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ARTH 436 Modern Art and the Experience of Modernity, 1880s-1950s

The major movements in modern art in the context of the political and social events

Getting Started: Grove Art Online

For background information, start with an exhaustive reference work such as  Grove Art Online    Oxford Art Online also includes the Encyclopedia of Aesthetics and The Oxford Companion to Western Art.

Bibliographies located in books or at the end of journal articles can be very helpful.  To learn if Pepperdine has access to a particular journal, search for the name of the journal in the library catalog, or use the 'Find E-journals' search feature on the Library's Web site.

Useful Subject Headings for Modern Art

Artistic collaboration

Art, Modern
Arts, Modern--19th century
Arts, Modern--20th century

Art and photography

Art and motion pictures

Avant-garde (aesthetics)

Criticism--History--19th century
Criticism--History--20th century

Design--History--19th century
Design--History--20th century

Feminism and art

Modernism (aesthetics)
Modernism (art)
Modern Movement (architecture)

Painting, French--19th century
Painting, French--20th century

Women in art

Art History Databases

Getting Started with Multidisciplinary Databases

ARTstor Images for Your Presentations

Woman with Coffeepot
Paul Cézanne. 1890 - 1894. Woman with Coffeepot. Place: Musée d'Orsay.


The best place to find images for your presentation is the database, ARTstor Log on to ARTstor, create a personal account and create an image group.  Then view information on how to Export of Power Point

You can search ARTstor by the name of an art work, by geography, by classification (for example, sculpture and instrallations), or by collection (for example, Detroit Institute of Arts Collection).  Use the Advanced Search to limit by date.

Helpful videos on using ARTstor can be found on UTube

Course Description

This upper level art history course will study the major movements in avant-garde art from the late 19th century to the middle of the 20th century, focusing on Western Europe.  During this period, artists, writers, and critics all began to use the term “modern,” as a self-conscious description of their unique historical moment.  They believed that the world they lived in, and depicted in their art, was the most advanced human society had ever seen—that their world of technology, mechanical production, and mass entertainment marked a radical break with all past forms of society.  We will examine how the art of this period—painting, sculpture, collage, photography, architecture—engaged the modern world through varied pictorial strategies.  The course begins with the 1880s—the generation of “neo” and “post” impressionist painters—and explores the chronological development of seminal period styles from Fauvism, Cubism, Futurism, Expressionism, Constructivism and Surrealism in Europe to the rise of Abstract Expressionism in America after WW II.  Special emphasis will be placed on the rise and spread of abstraction.  The art will be placed in the context of the great intellectual movements of the era, and will touch upon developments in philosophy, psychology and sociology