Chapter 20 Between the Two World Wars

  • WWI brought to an end a long period of virtually uninterrupted progress and prosperity in Europe
  • It cut short the outburst of creative genius that had taken place in the late 19th century and early 20th century
  • Fine art and works of art in the 1920’s and 30’s were less adventurous and innovative than before
  • Paris was the capital of Western art during the inter-war years
  • Dadaism was launched in Zurich – the cafes and cabarets of Zurich teemed with revolutionary exiles who lived there to avoid the war and also to protest against the society that had unleashed it
  • Dada was a state of min rather than an art movement, anarchist and disruptive they mocked the established values of good taste
  • Marcel Duchamp was probably the most stimulating intellectual artist in the early 20th century – he was ironic, witty and a born anarchist who caused a scandal with his ready-made everyday objects that he converted in to works of art by the simple act of choosing them
  • Diego Rivera the Mexican artist saw himself as the artist who was destined to unite the indigenous arts of Pre-columbia with the arts of the new post-colonial Mexico – his most successful works are the gigantic murals he painted 1923-28 round one of the patios at the Ministry of Public Education in Mexico City
  • Surrealism lacked Dada’s anarchic spontaneity
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