Paul Klee and the Decorative in Modern Art

Paul Klee and the Decorative in Modern Art

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Jenny Anger
Cambridge University Press, 12/02/2004
EAN 9780521822503, ISBN10: 0521822505

Hardcover, 342 pages, 24.7 x 17.4 x 2.4 cm

One of the goals of Modernism was the presentation of the essence of art, or pure form. Encouraged by theorists, from Immanual Kant to Alois Riegl and Wilhelm Worringer, modern artists found pure form in ornament, which though promising, had been sullied by connotations of materiality, domesticity, and femininity. These qualities were at once alluring and threatening. In this study, Jenny Anger examines Paul Klee's attitude towards and use of the decorative. She shows that the decorative, including its gendered associations, significantly informed Klee's art production, his exhibiting strategies, his critical response, and the discursive construction of his work for public consumption. She also compares his work to that of another major modernist, Henri Matisse, to confirm the critical role of the decorative in Modernism. Anger also explores the relevance of the decorative for contemporary, and especially women, artists.

'... scholarly and fascinating ... very fertile ground for those from art history or cultural criticism who wish to explore conceptual and compositional aspects of Klee's work ... There is so much in this volume that repays careful thought.' Jonathan Osmond, The Art Book