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By Albert Boime

Among postimpressionist painters, Van Gogh, Seurat, Cézanne, and Gauguin produced a notable physique of labor that replied to a cultural and non secular problem within the avant-garde world—influences that driven them towards an expanding reliance on technological know-how, literature, and occultism. In Revelation of Modernism, renowned paintings historian Albert Boime reappraises particular works via those masters from a point of view extra appreciative of the contributors’ internal conflicts, delivering the paintings international a brand new figuring out of a interval fraught with apocalyptic fears and existential anxieties.

Building at the seminal observations of Sven Lövgren from a half-century in the past, Boime rejects renowned notions of “art for art’s sake” and rethinks a whole circulate to signify that historical past, instead of expressive urge, is the motive force that shapes paintings. He reconsiders regular masterpieces from a clean viewpoint, situating the artwork within the contexts of historical past either actual and speculative, of latest philosophy, and of technological know-how to depict modernism as a improvement that eventually failed.

Boime expands on what we expect we all know approximately those figures and produces startling new revelations approximately their paintings. From the political heritage of Seurat’s Parade de cirque to the astronomical foundations of Van Gogh’s Starry Night, he attracts analogies among literary assets and social, own, and political ideas that experience eluded so much artwork historians. He bargains a richer and extra complicated imaginative and prescient of Cézanne, contemplating the artist as an previous testomony determine looking for the Promised panorama. And he offers a very specified examine Gauguin—on whom Boime hasn't ever formerly published—that takes a more in-depth examine the artist’s The imaginative and prescient after the Sermon and its allusions to Eliphas Lévi’s writings, sheds gentle at the assets for From whence will we come? and deals new strategies approximately Gauguin’s numerous self-portraits.

Boime’s most up-to-date contribution extra testifies to his prestige as one in every of our most vital residing artwork historians. As wonderful because it is eloquent, Revelation of Modernism is a daring and groundbreaking paintings that are meant to be required examining for all who desire to comprehend the contradictory origins and improvement of modernism and its function in history.

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