Modernism versus Traditionalism

Art in Paris, 1888-1889

By Gretchen K. McKay, Nicolas W. Proctor, Michael A. Marlais

58 pp., 8 x 10, 2 color plates, appends., bibl

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-4126-3
    Published: March 2018
  • eBook ISBN: 978-1-4696-4127-0
    Published: March 2018

Reacting to the Past

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Modernism vs. Traditionalism: Art in Paris 1888-1889 considers questions surrounding artistic developments at the end of the nineteenth century in Paris. Students will debate principles of artistic design in the context of the revolutionary changes that began shaking the French art world in 1888-1889. Images from the 1888 Salon and the tumultuous year that followed provide some of the “texts” that form the intellectual heart of every reacting game. Styles include conservative art espoused by the Academy, as well as more avant-garde art created by artists such as Van Gogh and Gauguin. Also included are the Impressionists and American artists in Paris. Students must read paintings as texts and use them as the basis of their positions in advocating for the future of art. In addition to these visual texts, students will read art criticism from the period, which will help form the basis of their own presentations in favor of one art style over another. These discussions are complicated and enriched by secondary debates over the economics of art, the rise of independent art dealers, and the government’s role as a patron of the arts. The game culminates at the 1889 World Exposition in Paris.

About the Authors

Gretchen K. McKay is professor of art history and chair of the Department of Art and Art History at McDaniel College. A speaker on active learning in higher education, she was the recipient of the 2015 Ira G. Zepp Distinguished Teaching Award.
For more information about Gretchen K. McKay, visit the Author Page.

Nicolas W. Proctor is a professor of history at Simpson College. He is author of two reacting books: Kentucky, 1861: Loyalty, State, and Nation with co-author Margaret Storey and Forest Diplomacy: War, Peace, and Land on the Colonial Frontier, 1756-1757.
For more information about Nicolas W. Proctor, visit the Author Page.

Michael A. Marlais is an emeritus professor of art history at Colby College. He is a specialist in late nineteenth-century French art criticism and author of Conservative Echoes in Fin-De-Siècle Parisian Art Criticism.
For more information about Michael A. Marlais, visit the Author Page.