Realism and Abstractionism: American Art (650 words)

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Question

In an essay of approximately 500 words (with a typical font and spacing, this will be approximately 2 pages), respond to the following question.

In the early 1900s, both realism and abstractionism formed important parts of America’s artistic culture. Discuss and compare of these American artistic movements, providing examples of painters and paintings discussed in the videos.

In your answer be sure to include mention of stylistic and subject similarities, differences, and goals. Do this using ONLY the examples that Soltes discusses and explains in his lectures. Do not use Internet sources for inspiration nor as help.

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Realism and Abstraction

According to the lectures on art history by Professor Soltes, in the early 1900s both realism and abstraction formed important parts of America’s artistic culture. In this short essay, the themes of realism and abstraction will be discussed and compared with examples of painters and paintings discussed by the Professor from Georgetown University.

Influence of Dada
Professor Soltes first puts the art of this time in historical context. He reminds us that the horrors of World War I influenced the American artists. It is as if the war put into the question the status of art itself. The relationship between realism - which is the artists’ attempt to make art resemble reality - and abstraction - which is the artist's’ attempt to play with our conventional notions of reality - is put into play. Soltes describes this movement a push and pull between artists desire to represent reality in traditional ways versus new radical forms of non-representational art. Dada was one of the first art movement that began in Europe that tried to do this.

We first see this idea of pushing and pulling of art forms with Dada. Dada played with familiar forms and made people look at art in unconventional ways. Even a toilet! It is funny to think that a toilet could be a work of art! However, this is what artists like Marcel Duchamp tried to do with his provocative piece called “The Fountain.” Duchamp merely took a porcelain and placed it upside down....

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