated the public about foreign art and opened the art market to include young Americans.

  44. American Modernism After 1913, influenced by European avant-garde and abstract art, some American artists began to experiment and to change the way they worked. Many artists such as Arthur Dasburg, Stuart Davies, Arthur C. Dove, Jacob Epstein, Walt Kuhn, Joseph Stella, and even some of the Eight (Ash Can), all realists before 1913, began to incorporate the styles of the Cubists, Fauves, Futurists, and others in their work. Many American experiments in modernism were bad imitations and not very successful. In the hands of American artists, Cubism, for instance, was a series of strong lines and sharp angles fixed on top of the surface of a realistic image. No attempt was made to understand the thinking behind the work of European Cubist artists like Picasso and Braque. - Excerpt from North American Art Since 1900, C.M.E.P. Turner, 1996, Cynthia Parzych Publishing, Inc., New York.

  45. American Modernism Perhaps Cubism was not successful because of the timing of its arrival in America. American artists had no tradition to look to, to understand what Cubist artists were thinking. The idea of making a painting without an image was also a new and shocking idea. The distance, about 3,000 miles, from the European continent, certainly did not help. American artists found themselves isolated in a cultural vacuum. The start of World War I in 1914 and U.S. entry into the war in 1917 made direct contact with European Cubists and other modernists almost impossible. - Excerpt from North American Art Since 1900, C.M.E.P. Turner, 1996, Cynthia Parzych Publishing, Inc., New York.

  46. American Modernism Successes… • The Synchromists • Worked with European models of color theory and made significant contributions of their own. • The Precisionists • Found successful way to merge European Cubism with American Realism. • They produced stylized and simplified images and organized their paintings to emphasize purity of line and composition. • Their work achieved a calm, solid grace in their work, an element missing from other contemporary American painting. • Some of the best work was by those who did not try to imitate the Europeans at all. The abstraction of their work seemed to come from an emotional response to their subject matter. (Arthur C. Dove, Marsden Hartley, John Marin, & Georgia O’Keefe).

  47. American Modernism Battle of Lights, Coney Island By Joseph Stella - 1914

  48. Pertaining to Yachts and Yachting - 1922 By Charles Sheeler (1883-1965) Sheeler disliked the way many American painters used fashionable abstract European painting as a model.

  49. Synchromy – 1914-15 By Morgan Russell Synchromist painting. It was based on theories about the way colors react when placed next to each other.

  50. Light of Iris - 1924 By Georgia O’Keefe Precisionist Painter

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