By John F. Moffitt

ISBN-10: 0791457109

ISBN-13: 9780791457108

A desirable booklet demonstrating the impression of alchemy and esoteric traditions at the mature artwork of Marcel Duchamp.

Acknowledged because the "Artist of the Century," Marcel Duchamp (1887–1968) left a legacy that dominates the artwork global to this present day. Inventing the mockingly dégagé perspective of "ready-made" art-making, Duchamp heralded the postmodern period and changed Pablo Picasso because the function version for avant-garde artists. John F. Moffitt demanding situations normally authorized interpretations of Duchamp's artwork and personality by means of exhibiting that his mature paintings, after 1910, is essentially drawn from the effect of the occult traditions. Moffitt demonstrates that the most important to knowing the cryptic which means of Duchamp's different works of art and writings is alchemy, the main pictorial of all of the occult philosophies and sciences.

This cutting edge paintings historical past is written in a full of life, special kind. very like a prosecuting lawyer's short, Alchemist of the Avant-Garde argues its case with documented historic proof, no longer theoretical versions. a desirable learn, Moffitt's paintings could be welcomed by way of artists, artwork enthusiasts, and all these drawn to the cultural historical past of the trendy and postmodern eras.

“…this vast and profound learn is extremely informative, thought-provoking and horizon-broadening.” — AMBIX, magazine of the Society for the historical past of Alchemy and Chemistry

"The entire booklet is unforeseen to people who have by no means thought of Duchamp as an alchemist, starting from the professors who contain him of their paintings heritage surveys to the authors of even fatter books approximately him. Moffitt's a prolific and extremely largely cultured writer, with targeted services within the Renaissance and within the topic of forgery in addition to in these such a lot enigmatic of contemporary artists, Joseph Beuys and Marcel Duchamp. i will not identify the other paintings historian who is familiar with the esoteric box in addition to he does." — Joscelyn Godwin, writer of Theosophical Enlightenment

John F. Moffitt is Professor Emeritus of paintings historical past at New Mexico kingdom collage. he's the writer of Spanish portray; Occultism in Avant-Garde artwork: The Case of Joseph Beuys; Velázquez, práctica e concept: Estudios dispersos; paintings Forgery: The Case of the girl of Elche; the humanities in Spain; and Picturing Extraterrestrials: Alien Imagery in sleek Mass tradition. he's coauthor (with Santiago Sebastián) of O courageous New humans: the ecu Invention of the yankee Indian.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Prosecuting the Duchamp Case
1. An Esoteric French youth for Duchamp: Symbolist tradition and Occultism
2. the discovery of the trendy Alchemist-Artist
3. The Cultural Shaping of an Artist-Iconoclast: Duchamp in France, 1887–1915
4. Duchamp's First Experiments in Esoteric and Alchemical paintings, 1910–1912

5. Duchamp in ny with Esoteric buyers and the massive Glass, 1915–1923
6. Alchemical Emblematics and the Ready-Mades, 1913–1923
7. The Esoteric Fourth measurement and legislation of probability, 1895–1923
8. The Circle Closes, 1923–1968
Epilogue: The Prosecution Rests

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Extra info for Alchemist of the Avant-Garde: The Case of Marcel Duchamp

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And what then is the answer, the means of reaction, the ready-made solution, the way out? ” Appealing to the authority of a Neo-platonic notion beloved to the Esoteric Tradition, “the poor stupid prisoners of the allegorical cavern fool themselves in contemplating the shadows that they take for reality,” Aurier concludes that “the normal and final end of painting, as well of the other arts, can never be the direct representation of objects. ” Even though one must doubt that Ferdinand de Saussure ever read any of Aurier’s art criticism, a general functional alignment between the two apparently disparate contemporary thinkers is clear.

According to E. R. Curtius, Ancient Greece put the poet in the category of “god-like men,” alongside heroes, kings, heralds, priest, seers. . [Nonetheless,] the Greeks did not know the concept of the creative imagination. They had no word for it. What the poet produced was a fabrication. Aristotle praises Homer for having taught poets “to lie properly” (Poetics, 1460 a, 19). For him, as we know, poetry was mimesis, “imitation,” and indeed “imitation of men doing something” (Poetics, 1448 a, 1).

Since this is how journeys occur, nearnesses are clearly similarities, and distances dissimilarities, in the state of more inward elements. . 36 Swedenborg’s Heaven and Hell represents quintessential postmedieval esotericism in that it incorporates many of the themes and motifs that appear repeatedly in modern esoteric and art-theoretical texts. The basic occultist pattern endlessly repeats itself, regardless of explicit function, supposed doctrinal differences, or dates of publication. On the other hand, Swedenborgism is acknowledged by historians to have been an all-pervasive factor in early modernist cultural life in France.

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Alchemist of the Avant-Garde: The Case of Marcel Duchamp by John F. Moffitt

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