Modern: Genius, Madness, and One Tumultuous Decade That Changed Art Forever

The Experiment. Apr. 2022. 384p. ISBN 9781615198672. $35. FINE ARTS
Art dealer and auctioneer Hook (Popular Nineteenth Century Painting) delves into modern art and its explosion onto the scene. It began at the turn of the 20th century, when new movements such as fauvism, expressionism, symbolism, abstraction, and more sprang up. As the pace of life quickened, avant-garde artists rose to the occasion. They were happy to shock people with their “selfish art,” created more to please themselves rather than society. Hook describes each movement and follows the flow of modern art from Paris outward. Gauguin, Cézanne, and Van Gogh, who did most of his work in France, were the forerunners of this new movement. Everything that happened in France rippled outward to inspire artists like Klimt, Munch, and Modigliani, among many others. Not all major cities were receptive to this change. We also learn that this selfish art was not without consequence. Following your instinct above all else rarely ends well. Unfortunately, this decade was brought to an abrupt end with the start of World War I, when attention shifted and many artists were the perfect age to be drafted. Even with this sad end it is impossible to imagine art as we know it without this great influence.
VERDICT Those interested in art history, art collecting, and the lives of artists will not be able to put this down.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing