1st Edition

Art and Visual Culture on the French Riviera, 1956–1971
The Ecole de Nice

ISBN 9781138269804
Published October 13, 2016 by Routledge
284 Pages

USD $59.95

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Book Description

The Riviera in the 1950s and 1960s was culturally rich with modernist icons such as Matisse and Picasso in residence, but also a burgeoning tourist culture, that established the Côte d'Azur as a center of indigenous artists associated with Nouveau Réalisme, Fluxus, and Supports/Surfaces, emerged under the mantle of the "Ecole de Nice." Drawing on the primary sources and little known publications generated during the period from museum archives, collections in the region, and privately owned archives, this study integrates material published in monographic studies of individuals and art movements, to offer the first in-depth study of this important movement in twentieth-century art. The author situates the work of the Ecole de Nice within the broader social currents that are so important in contextualizing this phenomenon within this internal region of France, and underscores why this work was so significant at this historical moment within the context of the broader European art scene, and contemporary American art, with which it shared affinities. Despite their stylistic differences, and associations with groups that are generally considered distinct, O'Neill discloses that these artists shared conceptual affinities”theatrical modes of presentation based on appropriation, use of the ready-made, and a determination to counter style-driven painting associated with the postwar Ecole de Paris. Art and Visual Culture on the Riviera, 1956-1971 suggests that the emergence of an Ecole de Nice internally eroded the dominance of Paris as the national standard at this moment of French decentralization efforts, and that these artists fostered a model of aesthetic pluralism that remained locally distinct yet fully engaged with international vanguard trends of the 1960s.

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction; Postwar Nice: the Eden of the hexagon; Towards an Ecole de Nice, 1956-1960; Nouveaux réalistes Niçois and the formation of an Ecole de Nice; Total Art and Fluxus in Nice; The new generation of the Ecole de Nice: Bernar Venet, Claude Gilli, Robert Malaval, Guy Rottier; Painting and focal dispersion: Claude Viallat and the Niçois painters of supports/surfaces; Afterward; Bibliography; Index.

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Rosemary O'Neill is Associate Professor of Art History at Parsons The New School for Design, USA.


'O'Neill develops the construct of the Ecole de Nice and fleshes out the scene on the French Riviera at a seminal moment in French visual arts. There is no existing study that even vaguely approaches what this book provides.' Katherine Manthorne, The Graduate Center, CUNY, USA

'Scholars of twentieth-century French visual culture and tourism will find O’Neill’s Art and Visual Culture on the French Riviera, 1956-1971 an interesting and important new contribution to the fields... I believe the book is an essential and deeply interesting source on the neglected topic of the Ecole de Nice and its diverse artists, and recommend it to historians of contemporary French tourism, art and visual culture.' H-France

'In her excellent study of what was, arguably, a southern artistic revolution, Rosemary O’Neill offers a detailed history of how the Ecole de Nice evolved... O’Neill draws on a vast range of primary sources, many not readily accessible to today’s readers: contemporary newspaper and magazine articles, private correspondence, catalogues, archival materials, manifestos, and recorded interviews. In addition, the work is enhanced by the inclusion of interspersed black and white photographs and an inset of thirteen colour plates.' French Studies

'... O’Neill’s use of her interviews with the artists and critics, and of films, recordings, writings and publications from the period, give her book its distinctive authority and evocative atmosphere.' Modern & Contemporary France