History of Modern Painting: From Baudelaire to Bonnard: The Birth of a New Vision

History of Modern Painting: From Baudelaire to Bonnard: The Birth of a New Vision

History of Modern Painting: From Baudelaire to Bonnard: The Birth of a New Vision

History of Modern Painting: From Baudelaire to Bonnard: The Birth of a New Vision

Excerpt

As early as 1930 we had in mind the publication of a series of works in which colour reproduction was to play a novel and a leading part. No longer treated merely as a source of pleasure for the eye, it would (as we planned to use it) also serve a wider purpose and implement the systematic study of the history of art.

But the years went by and, for reasons of a technical order, our project had to be postponed. The series of portfolios of our" Trésors de la Peinture Française" (begun, it may be remembered, in 1934) was, seen from this angle, a laboratory experiment in view of an ulterior aim: that of exploiting all the possibilities offered by the most recent methods of colour reproduction, and of mastering a technique enabling us to turn them to best account. Our objective was the production of books which were more than mere anthologies of pictures, and furnished information no less accurate than complete. For it is clear that verbal description, however lucid and historically valid, cannot be enough; it must be implemented by reproductions, and these should not be deprived of what is vitally essential to their expressive value: in other words, of their colour.

After many years of preparation and research-work we now feel qualified to lay as it were the foundation-stone of the vast edifice we propose to build, and it is under the auspices of Modern Painting that our collection "Painting -- Colour -- History" begins. It is intended to meet the wishes and requirements of all who, whether remotely or closely interested in art, would wish to possess a book which is at once a mine of information, a thing of beauty, and a source-book indispensable to both amateurs and connoisseurs; a work containing all essentials and so arranged as to facilitate the study of the great art movements, pointing out their landmarks, and showing the relations between these movements, their origins and their evolution. In short, a work which by making the approach easy and agreeable will stimulate both the public taste for art and a wider, more enlightened understanding of its masterpieces.

In carrying out this programme we have taken into account not merely the aesthetic value of the works reproduced but also their historical significance, their dates, and their importance both as regards the trends they stand for and the movements to which they belong, and as regards the . . .

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