Designed by Miguel Coelho
“It has always been easier to create new labels than to create a new movement in art that truly deserves a new name.”
MODERN ART AND MODERNISM
By EJ WickesIn Modern Art History H.W. Janson is well known to practically every art student. Respected for his scholastic expertise he graduated with a Ph.D. from Harvard University after relocating to America from Germany. As an ex-pat he refuted the ideals of Nazism and the verboten attitude toward anything but conventional formalism or realism.
As an assistant professor of Art History his career flourished. His influence directed the curatorial attitude of modern art at Washington University in St. Louis by swaying the tide of their collection toward the European modernists, like Picasso, Miro and Max Ernst. Calder, who was a student at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the oldest art school in America, was also part of the collection.
As art was shifting from traditional regionalism, abstract expressionism become the new sophisticated aesthetic for modernism. In the 1940s as Jackson Pollock was rejecting the path of his teacher Thomas Hart Benton, he broke new ground with a method of application that no one had ever tried before with any credibility. As Clement Greenberg exclaimed, Pollock became one the period’s most important painters.
“Achelous and Hercules” by Thomas Hart Benton, a 1947 mural made for a Kansas City department store, now in the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Jackson Pollock was a student of Benton.
Jackson Pollock, Mural 1943.