Leader: Wolfgang Gunter
Description: During a period of 150 years (1863 - 2013), art has undergone its most dramatic changes in history from Neo-Classical style to Stuckism and beyond. The purpose of this course is to describe and explain some of these exciting transformations in artistic styles. A major theme will be how changes in science and technology shaped these new directions.
In the mid-1800s, the pre-eminent style of painting is Neo-Classical--mainly portraits, battle scenes and historic events. The invention of photography and the steam engine change the landscape. Artists respond to this challenge, leading to Impressionism. Light and its changing quality, become important. This course will focus on one Impressionist in particular, Paul Cézanne, who was paid the ultimate compliment by Picasso: "Cézanne is the father of us all."
The course will take an excursion into the era of L'Art Nouveau (1890-1910).This transitional style between eclectic historic revival and 19th century Modernism is a "Total Style", embracing architecture, fine art, interior design, furniture, textiles, lighting, jewelry etc., "art one can live in".
The "Fauves" (Wild Beasts), an offshoot of Impressionism, opens the door for Cubism, driven by the collaboration of Picasso and Braque (1906 - 1914). They overcome the limitations of the two-dimensional canvas by creating multiple perspectives, simultaneous views of the front, back and side of objects. Picasso: "I paint objects as I think them, not as I see them."
However, artistic innovation has not stopped. The art world has seen a proliferation of artistic styles, in particular in the United States where many new styles, such as Abstract Expressionism, Pop Art, Op Art, Photorealism, Minimalism, Conceptual and Performance Art have evolved beyond the canvas and will be explored.
Biography: Wolfgang Gunter received his Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Cologne and during his 25-year career worked and lived in Europe, the US and Asia. His interests include art, diving, physics, cosmology and neuroscience.
Materials for course: A unique feature of the course is that a number of paintings used to illustrate the transformations in artistic style are high quality oil copies of masterpieces, with museum-style framing, from the course leader's personal collection.
Number of participants:
Location: Public Library for Union County - Large Meeting Room
Meeting time: Thursdays, February 27 through April 10, 2014, 1 - 3 p.m. (NO CLASS 3/13)
(Note: Each class is two hours long.)
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