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The age of Modernism is from 1863 - 1963. In modernism the artist rejected the traditional forms of expression and created a knew one. this meant that they were no longer looking and using the long standing European ways though. The new work produced in that era was modern. This new way of thought included streamlined, neat and forward looking design. Another aspect of the modern way was that some artist made emotional and very expressive paintings where the brushstrokes were visible and had the same importance in the work as the subject or people would.
This was unheard of wrong in the traditional school of thought. One final aspect of modernism was that at the moment the artist rejected the European influences, they embraced non-western traditions and embraced like native-American, African, Asian and Islam. Modernism became a multifaceted new form of expression influenced by the non-western. There are many examples that show the essence of modernism. Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe designed the Friedrichstrasse Office Building (1921). This is a good example of design that showcases the basics, it is neat and clean.
The office building has no decorations, or huge columns, it only contains that office building needs in order to be a building. Constantine Brancusis Bird in space cast (1928), is another excellent example of reduced and pure spirit design. We have to notice that the title for this piece is Bird in space and that the sculpture looks like its going to fly straight up like a bird. It looks like, at the spot where its thinnest near the base, its going to break and fly off. Finally, it has a to an extent the narrow, wide, then narrow, aerodynamic shape of a bird. This observations are possible only because Brancusi created an amazing reduced representation of a bird in space.
Picasso's Les Demoiselles d Avignon is great modernism because it is influenced by non-western traditions and is also expressive and distorted, the space is not traditional either. The two young ladies at the right have African masks on. The two ladies in the center seem to be posing as if asking the view to come forward and approach them, they are almost selling themselves, and that is a vulgar subject that traditional westerners would never use. There is no vanishing point in the space, instead Picasso has rejected the old spatial composition. Now the space is pushing the young ladies further out towards us.
The space is now expressive and is changed accordingly, it is not rigid and true to life as it used to be traditionally. Modernism is expressive, sometimes emotional, many time neat and pure spirited, and from 1863 to 1963 many wonderful works were created. But out of these Picasso's paintings, Mies architectural design, and Brancusis sculptures are among the best in illustrating the essence of modernism. The Definition of Post-Impressionism written in Bonnard's exhibition at the MOMA states that it is... a term applied to different tendencies in painting in the 1880 s and 1890 s, and that it retains an interest in light but moves away from the naturalism of impressionism toward a more subjective treatment of color and pictorial space. Bonnard does exactly this in his paintings, which are full of unusual spaces, and objects emphasized or not, using light, to achieve a certain subjective representation.
This is very apparent in Caf Au Petit Pocket (1928). As one sees this painting one is puzzled by the inconsistency in space in the left side of the painting compared to the right side. The left side of the caf has the viewer at a higher angle of sight, while when we look at the right side of the painting, which is partitioned from the left by a piece of wood, we notice that our angle of sight is straight ahead. Our eyes move back and force trying to figure out what is actually happening in the painting, and then we finally realize that what we are looking at is a painting of a reflection.
The right portion of the painting is a reflection. Bonnard has made a conscientious choice to leave out the logical clues that would immediately tell us that what we where looking at was a reflection. He gave us a more subjective representation of the cafe he painted. Another good example of a Post-Impressionist painting made by him was After the meal (1925). Here he puts most of the light on the woman and the table making them a single figure, he does this because he wants to emphasize her union with the task she is performing at the table.
By doing this all the other space besides her and the table becomes a separate flat figure which gets less of our attention. Everything else has less priority and that is why it takes a while for the viewer to notice that there is someone else in the painting, the woman in the doorway. Bonnard is Post-Impressionist because he includes in his painting Post-Impressionist principles of space and light. Bibliography:
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