Music and Modernism in the Graphic Arts, 1860-1910

Friday March 28, 2008 - Sunday May 25, 2008
Music and Modernism in the Graphic Arts, 1860-1910

Henri Fantin-Latour (French, 1836-1904), Tannhäuser--Venusberg, 1876, lithograph. Gift of George W. Davison, 1944.D1.231 (photo: R. J. Phil)

In the second half of the 19th century, visual artists in Europe looked to poetry and music as models for modern art, an art of increasing ambiguity and abstraction. This exhibition examined the concepts of synaesthesia (the connections among color, sound, and the other senses) and the Gesamtkunstwerk (total art work) in British, French, and German art from 1860 to 1910. Drawn from the Davison Art Center Collection and Special Collections, Olin Library, the exhibition presented more than 40 works by James Abbott McNeill Whistler, Max Klinger, Odilon Redon, Henri Fantin-Latour, and other artists.


Opening reception
Thursday 27 March, 5:00-7:00 p.m.
Gallery talk by Katherine Kuenzli, assistant professor of Art & Art History, 5:30 p.m.
The reception and gallery talk were open to the public free of charge.

Towards a Synaesthetic Modernity
Symposium co-organized by the Department of Art & Art History, Wesleyan University and the Department of Art, Smith College
Saturday 29 March
Public lectures at The Russell House (350 High Street), 9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Lectures was followed by a reception at the Davison Art Center.

This symposium examined models of artistic collaboration in European art between 1860 and 1910 and explore how exchange between the arts as well as artistic media proved foundational to the emergence of a modernist aesthetic. Papers focused on the historical formulation of three models of artistic interaction: synaesthesia, theGesamtkunstwerk, and the idea that all arts aspire to the condition of music. All talks were free and open to the public.

Decadent Christians and Cricketer-Aesthetes: A New View of the 1890s in Art Press Books
Wednesday 7 May, 7:00-8:00 p.m.
Stephanie Weiner, associate professor of English
Public talk at Special Collections, Olin Library