The Painting of Modern Life: Paris in the Art of Manet and his Followers

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The Paris of the 1860s and 1870s was supposedly a brand-new city, equipped with boulevards, caf├ęs, parks, and suburban pleasure grounds–the birthplace of those habits of commerce and leisure that constitute "modern life." Questioning those who view Impressionism solely in terms of artistic technique, T. J. Clark describes the painting of Manet, Degas, Seurat, and others as an attempt to give form to that modernity and seek out its typical representatives–be they bar-maids, boaters, prostitutes, sightseers, or petits bourgeois lunching on the grass. The central question of The Painting of Modern Life is this: did modern painting as it came into being celebrate the consumer-oriented culture of the Paris of Napoleon III, or open it to critical scrutiny? The revised edition of this classic book includes a new preface by the author.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 376 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press; Revised edition with a New preface by the author edition (October 18, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691009031
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691009032
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds

Customer Reviews

it is about the times…

One person found this helpful.
 on August 19, 2016
By Ken Mitchell
After reading dozens of books on artists from Manet to Picasso I was looking for a book that would connect the social and political movements of the times to the impact on art. This book by T.J. Clark did just that. T.J. Clark, as many of the reviewers have already accurately stated, makes the case that changing nature of class that caused by the changes from industrialization and capitalism became a key subject of Manet and the Impressionist. But, what I found interesting was the in depth analysis of the Manet’s art, based on the earliest critics opinions, overlaid with the authors educated opinion. He does not defend or accuse either the artist or the critics, but does a fine job explaining the controversy as well as the artist’s creativity. Frankly much of what he has to say goes over my head, but there was enough unique insight, that I did understand that made it a very satisfying read. I am glad to add it to my art history library.

Excellent analysis, interpretation and exposition of my favorite subject

 on August 20, 2016
By Pierre
Excellent analysis, interpretation and exposition of my favorite subject, art and the artist 1830-1901 France. Speaking purely selfishly – a sequel from the same author further re-examining the same subject matter would be most satisfying. However, Mr. Clark would then be guilty of self plagiarising! Some people are just insatiable. C’est moi.

Great book for art, literature and history students.

 on July 17, 2016
By Fabiana Sarti
T J Clark gives many inspired insights on this specifi period of time. He makes Association between art, literature, history and politics in an unique way.

ad infinitum

9 people found this helpful.
 on May 7, 2012
By Dan Dan
Clark often interrupts himself and unabashedly links sentences together with numerous colons, hyphens, and semicolons, thus making his ideas unclear at times.

Five Stars

 on January 13, 2017
By Amazon Customer
Perfect condition.

The changing face of paris and the impressionists

One person found this helpful.
 on February 9, 2014
By Frank Mcghee
Excellant source book on the Haussmannization of Paris in the 1850’s-70’s and the Impressionistic movement that helped shape the public views on art and class.

Four Stars

 on April 25, 2016
By Thomas Kelly Mason
Thanks for the great book!

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