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Documents of the 1913 Armory Show: The Electrifying Moment of Modern Art's American Debut [Kindle Edition]

Kenyon Cox , Arthur B. Davies , Elie Faure , Paul Gauguin , Frederick James Gregg , Jr. Frank Jewett Mather , Walter Pach , Francis Picabia , Theodore Roosevelt , Vincent van Gogh , Walt Kuhn , Élie Faure , Frank Jewett Mather
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Book Description

Collected here are the original publications from one of the most important exhibitions in the history of American art--the 1913 Armory Show. Opening on February 17, 1913, in New York and traveling to Chicago and Boston, the Armory Show was meant to be a simple exhibition of the new abstract and cubist art coming out of Europe. What it ultimately became was a sprawling showcase of some of the most ground-breaking (and many said subversive) art America had ever seen. Sensational to crowds, controversial among critics, and inspirational for artists, the Armory Show radically changed the face of art in America. This volume collects the complete text of "For and Against: Views on the Infamous 1913 Armory Show" and "The New Spirit: Pamphlets from the Infamous 1913 Armory Show". Here you'll find excerpts from Paul Gauguin's provocative Tahitian journal, Elie Faure's enthralling essay on Cezanne, a range of impassioned views both for and against the "new" art, and president Theodore Roosevelt's famous essay, "A Layman's Views of an Art Exhibition". Long out of print, these writings (which were first published in pamphlets and sold at the exhibition itself) reintroduce readers to artists and ideas as powerful today as they were nearly a century ago.

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Kenyon Cox (1856-1919) was an American painter, writer and teacher. His work is held in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Gallery of Art, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum. He is the author of several books--including "Old Masters and New" and "Concerning Painting: Considerations Theoretical and Historical"--and criticism appearing in The Nation, Century and Scribner's magazines.

Arthur B. Davies (1863-1928) was an American artist, with works in the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. He also served as President for the Association for American Painters and Sculptors, overseeing the International Exhibition of Modern Art (The Armory Show) in 1913.

Élie Faure (1873-1937) was a French art historian. Originally trained as a surgeon, Faure was a self-taught art historian and a popular author. His "Histoire de l'art" (first translated by Walter Pach) was a critical and popular hit, and one of the first histories of art to look at art’s place in, and relation to, civilization more broadly. Faure’s other writings include, works on André Derain and Chaim Soutine.

Paul Gauguin (1848-1903) was a French painter, though starting with four years spent in Peru when he was a child, and a stint in the marines as a young man, Gauguin traveled throughout his life. In his painting and with the publication of his journal, "Noa-Noa", it was his travel to Tahiti that remains his best known influence. Though originally employed as a stockbroker, Gauguin's work now resides in the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Art Institute of Chicago and other museums around the world.

Frederick James Gregg (d. 1928) was a writer and art critic for the New York Evening Sun. Friendly with artists in the Ashcan School, which included John Sloan and Arthur B. Davies, Gregg later acted as the public relations director for the Association of American Painters and Sculptors and the 1913 Armory Show.

Walt Kuhn (1877-1949) was an American painter and illustrator, born in Brooklyn, and one of the principle organizers of the 1913 Armory Show. Active in several artist clubs, he was also an instructor at the Art Students League of New York. Though perhaps best remembered for his critical role in the Armory Show, Kuhn's art can be found in the collections of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the National Gallery of Art, and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

Frank Jewett Mather, Jr. (1868-1953) was an American art critic and professor. He was a frequent contributor to New York's Evening Post, The Nation, and Burlington Magazine. His books include "Art in America", "Estimates in Art", and "Concerning Beauty". He was a professor at Williams College and Princeton University. The College Art Association honors Mather with an annual award in his name, given to a writer for distinguished art criticism.

Walter Pach (1883-1958) was an artist, art critic and historian and author. A translator and influential adviser on European modern art, Pach helped organize exhibitions and artist groups, as well as purchase work for both private and public collections. His many publications include "The Masters of Modern Art", a translation of "The Journals of Eugene Delacroix", "Queer Thing, Painting: Forty Years in the World of Art", "An Hour of Art and Ananias, or The False Artist".

Francis Picabia (1879-1953) was a French artist and poet associated with the early Cubist, Dada and Surrealist movements. His art works appear in the collections of The Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Modern Art and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. A volume of his writing was recently published by MIT Press: "I Am a Beautiful Monster: Poetry, Prose, and Provocation".

Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919) was President of the United States of America from 1901-1909. During his administration he tightened industrial regulations, increased federal focus on conservation, and expanded America's global presence militarily and diplomatically. Though Roosevelt remains known as a soldier and an explorer, he was also an editor for The Outlook magazine (following his presidency) and the author of more than a dozen books on the military, the environment, and the American West.

Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890) was a Dutch Post-Impressionist painter, now represented in nearly every major collection of modern art throughout the world, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Hermitage Museum, the Musée d'Orsay and the Rijksmuseum. Van Gogh also wrote prolifically, especially to his brother Theodore, and today, those letters remain an important body of work in the history of art.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

The Exhibition of International Art (February 17 to March 15) was planned to introduce to this public the works of a number of foreign artists, who, though they are well known in Europe, are for the most part but names to New York and America. The method adopted, however, was not to throw our "extreme" contemporaries at the heads of the public, but to show, by a process of selection, from what they had developed. So Ingres was taken as the starting point, the line continuing with Delacroix, Courbet, Corot, Daumier, Puvis de Chavannes, Degas, Renoir, Monet, Sisley, Pissarro, and so down to Cézanne, Gauguin, Van Gogh, Matisse, Picasso, and the "Cubists."

Until the present occasion the most that Americans knew, in America, of the "movement" abroad, outside some few examples shown at certain small exhibitions here, were the works of certain young men who had gone to France and become immediately and deliberately, perhaps, sensitive to their new environment. Many of them were but weak imitators. It seems that is was the extravagance of the new foreign painters and sculptors that affected them, and of that extravagance they were the Feeble reflectors, all the strength of the originals having evaporated in the process.

The result was the natural one, the public looked on the productions of these disciples as a joke, and could not be convinced that it had any real or valid reason for its existence. The Association, in bringing over the work of the men so eagerly imitated wished to allow Americans to see among other things the difference between the substance and the shadow, between what had set a fashion unwittingly and what was merely fashionable. In the case of those who are now really influential there can be no difficulty about comparing a man's early with his later work. It will be found, on comparison that the change is the result of a certain logical development. Each step has been in a definite direction and follows the one before. It was not a case of "going somebody one better," or intended to cause surprise or even astonishment. If there was an explanation offered, though it might not explain, at any rate it gave people to think about.

(from "Letting in the Light", by Frederick James Gregg)

Product Details

  • File Size: 508 KB
  • Print Length: 196 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0982325703
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Hol Art Books (September 13, 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0034KZ1A2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,082,046 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating information about the 1913 Armory Show March 24, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
As an artist, I'd read mentions of the Armory Show many times but didn't know what it was. To give a program about it for an art club, I researched the show via this book as well as many other resources. The book offered commentary written at the time of the show, giving an immediacy to the information. It included harsh criticism of the "modern" art, calling it outrageous and ugly - something we find amusing now because so many of the artists that displayed work in 1913 have been recognized now as masters - such as Monet, Picasso and Van Gogh.
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