Modern Art is all about personal experience. This makes it difficult to categorize, but we do it anyway, for convenience. I don’t think any of the artists would have cared for this, but it helps us to organize our thoughts, so we’ll put up with it. Just be aware that many of the works we’ll be seeing transcend any label.
Imagination could easily be substituted for the vulgar realities of things.
JK Huysman, Au Rebors
The end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth saw the rise of Symbolist Art. If you weren’t thrilled with smoking factories and the self satisfied middle class you found solace in the imagination. This art celebrated myths, dreams, fears (The Fatal Woman is a common theme) and beauty for its own sake. World War I dampened this dream world, but not entirely. Dreams and myths will always be themes in art because they are such a large part of our consciousness.
I believe neither in what I touch nor what I see. I only believe in what I do not see, and solely in what I feel.
My drawings inspire, and are not to be defined. They place us, as does music, in the ambiguous realm of the undetermined.
In my art I attempt to explain life and its meaning to myself.
I have never painted a self-portrait. I am less interested in myself as a subject for a painting than I am in other people, above all women…There is nothing special about me. I am a painter who paints day after day from morning to night…Who ever wants to know something about me… ought to look carefully at my pictures.
And Surprise! Look who tried his hand at Symbolist Art. He is the subject of our next lecture.