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

By John F. Moffitt

ISBN-10: 0791457109

ISBN-13: 9780791457108

A desirable publication demonstrating the impact of alchemy and esoteric traditions at the mature paintings of Marcel Duchamp.

Acknowledged because the "Artist of the Century," Marcel Duchamp (1887–1968) left a legacy that dominates the paintings international to this present day. Inventing the sarcastically dégagé angle 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 regularly approved interpretations of Duchamp's artwork and personality by way of exhibiting that his mature artwork, after 1910, is basically drawn from the effect of the occult traditions. Moffitt demonstrates that the main to figuring out the cryptic which means of Duchamp's assorted works of art and writings is alchemy, the main pictorial of all of the occult philosophies and sciences.

This leading edge artwork heritage is written in a full of life, detailed sort. very similar to a prosecuting lawyer's short, Alchemist of the Avant-Garde argues its case with documented old facts, no longer theoretical types. a desirable learn, Moffitt's paintings could be welcomed by way of artists, paintings fans, and all these drawn to the cultural historical past of the fashionable and postmodern eras.

“…this large and profound study is extremely informative, thought-provoking and horizon-broadening.” — AMBIX, magazine of the Society for the heritage of Alchemy and Chemistry

"The complete ebook is unforeseen to those that have by no means thought of Duchamp as an alchemist, starting from the professors who comprise him of their artwork heritage surveys to the authors of even fatter books approximately him. Moffitt's a prolific and extremely commonly cultured writer, with distinct services within the Renaissance and within the topic of forgery in addition to in these so much enigmatic of contemporary artists, Joseph Beuys and Marcel Duchamp. i will not identify the other artwork historian who is aware the esoteric box in addition to he does." — Joscelyn Godwin, writer of Theosophical Enlightenment

John F. Moffitt is Professor Emeritus of artwork background at New Mexico nation collage. he's the writer of Spanish portray; Occultism in Avant-Garde paintings: The Case of Joseph Beuys; Velázquez, práctica e suggestion: Estudios dispersos; artwork Forgery: The Case of the girl of Elche; the humanities in Spain; and Picturing Extraterrestrials: Alien Imagery in smooth Mass tradition. he's coauthor (with Santiago Sebastián) of O courageous New humans: the eu 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 long island 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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Another important early contribution to the evolving proliferation of modernist esoterica was Mesmerism, named after its founder Franz Anton Mesmer (1734–1815). At well-attended séances, Mesmer practiced what we would today call hypnotism. In the early Romantic period hypnosis seemed a kind of white magic, offering proof for the existence of the soul, of a hereafter, and all forms of prophetic, mentally superior Spiritual Vision, in 28 ALCHEMIST OF THE AVANT-GARDE short, clairvoyance. 42 In practice, Mesmer’s esoteric hypnotic doctrines showed themselves to be clearly akin to Swedenborg’s correspondences.

Since men and women are created by sexual means, then it logically follows that the sex act—the microcosmic image of Creation— is both a divine sign and a gift from On High (au delà in the terminology of modern French esotericism). As an attribute of the Divine, neatly dividing itself into Male and Female components, conjoined Sex/Creation represents Harmony and Perfection. In the sex act, a coniunctio oppositorum, the male supposedly achieves his own inherently female nature and thus becomes symbolically androgynous, transmuted into one flesh, and thus made whole.

Wassily Kandinsky boldly proclaimed this prophetic-messianic function of the modern artist in 1911: “The abstract spirit takes possession first of a single human spirit; later it governs an ever-increasing number of people. 15 Apollinaire said much the same thing in 1913: “Poets and artists plot the characteristics of their epoch, and the future docilely falls in line with their desire. . The energy of art imposes itself on men, and becomes for them the plastic standard of the period. . ”16 In 1915, Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler spoke of Pablo Picasso as an artist who is “possessed of the divine gift, genius,” and who likewise provides “proof that the appearance of the esthetic product is conditioned in its particularity by the spirit of the time.

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

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