|About the Book|
While the painting of the 1880s and 1890s in Paris has been studied in great depth, the concurrent art criticism has not been given the attention it deserves. Conservative Echoes examines previously unexplored aspects of the symbolist criticism ofMoreWhile the painting of the 1880s and 1890s in Paris has been studied in great depth, the concurrent art criticism has not been given the attention it deserves. Conservative Echoes examines previously unexplored aspects of the symbolist criticism of art, revealing its conservative nature, and thus providing a new view of the art criticism of one of the most significant periods in the development of modern art. Art historians tend to focus on a small body of criticism written by authors who championed one or more of the artists recognized today as leaders of the avant-garde. In essence, it is the art that directs most studies of criticism rather than the criticism itself. Michael Marlais has studied late nineteenth-century criticism on all levels, from popular press to esoteric review, in order to understand the context in which avant-garde art criticism appeared. He focuses on the critics Felix Feneon, Albert Aurier, Alphonse Germain, Camille Mauclair, and Maurice Denis, noting both conservative and modernist features of their writing, while attempting to situate them within the antinaturalist intellectual trends of the period. Marlais emphasizes the relationship of avant-garde critics to the broader cultural milieu, thus providing both a valuable corrective in the study of fin-de-siecle art history and another way of understanding the cultural climate in Paris during that time.