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The House of Art

Modern Residences of Artists as the Subject and Space of Creation

Andrzej Pieńkos

The term «house of art» designates the cultural phenomenon and creative mode in modernity associated with an artist’s residence as his own creation and as his product of a need to create which is unfulfilled in the painter’s, writer’s or composer’s actual field. This book discusses the most important of these creations from the 18 th century to the beginning of the 20 th , including gardens as well as the artist’s space, broadly understood, annexed by his imagination. An artist’s shaping of his own residence was most commonly a secondary area of his creative work. The formula for a «house of art» is specific to the particular artist and does not have to fit within any given architectural or decorative style. It may conform to the traditions of a residence (artist’s palace, cottage etc), but most often it forms an individual case.


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Chapter 7: A temple of art and artificiality


209 Chapter 7: A temple of art and artificiality “Beyond the real world”485 – this was how an article published in 1852 in “L’Illustration” magazine described the atelier of the painter Rosa Bonheur. In most cases, however, Romantic assemblies of curios were composed of elements of real life; their extraordinary character resulted from their isolation, as well as the sheer amount of amassed objects,486 their exotic nature and unusual combinations487. At the end of the 19th century the growing tendency towards Aestheticism led to the creation of realms that were designed to have no connection with the outside world yet demonstrated remarkable inner consistency. As in the other chapters, the following analysis shall include both “actual” and “fictional” examples; houses existing “corporeally” and “literarily” (the quotation marks indicate only a convenient categorisation of the spheres in which these hous- es exist). The case of the de Goncourt brothers and their famous La maison d’un artiste is yet another reminder that, especially in the periods of the Romanticism 485 The anonymous article ‘Visite aux ateliers: Atelier de Mademoiselle Rosa Bonheur’, L’Illustration, 1852, p. 283. 486 With an evident tendency towards fulfilling the older postulate for the Wunderkam- mer, i.e. totality of the microcosm: cf. description of the room of the Polish Ro- mantic poet Zygmunt Krasiński in Geneva: “Everything was here: a dagger, pistols, cigars, pipes, smoking utensils, an inkwell, pens, a black cross from the Colosseum, books, mirrors, a music box, purple curtains, flowered upholsteries; and in addition...

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