This catalogue of the major exhibition at the Palazzo Grassi in Venice presents a groundbreaking interpretatioin of the birth of modern art. Serge Lemoine, curator of the exhibition and director of the Musée d'Orsay, proposes that "modern art does not descend, as is commonly thought, from Manet and Impressionism, but from . . . the French painter Pierre Puvis de Chavannes (1824-1898)." The author of monumental mural decorations in such civic buildings as the museums of Amiens, Lyons, Rouen, the Panthéon and the Sorbonne, Puvis de Chavannes had a remarkable influence on his contemporaries in France and abroad, including Seurat, Gauguin and Cézanne, as well as on later generations of artists. Equally indebted to Puvis de Chavannes are the great European symbolist painters, from Munch to Hodler. However, perhaps his most prestigious modern acolytes were Picasso and Matisse, who remained loyal to him all their lives.
This volume features detailed scholarly contributions analyzing Puvis de Chavannes's work and all his affiliations, as well as offering rich critical and documentary data on his numerous and notable disciples. Accompanied by over five hundred illustrations, this volume is a superb evocation of a period of great artistic ferment and outstanding creativity.
A landmark study, Toward Modern Art makes the bold argument that modern art does not descend, as is commonly described, from Manet and Impressionism, but rather from the unlikely figure of French painter Pierre Puvis de Chavannes (1824-1898). This gorgeously illustrated volume with over 500 full color illustrations, was organized by Serge Lemoine, director of Musée d'Orsay in Paris, and includes over 15 essays by distinguished writers. Lemoine's side-by-side comparisons and expert commentary bear witness to his groundbreaking thesis.