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20th Century Art: A History of Modernism Engineering Program Spring 2025 Semester - Paris

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20th Century Art: A History of Modernism

20th Century Art: A History of Modernism Course Overview


CEA CAPA Partner Institution: CEA CAPA Paris Center
Location: Paris, France
Primary Subject Area: Art History
Instruction in: English
Course Code: ARH330
Transcript Source: University of New Haven
Course Details: Level 300
Recommended Semester Credits: 3
Contact Hours: 45
Prerequisites: None. One survey course in Western Art is recommended.


In this course, you will be engaged in an in-depth analysis and pictorial survey of 20th century artistic expression, one of the most diverse, politically contentious and maddening periods in the history of art. To this end, you will first seek out the origins of Modernism by looking at the late 19th and nearly 20th century artistic efforts (from Courbet, Manet and the Symbolists to the modernist works of the Cubists, Fauves and Futurists) to come to terms with the mechanized, urbanized and politically charged mood of fin-de-siècle industrial society in Europe. From here, and in the company of the Dadaists, Surrealists, cultural dissenters and abstract artists, you will trace the impact on artistic expression of the shattering experience of the Great War, of social revolution in Russia, Germany and later Spain, of interwar economic decline and cultural decadence, of the rise of European Fascism, and of the experience of Total War and barbarism in World War II. You will then follow the evolution of post-war art, through the works of Art Brut creators and New Realists, as part of the social commentary over the ideological struggles of Cold War polarization, mass consumerism, technological change, and social fragmentation in the latter decades of that most violent of centuries.

From inside the art world of painters and sculptors, you will also follow the evolution of the many aesthetic ideas, theories and compositional techniques of Modernist artists as well as how their work was critiqued & contested by critics, professional & public alike.

Throughout this exploration, you will always be seeking to understand the impact Modernism has had, both as a reflection of and a commentary upon, contemporary Man, his mind, soul, and troubled society. And to measure and evaluate the impressive legacy of Modernism, you will explore many of the world's most prestigious museums of modern art in Paris where you will study the original masterpieces and contemplate many of the great and controversial works of modernist creators such as Matisse, Breton, Braque, Picasso, Dali, Kandinsky, Duchamp, Klein, Dubuffet, Kandinsky, Miro, Klee, Mondrian, Magritte, Ernst and César.

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