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Modern Art - Cubism

John Sloan Ridiculed Cubism (The Masses, 1913)

Although realist painter John Sloan (1871 1951) was one of the fortunate American painters to also be included in the 1913 Armory Show (he was also on the organizing committee), it did not mean that he was above ridiculing the European modernists who were enjoying the same prestige that he was.

To read an anti-Picasso review from that same period, click here.


Salon d'Automne, Paris (NY Times, 1911)

"Among all the paintings on exhibition at the Paris Fall Salon, none is attracting so much attention as the extraordinary productions of the so-called 'Cubist' school. In fact, dispatches from Paris suggest that these works are easily the main feature of the exhibition."


The Lampooning of Picasso (Literary Digest, 1913)

"A child could do that" has been one of the most common utterances in response to the avant-garde movements of modern art. This short article reflects that view and was written in response to the New York Armory Show, which at that time, was attracting a good deal of attention in the press. The Armory Show is well-remembered today as the first art exhibition to introduce European-style modernism to the people (and artists) of that city. Pablo Picasso (1881 - 1973), as the co-creator of Cubism, is among those lampooned, as is Marcel Duchamp (1887 - 1968) for his painting, A Nude Descending the Staircase.

Another Picasso article can be read here...


The Rise and Fall of Cubism (Vanity fair, 1923)

Numerous deep thoughts on the subject of Cubism by a prominent art critic of the time, Clive Bell (1881 1964):

"But, though in two or three years' time Cubism may have disappeared, its influence should endure for a generation at least. The service it has rendered art is inestimable. Without it the liberating impulse given by Cezanne had been incomplete. Cezanne freed artistic sensibility from a hampering and outworn convention; Cubism imposed on it an intelligent and reasonable discipline. If a generation of free artists is now turning spontaneously towards the great tradition, it was through Cubism that it came at Ingres and Poussin."


Cubism: A Degenerate Work of Art (The Art World, 1917)

The attached art review is a classic piece of anti-modernist criticism:

"The intellectual degeneracy of the modernistic movement of to-day can easily be traced back to the moral degeneracy of the Second Empire, created by the Mephistophic traitor and despot Napoleon III..."



Academy of Misapplied Art Assailed Cubism (NY Times, 1913)

Once upon a time there was a short-lived organization in New York City created to lampoon works of art hailed by the critics as worthy creations. They called themselves The Academy of Misapplied Art and they held their exhibits in the lobby of the Light House for the Blind. Attached herein is the N.Y. Times review of their 1913 exhibit intended to make light of the European Cubists.


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