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Figurative Avant-Garde after 1945

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Revision of some figurative movements and authors after WWII. There are references to Hopper, Balthus, Rivera, Antonio Lopez, Lucien Freud and Botero.

Revision of some figurative movements and authors after WWII. There are references to Hopper, Balthus, Rivera, Antonio Lopez, Lucien Freud and Botero.


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  • 1. Figurative Avant-Garde after 1945 Revision
  • 2. First Movements
    • In an exhibition hold in 1925 two different movements appeared:
      • New Objectivity and
      • Magic Realism
    • Their common characteristic is the representation of domestic indoors or scenes of every day life expressed in an unreal dimension.
  • 3. New Objectivity
    • Influences:
      • They trend to imitate ancient German models but they depicted people and things with a cold and striking precision.
      • They tried to take some elements of the expressionist, depicting greed, lust, rage, brutality, spinelessness and cowardice, this is, what they understood as the portrait of a person
  • 4. New Objectivity
    • Authors belonging to this movement are:
      • Max Beckman,
      • Otto Dix,
      • George Grosz,
      • Edward Hopper or
      • Balthus.
    • Beckman, Dix and Grosz are more linked to the German expressionism, while the others created very personal works
  • 5. New Objectivity
    • Edward Hopper:
    • He painted a urban world, full of silence, in an space unreal and metaphysical that created in the spectator an impression of the subject being far from them.
    • His compositions are geometrical, with sophisticated lights, always cold and artificial, and with simplified details.
    • The scene is always almost desert, with few images what underlines the impression of loneliness.
  • 6. Hopper
  • 7. New Objectivity
    • Balthus:
    • His images create a cold and sombre atmosphere.
    • He was influenced by the realists and his portraits show a gesture of great reflection and concentration.
    • He frequently depicted familiar scenes or images in which very young girl are presents.
    • These girls were considered to be the only pure characters but there is something provocative in them.
    • With the time he evolved to a more simple depiction.
  • 8. Balthus
  • 9. Magic Realism
    • It has two different aspects:
      • the social and
      • the socialist realism.
    • By Social Realism we understand art works which chronicle the everyday conditions of the working classes and are critical of the social environment that causes these conditions.
    • This style was broadly accepted during the years following the 1929 crisis in the USA.
    • Among the representatives of this group are the muralists:
      • Jose Clemente Orozco and
      • Diego Rivera.
  • 10. Magic Realism
    • In Paris, after the end of WWII many artists of left-wing focused on depicting the dramatic conditions of the working-class lives, their social plight, but workers, builders, men and women, capable of building a better world.
    • Some members of this group were Picasso, Leger, Buffet and Gruber.
    • Social Realism is not very different from Socialist Realism.
    • The main difference relies on the fact that Socialist Realism tends to advertise revolution and it is linked to the adherence to party doctrine
  • 11. Magic Realism
    • Diego Rivera:
    • He was reputed as a muralist
    • In his works there are two main subjects:
      • Revolution related
      • Mexican scenes
    • His scenes are easy to understand and the colours are light and well limited by drawing.
  • 12. Rivera
  • 13. Hyper-Realism
    • Hyper Realism is other trend of the same period.
    • It has a good representative in the Spanish Antonio Lopez, with urban views that may appear as photography given the accuracy to the model.
    • The important is to depict the things as they are perceived because their beauty lay on the accuracy to the model.
    • The images are a bit unrealistic due to the lack of living elements of them
    • It seems that aerial perspective is well capsized.
  • 14. Antonio López
  • 15. Other Authors
    • There are several authors with different and personal ways of depicting reality in a realistic way.
    • Two very different examples are:
      • Lucien Freud
      • Fernando Botero
  • 16. Other Authors
    • Lucien Freud:
    • Portraits and nudes are his specialities, often observed in arresting close-up.
    • His early work was meticulously painted, so he has sometimes been described as a `Realist' (or rather absurdly as a Superrealist).
    • The subjectivity and intensity of his work has always set him apart from the sober tradition characteristic of most British figurative art since the Second World War.
    • In his later work (from the late 1950s) his handling became much broader.
  • 17. Freud
  • 18. Other Authors
    • Fernando Botero:
    • Monumentality, humour, irony and naivety are combined in his conscious and talented work
    • He received influences of the Muralists and the Surrealists
    • His main subjects are:
      • Art History
      • Bourgeoisie life
      • Colombian History
      • Historical characters
    • He works as an sculptor too, having the same characteristics.
  • 19. Botero