Marginal to Mainstream: French Modernism Between the Wars traces the near-miraculous progress of modern art in France in the first half of the twentieth century. Before World War I, it was a marginal phenomenon, largely absent from the museums and bought and sold by a handful of second-string dealers; by the early 1950s it had been canonized as the representative form of the epoch. The triumph of modernism, and the simultaneous establishment of Paris as the crucible of modern art, were not the products of a coherent policy but of a stumbling and spasmodic process. France was the leading democratic nation in Europe, and it wanted its art to reinforce its prestige on the international stage, but no-one could agree how best to achieve this. Toby Norris shows how, amidst the policy squabbles and in-fighting of representative government, France fumbled its way toward an art of democracy and in the process helped install modern art as the house style of democratic capitalism.
Toby Norris is associate professor of art history at Assumption University.
Chapter OneArt and the National Interest in the Early 1920s
Chapter TwoHome and Abroad, 1925-1931
Chapter ThreeModern Art and the Depression in France, 1931-1936
Chapter FourThe Mixed Message of Popular Front Cultural Policy
Chapter FiveThe Triumph of Historical Modernism