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The Theory of Decorative Art: An Anthology of European and American Writings, 1750-1940 (Bard Graduate Center for Studies in the Decorative Arts, Design & Culture)
by:Isabelle Frank, David Britt
This anthology gathers together the most significant writings on the theory of the decorative arts from the mid-eighteenth century to the 1940s. The volume offers the first history of the theory of decorative art as it emerged in the West and reconstructs the debates over how to define this category of art and distinguish it from the fine arts (music,...
This anthology gathers together the most significant writings on the theory of the decorative arts from the mid-eighteenth century to the 1940s. The volume offers the first history of the theory of decorative art as it emerged in the West and reconstructs the debates over how to define this category of art and distinguish it from the fine arts (music, poetry, architecture, painting, and sculpture).The selections include well-known texts and less familiar writings, many translated into English for the first time, that reveal how architects, designers, and critics as well as sociologists and historians have thought and written about decorative art. Through the writings of such thinkers as Diderot, Riegl, Wolfflin, Goethe, Ruskin, Elias, Wright, and Loos, the anthology traces the shifting nature of the boundaries between decorative and fine art over two centuries. These writers, faced with new art forms that challenged accepted notions of art, elaborated aesthetic theories capable of encompassing both decorative and fine art. By recovering theoretical debates about decorative art, this book helps to dispel the confusion surrounding this artistic category. It also offers suggestive contributions to contemporary debates, focusing on the same question of the nature of art that animated earlier writers.
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