1st Edition

Historic Avant-Garde Work on Paper

Edited By Sascha Bru Copyright 2024
    262 Pages 92 Color Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book examines the many functions of paper in the fine art and aesthetics of the early twentieth-century modernist or historic avant-garde (Expressionism, Cubism, Futurism, Dadaism, Surrealism, Constructivism and many more).

    With its many collages and photomontages, the historic avant-garde is generally considered to have transformed paper from a mere support into an artistic medium and to have assisted in art on paper gaining a firm autonomy. Bringing together an international team of scholars, this book shows that the story of paper in the avant-garde has thereby hardly been told. The first section looks at a selection of canonized individual avant-gardists’ work on paper to demonstrate that the material and formal analysis of paper in the avant-garde’s artistic production still holds much in store. In the second section, chapters zoom in on forms and formats of collective artistic production that deployed paper to move around reproductions of fine art works, to facilitate the dialogue between avant-gardists, to better promote their work among patrons, and to make their work available to a wider audience. Chapters in the third section lay bare how certain groups within the avant-garde began to massively create monochrome works, because these could be easily reproduced when transferred to, or reproduced as, linocuts. In the last section of the book, chapters explore how the avant-garde’s attentiveness to paper almost always also implied a critique of the ways in which paper, and all that it stood for, was treated and labored in European culture and society more broadly.

    The book will be of interest to scholars working in art history, modernism, and design.

    Part 1 Paper Matters

    1. Painting White Paper White: Whiteness in Pablo Picasso’s Papiers Collés

    Emmanuelle Hincelin

    2. From Tearing to Infra-Thin: Paper, Materiality and Metaphor in Arp, Picabia and Duchamp

    David Hopkins

    3. Joan Miró’s Collages: "A Tribute to Bad Taste?"

    Elza Adamowicz

    Part 2 Paper Community

    4. Medium, Platform, Art Form: Avant-Garde Experiments with Paper in the Original Print Portfolio

    Fiona Piccolo

    5. Avant-Garde by Mail

    Jessica Sjöholm Skrubbe

    6. Paper Exhibitions: The Magazine as Exhibition Catalogue

    Lori Cole

    Part 3 Paper Transfer

    7. Monochrome Harmony: Black-and-White Work on Paper in Belgian Constructivism

    Sarah Eycken

    8. Making Strange: Hirschfeld-Mack, Klee, the Monoprint, and the Avant-Garde Diaspora

    Jane Eckett and Andrew McNamara

    9. "The most burning question for contemporary thinking about art": Art Competitions and the Discourse on Painting in Reproduction in Weimar Germany

    Anne Reimers

    10. Transparency on Paper: Imagining Glass Architecture from Taut to Eisenstein

    Tyrus Miller

    Part 4 Paper Critique

    11. Protean Papers: Material Transformations in German Paper and Kurt Schwitters’s Merz Drawings and Prints

    Erin Sullivan Maynes

    12. Steadfast Matter: Paper’s Affects

    Sabine T. Kriebel

    13. The Treason of the Clerks: Accounting for Paris Dada Paperwork

    Trevor Stark

    14. Parade Albums and Censorship in the Soviet Union

    Viola Hildebrand-Schat



    Sascha Bru is a professor at the Faculty of Arts at the University of Leuven, Belgium.