Wide-ranging exhibition traces evolution of 20th-century Modern Art Post-World War I

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Wide-ranging exhibition traces evolution of 20th-century Modern Art Post-World War I
Archibald John Motley, Jr. (American, 1891 - 1981). Café, Paris, 1929. Oil on canvas. Detroit Institute of Arts, Museum Purchase, Ernest & Rosemarie Kanzler Foundation Fund, 2018.71. © Estate of Archibald John Motley Jr. All reserved rights 2023 / Bridgman Images.

DETROIT, MICH.- The Detroit Institute of Arts presents After Cubism: Modern Art in Paris, 1918-1948, a wide-ranging exhibition that explores the changing landscape of modern art in Paris in the years after World War I, as seen through ambitious works from leading figures of the 20th century, using competing styles, including cubism, a revived classicism, surrealism and more.

On view August 18, 2023, through January 7, 2024, the exhibition features 120 paintings, prints, drawings, and photographs, all from the DIA’s permanent collection. The show’s title comes directly from the artistic manifesto Après le cubism (After Cubism), published in 1918 and written by Amédée Ozenfant and Charles-Édouard Jeanneret (later known as Le Corbusier). The DIA’s exhibition explores the artistic community from the end of World War I through the rebuilding after World War II, tracing the expansion and development of new styles by artists who traveled to Paris from around the globe.

During these years, a new sense of possibility followed the devastation caused by World War I. The French capital was the center of the art world, drawing in artists from North and South America and throughout Europe. These artists gathered and exchanged avant-garde ideas in the city’s cafes, studios, and galleries, and often inspired each other. Most of the works featured in the DIA’s After Cubism exhibition were created in Paris or nearby, or during travels to the French Riviera.

Among the works from the DIA’s permanent collection featured in After Cubism are those by legendary artists Marc Chagall, Le Corbusier, Fernand Léger, Henri Matisse, Joan Miró, Pablo Picasso, Man Ray, Marie Laurencin, and Diego Rivera. Additional highlights include the oil painting of the Cafe Rêve in the artists’ neighborhood of Montmartre by African-American painter Archibald Motley Jr., as well as the monumental watercolor painting, The Spirit of Electricity, created by Raoul Dufy in preparation for his mural at the Paris International Exposition of 1937. There are also photographs by Ilse Bing, Brassaï, and Henri Cartier-Bresson, and, as well as an androgynous self-portrait by Claude Cahun, whose gender-questioning oeuvre has received new attention in recent years.

“It is just over a century since the manifesto, After Cubism, was published,” said DIA Director Salvador Salort-Pons. “Our new exhibition not only celebrates Paris as a central figure, but more so the artists who explored fresh avenues, resulting in works that continue to inspire today.”

“It is an honor to present this exceptional collection of works of modern art from such an influential period, a time when so many forward-looking ideas took shape and charted new directions,” said Clare Rogan, Curator of Prints and Drawings at the Detroit Institute of Arts. “The artists of Paris responded to the changes of modern life, including rapid electrification, innovations in science and technology, and new ideas about vision and psychology. Their approaches to artwork in the modern age still echo for us today.”

Detroit Institute of Arts
After Cubism: Modern Art in Paris, 1918-1948
August 18th, 2023 - January 7th, 2024

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