20th Century Art 58.221/201
Dr. John X. Christ


20th century art image

Syllabus of Lectures


COURSE DESCRIPTION: First part of the course discusses Post-Impressionism to Expressionism. Reactions to Impressionism in the 1880's and 1890's in France and elsewhere in Europe. Emphasis on the art of Cezanne, Gaugin, Van Gogh and Seurat as well as the Symbolist. Also studied are German expressionist artists by contrast with Fauvism. Second part of the course discusses Cubism to the present. After analyzing the development of Cubism in the art of Braque and Picasso, the course discusses the Cubist followers, Gris, Leger, Delaunay, and the Italian Futurists. Also studied are the non-objective styles of Kandinsky and Mondrian; and the Dada and Surrealist movements, with emphasis on Duchamp, DeChirico and Dali. American art since 1950 and its roots in traditions of European modernism is considered. Examples on painting, sculpture and architecture are used for the various movements.

ORGANIZATION: Although class discussion is strongly encouraged, this is primarily a lecture course based upon the visual content of works of art presented by way of projected slides. Attendance is highly recommended for every class meeting. Students are responsible for the content of all lectures and assigned reading materials.

CLASS COMPORTMENT: Since this a professional presentation at the university level, you are not permitted to eat or drink during class lectures and discussion. Disabled students must see me on the first day of class to accommodate their individual needs.

OFFICE HOURS: Monday-Wednesday 4:00-6:00 p.m., Friday 12:00-1:00 p.m. or by appointment. My office is in Coburn Hall, Room 201

-H. H. Arnason, History of Modern Art. New York: Harry A. Abrams, 1979.
-H. Smagula, Currents, New York: Harper and Row, 1983.
-P. C. Vitz and A. B. Glincher, Modern Art and Modern Science, New York: Praeger, 1984.

In addition, a series of articles will be placed on reserve in the Reserve Section of the O'Leary Library. Other items will be found in the Periodical Section of the O'Leary Library. (see attachment I).

-P. Kaplan and S. Mason, Major Movements of European Art : 1900-1945, New York: E. P. Dutton, 1977.
-S. Barnet, Writing About Art, Boston: Little Brown and Company, 1981.
-L. Alloway, Readings In Modern Art, New York: W.W. Norton, 1980.
-G. Battock, Super Realism, New York: E. P. Dutton, 1980.
-F. Frascina, ed. Modern Art and Modernism, New York: Harper and Row Publishers, 1981.
-C. Jencks, Modern Movements In Architecture, New York: Doubleday, Inc. 1979.
-N. Lynton, The Story of Modern Art, New York: Cornell University Press, 1982.
-H. Read, A Concise History of Modern Sculpture, New York: Oxford University Press, 1980.
-L. Steinberg, Other Criteria: Confrontation with 20th Century Art, New York: Oxford University Press.

For further bibliography, see Attachment II. These books with their respective call numbers are placed on reserve in the O'Leary Library.

Class attendance is required. Exams are based on class lectures and discussion of visual and historical material.

EXAMINATIONS: There will be two (2) fifty minute examinations, OCTOBER and NOVEMBER, and a final exam (date to be announced). Two short quizzes will be given on September and November, to help you out on your examinations. Examinations are based on specific material covered in class and on the required readings. Examinations missed without prior excuse from me or excuse for medical ,or other emergencies as obtained from the Dean of the College or from the Dean of Students, cannot be made up.

PAPER: There will be one paper required. It will be due on December 1. All late papers will be penalized or not accepted. The paper should be approximately 10 pages long, double spaced and typed with illustrations (xeroxed). Suggested topics will be given at the beginning of the semester along with a general instruction sheet for typing the paper. Papers may or may not be returned to the students (so make a copy for your own records).

MUSEUM OR PAPER ASSIGNMENT: Familiarize yourself with the 20th Century paintings and sculptures in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Fogg Art Museum and Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Write a research paper, approximately 10 pages long, typewritten and double spaced with footnotes, bibliography and illustrations. All papers must include the above requirements. If you are uncertain as to proper forms of annotation, consult a manual such as S. Barnett, Writing About Art (required text), Kate L. Turabian, Manual for Writers for Term Paper, Theses, and Dissertation. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980, placed on reserve at the O'Leary Library); and B. Goldman, Reading and Writing in the Arts (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1978; also placed on reserve at the O'Leary Library). Instructions on how you should type and present your paper are found in the Art History Handbook. If you have any questions, please see me. Please notify me by November 10 of your paper topic by completing the attached form. Your paper is due December 1. No extension granted without penalty. If you desire to keep a copy of your paper, copy it, since I may not return the original copy to you.

Be careful never to copy directly or directly adapt from another author without crediting the source. General sources must be listed in a bibliography; any direct quotation or paraphrase must be footnoted. Any unacknowledged copying will receive and F for the course.

A series of xeroxed materials will be given out throughout the course in order to help you with your reading and writing assignments.

EVALUATION: The final exam will count for 20% of your final semester grade. The paper will also count 20% of your final semester grade, and the two quizzes and examinations together will count altogether as 60% of your final grade.

MUSEUM VISITS: Students are individually responsible for visiting the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (both in Boston), the Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge), the Worcester Art Museum (Worcester), Whistler House Museum (Lowell), the Philips Academy Museum (Andover), and the Curry Museum.

OPTIONAL MUSEUM VISITS: Probably during the semester the Art History Club will sponsor some field trips to the Boston Museums. Also, there will be schedules of one or two trips to New York City, Worcester and, New Haven and Hartford, CT., and Washington, D.C. in order to visit some major exhibitions or museums. You will be encouraged to attend, but not penalized for not participating in these trips.

(N.B. Subject to change with a week of prior notice)

Sept 26 - A brief Quiz. It consists of identifying visual material presented in class or included in your required assignments. You will be asked to identify the name of the artist, the title of the art work, the style, and give an approximate date of the work.
Oct 10 -
First Examination. It will be based on slide identifications, slide comparisons, an attribution problem, and essays.
Nov 7 -
Second Quiz. See September 26 description.
Nov 10 -
Notification of Paper Topic.
Nov 24
- Second Examination. See October 10 description.
Dec 1 - Paper due. No extensions granted without penalty.
Dec 13-21 - FINAL EXAMINATION. Final Examination date and time will be announced. The final exam format will be the same as for the First and Second Examinations. It will not be cumulative. That is to say, you will be tested on the new visual material presented after the Second Examination, but you will be responsible for the assimilation of the general concepts of 20th Century Art in your essay section.

(N.B. Subject to change with a week of prior notice)

Sept 3-5 - Introduction: Scope of the course
Arnason, pp. 13-26; Lynton, pp. 339-50; Steinberg, pp. 289-321.

Sept 8 - Transition to the 20th Century in Painting
Impressionism and Post-Impressionism
Arnason, pp.26-55; Vitz, pp.1-44; Smagula, Currents.

Sept 10 - Transition to the 20th Century in Architecture
Arnason, pp.47-55, 139-153;
Jenks, Modern Movements in Architecture.

Sept 12 - Transition to the 20th Century in Sculpture
Arnason, pp. 56-70; Steinberg, pp. 322-402.

Sept 15 - Symbolism, Synthetism and the Nabis
Arnason, pp.75-96; Lynton, pp.1-54; Vitz, pp.45-70.

Sept 17 - Fin de Siecle: Art Nouveau, Jugenstil, Belgian Symbolism
Arnason, pp. 162-176, 260.

Sept 19 - Fauvism: Matisse
Arnason, pp.96-124; Kaplan/Mason, pp. 5-42; Steinberg, pp.3-16; Vitz, pp.71-106.

Sept 22 - German Expressionism: Die Bruck & Primitivism
Arnason, pp.174-78; Kaplan/Mason, pp.43-90.

Sept 24 - German Expressionism: Der Blaue Reiter
Arnason, pp.179-193.

September 26 - Quiz I

Sept 29 - Early 20th Century Sculpture
Concise History of Sculpture
Arnason, pp. 140-46

Oct 1-3 - Cubism: Analytical Cubism
(Picasso and Braque/Precursor, Cezanne)
Arnason, pp.124-139; Kaplan/Mason, pp. 101-147; 193-221; Lynton, pp.55-85; Steinberg, pp.93-234.

Oct 6-8 - Cubism as a Movement
Arnason, pp. 193-214, 215, 220; Kaplan/Mason, pp.148-165.

Oct 10 - Exam I

Oct 13 - No class. (Columbus Day)

Oct 15 - Futurism
Arnason, pp.220-26; Kaplan/Mason, pp. 164-192; Vitz, pp. 107-143.

Oct 17 - Vorticism
Arnason, pp. 537-547; Lynton, pp. 86-122.

Oct 20 - Russian Constructivism and de Stijl
Arnason, pp. 226-246; Kaplan/Mason, pp. 222-274; Vitz, pp. 143-194.

Oct 22 - Non-Objective Art: The Bauhaus
Arnason, pp. 288-306.

Oct 24-26 - Native Painters and Metaphysical Art
Arnason, pp. 288-306.

Oct 27 - No Class

Oct 29 - Dada and Marcel Duchamp
Arnason, pp.307-316; Kaplan/Mason, pp. 310-324, 337-396; Lynton, pp. 123-146.

Oct 31 - Surrealism I: Dali
Arnason, pp. 348-387; Kaplan/Mason, pp. 325-336; Lynton, pp. 147-200.

Nov 3 - Surrealism: Miro, Tanguy
Arnason, pp. 348-376; Vitz pp. 195-246.

Nov 5 - Surrealism II
Arnason, pp375-410; Vitz, pp.247-262.

Nov 7 - Quiz II

Nov 10 - Frank Lloyd Wright & the International Style of Architecture
Arnason, pp58-59, 147-50, 449-452.


Nov 12 - The Armory Show
Arnason, pp. 426-432.

Nov 14 - Social Realism/Ash Can School
Arnason, pp.426-432.

Nov 17 - Abstract Expressionism: Action Painting
Arnason, pp. 507-36; Lynton, pp.226-256; Steinberg, pp. 259-271.

Nov 19 - Surrealists Exhile/European Ex-patriots
Arnason, pp. 579-91; Lynton, pp.257-262.

Nov 21 - Hans Hoffman and the New York School
Arnason, pp. 677-97; Steinberg, pp.277-285.

Nov 24 - Exam II

Nov 26 - New York School: The Second Generation
Arnason, pp. 677-97.

Nov 27 - No class

Dec 1 - Minimal Art
Arnason, pp. 591-602.


Dec 3 - Pop Art
Arnason, pp.651-658; Lynton, pp. 263-316; Steinberg, pp. 17-52.

Dec 5 - Op Art
Arnason, pp.603-645.

Dec 8 - New Realism/Photo Realism
Arnason, pp. 645-651; Battock, Super Realism.

Dec 10-12 - Environmental Art/Kinetic Art
Arnason, pp. 654-72; Lynton, pp. 317-338.