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Aesthetic Rivalries

Word and Image in France, 1880–1926


Linda Goddard

This book explores interaction and competition between painting and literature in France, from the late nineteenth century to the early twentieth, offering new readings of works by key figures including Paul Gauguin, Stéphane Mallarmé, Pablo Picasso and André Gide. Combining close visual and literary analysis with a broader examination of critical discourse, the volume uncovers a mutual but often contentious exchange of ideas. The author challenges habits of periodisation, drawing attention to the links between Symbolist and Cubist criticism. Issues such as the debate about ‘literary’ painting, the role of art criticism and artists’ writings, as well as themes such as newspapers and gold, alchemy and forgery, are shown to connect the two centuries. In examining how the rejection of mimesis in painting affected literary responses to the visual arts, the book explores a shift in power from the verbal to the visual in the early decades of the twentieth century.


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List of Illustrations ix


Illustrations Fig. 1 Paul Gauguin, Portrait of Stéphane Mallarmé (1891), printed 1919, etching, drypoint and engraving in brown on cream Japanese paper, 18.3 × 14.5 cm (plate); 33 × 24 cm (sheet), The Albert H. Wolf Memorial Collection, 1935.46, The Art Institute of Chicago. Photography © The Art Institute of Chicago. Fig. 2 Paul Gauguin, Soyez Symboliste (portrait of Jean Moréas), illustration in La Plume (1 January 1891). Fig. 3 Emile Cohl, ‘La Poésie en 1886’, illustration in Le Charivari ( June 1891). Fig. 4 Paul Gauguin, Soyez amoureuses vous serez heureuses (Be In Love and You Will Be Happy) (1889), carved and painted linden wood, 95 × 72 x 6.4 cm, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Arthur Tracy Cabot Fund, 57.582. Photograph © 2011 Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Fig. 5 Paul Gauguin, Soyez mystérieuses (Be Mysterious) (1890), carved and painted linden wood, 73 × 95 x 5 cm, Paris, Musée d’Orsay. © RMN (Musée d’Orsay) / Jean Schormans. Fig. 6 Front cover of La Plume (1 January 1891). Fig. 7 Le Corbeau (The Raven), poem by Edgar Allan Poe, translated by Stéphane Mallarmé, illustrated with 5 drawings by Manet. Lithograph, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, 1875. Fig. 8 Paul Gauguin, Manao tupapau (Spirit of the Dead Watching) (1892), oil on burlap mounted on canvas, framed: 92.075 × 113.03 × 6.35 cm; support: 72.39 × 97.4725 cm, A. Conger Goodyear Collection, 1965, Buf falo, NY, Albright-Knox Art Gallery. © 2011 Albright Knox Art Gallery / Art Resource, NY / Scala Florence. Fig. 9 Paul...

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