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THE WORLD NEW MADE: Figurative Painting in the Twentieth Century.

09/10/2016

THE WORLD NEW MADE: Figurative Painting in the Twentieth Century. 

by Timothy Hyman

Figurative painting is due a reappraisal. In this passionately argued volume the distinguished writer and artist Timothy Hyman cuts a new path through the tangle of twentieth century art. The World New Made explores the work of more than fifty individual painters, presenting a collective ‘Resistance’ who together offer a human-centred alternative to the dominance of the Abstract or the Conceptual in conventional narratives of modern art. Structured not as a survey but as in-depth studies of more than 130 specific artworks, this lavishly illustrated book brings these often-marginalized artists centre-stage: not just Alice Neel and Balthus, Max Beckmann and Frida Kahlo, but also Marsden Hartley and Charlotte Salomon, Bhupen Khakhar and Jacob Lawrence. A rich cast is brought to life, partly through their own writings. As the author argues, ‘All across the world, isolated artists found new idioms for human-centred painting in the midst of modern life.’ Starting out from the ‘reinvention of representation’ that followed Cubism (with artists that include Léger, Chagall and Carrà), The World New Made guides the reader through the ‘New Thingness’ [Neue Sachlichkeit], where individuals as various as Dix, Grosz and Burra rejected Expressionist histrionics. A new emphasis on the artist as protagonist emerges in painters ranging from Pierre Bonnard to Stanley Spencer, while visionaries and ‘Outsiders’ (such as Rabindranath Tagore, Ken Kiff and Henry Darger) present new challenges. In the aftermath of Abstract Expressionism, in the work of artists from R. B. Kitaj to Leon Golub and William Kentridge, a new ‘history painting’ is glimpsed. This powerful new book, distilled from many decades of looking, painting and writing, assembles the free spirits who offer a counter-argument to Western formalism and a foundation for the figurative painters of the twenty-first century.

With 158 illustrations.

Available from Thames & Hudson 

 

Linda Nochlin on The World New Made:

‘Both wonderfully concrete in detail and wide-ranging in scope, Timothy Hyman’s The World New Made constructs a new and convincing scenario for the history of 20th-century painting.  Rejecting the straitjacket of modernist theory and the rigid model of abstraction, the author, himself a painter as well as an art historian, posits the neglected realm of figure painting as the important vehicle of modernity in the recent past, reinterpreting the work of well-known artists like Chagall, Leger, Kahlo and Guston  as well as reviving the careers of neglected ones like Ken Kiff, Bhupen Khakhar or Ida Applebroog.  A keen visual intelligence, human warmth and intellectual commitment mark his project:  needless to say, the well-chosen and beautifully reproduced illustrations do much to support the author’s provocative text.’