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Primitivism and Modern Art (World of Art)

Colin Rhodes

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'Useful, concise and timely' Times Literary Supplement


A fascination with the 'primitive' lies at the heart of some of the most influential developments in Western art between 1890 and 1950 - a time that witnessed both the 'heroic' period of modern art and the apogee and decline of the West's colonial power. Many groups have at times been labelled as 'primitive', including the so-called tribal peoples from Africa, Oceania and North America, but also prehistoric cultures, European peasants, the insane and children. Through the lens of their own society, many modern artists looked both to the art and to the world-view of the 'primitive' as means of challenging established beliefs, but the 'primitive' to which they turned was a varied as the movements in modern art.

Here, Colin Rhodes breaks new ground, drawing on a wide and diverse range of material, from high art to popular entertainment and from Darwin to Freud. The critical overview he presents supersedes all previous studies on the subject.

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Book Details

Format: Paperback

Size: 21.0 x 15.0 cm

Extent: 216 pp

Illustrations: 179

Publication date: 21 November 1994

ISBN: 9780500202760

About the Author

Colin Rhodes is dean of Kingston School of Art. His previous books include Outsider Art and Primitivism, both published by Thames & Hudson in the ‘World of Art’ series.