Skip to comments."The Great 20th Century Art Scam:
Posted on 06/29/2002 5:33:04 PM PDT by LadyDoc
For over 90 years, there has been a concerted and relentless effort to disparage, denigrate and obliterate the reputations, names, and brilliance of the academic artistic masters of the late 19th Century. Fueled by a cooperative press, the ruling powers have held the global art establishment in an iron grip.
Equally, there was a successful effort to remove from our institutions of higher learning all the methods, techniques and knowledge of how to train skilled artists.
Five centuries of critical data was nearly thrown into the trash. It is incredible how close Modernist theory, backed by an enormous network of powerful and influential art dealers, came to acquiring complete control over thousands of museums, university art departments and journalistic art criticism.
We at the Art Renewal Center have fully and fairly analyzed their theories and have found them wanting in every respect, devoid of substance and built on a labyrinth of easily disproved fallacies, suppositions and hypotheses. If, dear reader, you are not already one of their propaganda successes, I encourage you to read on.
Against all odds, and in the face of the worst kind of ridicule and personal and editorial assault, only a small handful of well-trained artists managed to stay true to their beliefs. Then, like the heroes who protected a few rare manuscripts during inquisitional book-burnings of the past, these 20th Century art world heroes managed to protect and preserve the core technical knowledge of western art. Somehow, they succeeded to train a few dozen determined disciples.
Today, many of those former students, have established their own schools or ateliers, and are currently training many hundreds more.
This movement is now expanding exponentially. They are regaining the traditions of the past, so that art may once again move forward on a solid footing. We are committed in every way possible to record, preserve and perpetuate this priceless knowledge.
We have painstakingly unraveled an understanding of how and why great traditional art nearly perished. For the sake of our children, our culture, and posterity, the Art Renewal Center is dedicated to traditional humanist art, which is essential to the health and welfare of mankind, and to a critical and truthful analysis of the modernist onslaught by which it was nearly consumed...
As you read, you will be seeing images of masterpieces by some of those artists whose names and art were so ruthlessly maligned: William Bouguereau, John William Waterhouse, Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, Leon L'hermitte, John William Godward, Edward Coley Burne-Jones, Jules Joseph Tissot, and Frederick Lord Leighton, amongst others. All giants in their lives, they were amongst history's greatest, yet prior to the last fifth of the twentieth century, virtually no mention or knowledge of their work was being taught, analyzed or exhibited anywhere...
Art, n. This word has no definition. Its origin is related as follows by the ingenious Father Gassalasca Jape, S.J.
One day a wagwhat would the wretch be at?
Shifted a letter of the cipher RAT,
And said it was a god's name! Straight arose
Fantastic priests and postulants (with shows,
And mysteries, and mummeries, and hymns,
And disputations dire that lamed their limbs)
To serve his temple and maintain the fires,
Expound the law, manipulate the wires.
Amazed, the populace that rites attend,
Believe whate'er they cannot comprehend,
And, inly edified to learn that two
Half-hairs joined so and so (as Art can do)
Have sweeter values and a grace more fit
Than Nature's hairs that never have been split,
Bring cates and wines for sacrificial feasts,
And sell their garments to support the priests.
He was highly offended when some of the public dismissed his magnum opus, referring to them as "cattle" for their lack of sophisticated art taste and appreciation.
This is a true story.
Especially in the medium of instrumental music, many of the great works aren't really "about" anything beyond themselves and the music expressed therein. What is Bach's Tocatta and Fugue in d minor about other than, well, d minor? And what is his Well Tempered Clavier about, other than a demonstration of how to write music to take advantage of the different intervals in a well-tempered scale? I rather like Chopin's Etudes, but am not aware of them being "about" anything in particular (though some of them sound like silent movie music, I don't think they were written for that purpose since the cinematograph had not yet been invented).
I always thought that she was still better than Van Gogh, who's only apparent claim to fame is that he killed himeslf...
In 100 years, will Van Gogh, Monet, Gaughin (sp?) be worth what a bunch of fairies says they were last week?
I enjoy art. I appreciate art. However, I think the underlined part is going a little overboard.
Maybe. It's already been more than 100 years since those guys worked and they're still greatly admired. Although contemporary with the Victorian painters, they predate the "moderne" period.
If they were all we had, people would be crying out for Matisse, Kandinsky, Mondrian and the rest of the moderns. Much of modern painting is vile or ugly or vapid. But just as there are other ways of decorating a room than heavy Victorian upholstery and other ways of building houses than Victorian gothic, so there are other ways of painting than ponderous Victorian realism. We would be much poorer without the impressionists, who took painting out into the open air, or Matisse, who brought the spirit of the Mediterranean into his work.
I look forward to your reply.
Art changes, it swirls, but it reflects its time. It even peers into the future a bit.
Compare this with the Sistine Chapel, and it's sheer skill, scale, and ability to render a stylized world, or Escher's renditions of carefully drafted confusion, and then let's talk about marching in lockstep to the French Impressionists. Question authority. Just who says they were any good?
We are talking here about the direct ancestors of the guy who urinates on a white painted floor and calls it an artistic expression of modern Capitalism, and watches a bunch of idly rich Euro-trash swoon and whip themselves into a sexual frenzy over the 'meaning'.
Sorry, I'll take Wythe and Norman Rockwell...
The writers on the ARC web site don't particularly seem to like Impressionism, but nonetheless seem to deem it worthy of respect, in start contrast to much of the "modern art" which they rightly regard with utter scorn.
I do think that they are overly critical of a lot of twentieth-century art; while some of it is truly worthy of scorn (e.g. rigging a room to randomly switch lights on and off) some of it is nonetheless interesting. WIth the era of photography and mass-produced prints, there is generally much less focus on the technical aspects of production and more on subject matter and composition.
At right, btw, is a picture of a Department 56 Snow Village (plus a few miscellaneous items) layout I set up. As a photographic composition it's pretty good, though by no means perfect. The flagpole in the center is a little harsh, but a rule of thirds composition doesn't really work without blocking either the moviegoers or the trolley. Still, I think it beats the pants off some Turner Prize winners.
I have never seen the intense greens of Degas'The Dance Class. The sleeve on the painting of "A Roman Lady" looks like you can reach out and feel the silk.
These artists are supurb!
Interesting. They appear to have assimilated the very characteristics of the institutions they despise.
I agree. I love Southwestern art myself.
Speaking of Monet, I had a bizarre experience a couple of years ago. My wife prevailed on me to take her to a special Monet exhibit at the Museum of Fine Art in Boston, since she won't drive or take the T into Boston alone. The entire exhibit was permeated by a regilious atmosphere, surpassing anything I've experienced in any house of worship. I have learned to behave in these situations.
The pièce de résistance though had to be an entire large room given over to water lilies. There were scores of identically sized paintings of the exact same water lilies, differing in tint, hue and saturation. The outlines in all the paintings was identical. None was particularly moving, beautiful or clever. I couldn't help being overcome by the thought "This guy was a total hack."
Monet suffered from poor eyesight in his later years. His disciples remind me of the old saying about the Puritans, "They mistake the rumblings of their bowels for the voice of God." In this case they mistake an old man's nearsightedness for the hand of genius.
Maria Vos Savant speaks for me when she says that in 500 years the most remembered contemporary artist will be Norman Rockwell. I always felt that the world of art faced a crisis with the invention of the camera. The best craftsman could not match its unerring accuracy. But as Rockwell reminded us, the eye of the artist could invent the telling details that the camera never saw.
Yes, painting can do alot that the camera cannot. Representational (realistic) painting throughout history has always been strongly interpretive, though. Otherwise, paintings by different artists would look pretty much alike, and they don't and never have.
I really enjoy and admire the impressionists, though, I do not at all put them in the same category with some of the 20th century "hacks," to borrow your word. I think they will stand the test of time. I do agree with most here that much of modern art is self conscious, self important, and (mainly) not really art.
IMHO, an important purpose of art (painting) is to evoke a feeling. If the painting is, for instance, of a landscape, it should evoke something of the feeling of that landscape, as Homer's do. The same goes for aviation, military, portrait, etc.
These art posts are getting to be one of my favorite parts of FR.
"Art changes", well, yes and no. The ways and means of "art" in history have evolved with the tastes of the patron. To take the polish off it up until the late 19th century artists were essentially "caftsmen" who, subject to the open market, created those objects d'arte that would appeal to the potential buys. Far and away those patrons were aristrocrats and/ or those aspiring to patina of aristrostcracy.
Then came the Industrial Revolution complete with the upper class scorn of "crass millonaires". Snobbery, in the worse sense of the word, came into being; b/c there was no way the aristo. could compete with the indstrialist when it came to money and posession.
The snooty attitude of "ar-teests" is merely a spin off of this contempt: You know, "Well, anybody who is anybody knows that this is a work of art. You DO agree don't you?"