Item Number: 148521
Title: Posing Modernity : The Black Model from Manet and Matisse to Today
Author: Murrell, Denise
Record created on 03/28/18
Description: New Haven: Yale University Press, in association with the Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery, Columbia University in the City of New York, 2018. 26cm., hardcover, 224pp., 177 color illus. Exhibition catalogue
Summary: This timely and original study investigates how changing modes of representing the black female figure were foundational to the development of modern art. Posing Modernity examines the legacy of Edouard Manet’s Olympia (1863), arguing that this radical painting marked a shift toward portraying the black figure as an active participant in modern life rather than as an exotic “other.” Denise Murrell explores the intersection between the avant-garde artists of 19th-century Paris and the community of post-abolition free black Parisians. She traces the impact of Manet’s reconsideration of the black model into the 20th century and across the Atlantic, where Henri Matisse socialized in Harlem jazz clubs and later produced transformative portraits of the Haitian dancer Carmen as a cosmopolitan beauty. The book concludes with a look at how Manet and Matisse’s depictions influenced Romare Bearden and continue to reverberate in the work of such global contemporary artists as Faith Ringgold, Aimé Mpane, and Mickalene Thomas, who draw on art history to explore its other voices. Featuring over 175 illustrations, Posing Modernity illuminates long-obscured figures and proposes that a history of modernism cannot be complete until it examines the vital role of the black female muse within it.
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