What I’m reading this week – March 20th edition

Modern: Genius, Madness, and One Tumultuous Decade That Changed Art Forever. ISBN: 9781615198672

I am really enjoying this book. The genesis was my exploration of art at the close of the long war in 1945, the parallels with this earlier age are quite stunning. I am reading now about how form and representation were on the top of the minds of artists in the wake of the colourful les fauves movement and how this quest for form in the early period from 1890-1910 takes a “perspectival” turn with cubism. Many of these early thoughts by Braque seem to be top of mind for Guston in the late 1960s as he “returns to form” with his Marlborough show. As many of you know, I put “return to form” in quotation marks since I do not see this as fundamental as many of his contemporaries did.

In Modern, art dealer and auctioneer Philip Hook takes readers through the most exciting, frenzied, and revolutionary decade in art history—1905 to the dawn of World War I in 1914—and the avant-garde artists who indelibly changed our visual landscape. Through vivid accounts and expert guidance, Hook illuminates how these new works of art came to be and how shocking they were, exploring the various movements of Fauvism, Expressionism, Primitivism, Symbolism, Cubism, Futurism, and Abstract art that burst forth in dizzying succession. Through interviews, anecdotes, and insight into the lives of Picasso, Matisse, Modigliani, Kandinsky, Malevich, Klimt, Schiele, Munch, and nearly two hundred other artists, Hook reconsiders the decade from a series of fresh angles, providing a unique and captivating look at the birth of modernism. Those interested in art history, art collecting, and the lives of artists will not be able to put this down.