Dissertation Proposal

Read Complete Research Material


Pioneers of Modernism: American Artists Discover Isadora

Pioneers of Modernism: American Artists Discover Isadora


Duncan Hailed as the mother of modern dance, Isadora Duncan (1877 -1927) rejected traditional ballet and created an entirely new dance language. With her new dance style she hoped to communicate "the divine expression of the human spirit through the medium of the bodies in movement." Duncan toured Europe and America presenting her vision of dance to audiences through her performances and the impromptu speeches she often gave after dancing. During these travels, Duncan became a muse for many artists. At the height of her career, Duncan was said to be the most frequently portrayed woman in the world.

In Europe, artists such as Auguste Rodin, Jose CIani, Jean-Paul Lafitte, Jules Grandjouan, Andre Dunoyer de Segonzac, Maurice Denis, and Emile-Antoine Bourdelle created a myriad of pastels, drawings, and sculptures of the great dancer. Bourdelle even used Duncan as inspiration for his relief sculpture of a dancing figure on the Theatre des Champs-Elysees. Duncan was equally popular among the artists of her native United States. John Sloan and Robert Henri deeply admired Isadora Duncan. They each created several images of the artist, wrote of her in articles and journal entries, and spoke of her in their classrooms. The photographers Arnold Genthe and Edward Steichen cherished their opportunities to photograph the notoriously camera-shy dancer. Genthe became one of Duncan's closest friends, and she inspired him to experiment with portraying motion in still photography. Isadora Duncan also significantly influenced Arthur B. Davies' artistic development, and, perhaps most famously, Abraham Walkowitz obsessively drew Isadora Duncan, creating more than 5000 images of the dancer over the course of his lifetime (Henri, 1946).

These American artists admired Duncan's declarations that dance could express personal convictions and that her dancing should be considered fine art rather than mere entertainment. Walkowitz, Sloan, and Genthe saw in Duncan an artist who shared their own ideas about modern art and modern politics. Steichen, Genthe, and Walkowitz hoped their images of Duncan would mutually increase their fame and that of the dancer. Finally, Duncan's dancing influenced the artistic styles of Davies, Sloan, Henri, and Walkowitz in terms of their choice of medium, their use of that medium, and their forays into abstraction (Sloan , 1915).


“The discovery of Isodora has had a significant impact on America modern art”CHAPTER II: LITERATURE REVIEW

Symbol of Modern Art

In 1906, Abraham Walkowitz (1878-1965), who had immigrated to the United States with his Jewish family from Siberia in 1889, left New York City to study art in Europe. An art student since 1894, Walkowitz had saved the money he earned as an art instructor and sign painter to fund this trip. 3 During his European sojourn, Walkowitz briefly stopped in London, stayed in Holland for two months, and then traveled to Paris. In Paris, he enrolled at the Academic Julian where he met another American artist, Max Weber. Weber and Walkowitz began a friendship that lasted many ...
Related Ads