A Fable of Modern Art
by Dore Ashton
Dore Ashton's masterly analysis of modern art grows out of a consideration of Balzac's brilliant and little known 'philosophic' story "The Unknown ... Show synopsis Dore Ashton's masterly analysis of modern art grows out of a consideration of Balzac's brilliant and little known 'philosophic' story "The Unknown Masterpiece" in which the concerns of Cezanne, Picasso, and the abstract expressionists are strikingly prefigured. Balzac's fable is discussed not only within the context from which it emerged--early nineteenth-century romanticism--but also in its embodiment of various attitudes towards art. Ashton illuminates a web of associations linking Balzac to Cezanne, Rilke, Schoenberg, Kandinsky and Picasso as they struggle with the yearning to express the inexpressible, to make concrete the abstract. As Professor Ashton develops the conjectures of her book she reveals the interrelations of literature, music, and art and the basic problems which engage or beset the contemporary artist and those who seek to understand and appreciate contemporary art. This is a book of extreme originality which ranges so widely and offers such valuable insights that it forms an important contribution not only to the history of art and culture, but also to the history of ideas.