The Painting of Modern Life
Paris in the Art of Manet and His Followers
T. J. Clark
Revised edition with a new preface by the author
The Paris of the 1860s and 1870s was supposedly a brand-new city, equipped with boulevards, cafés, parks, and suburban pleasure grounds--the birthplace of those habits of commerce and leisure that constitute "modern life." Questioning those who view Impressionism solely in terms of artistic technique, T. J. Clark describes the painting of Manet, Degas, Seurat, and others as an attempt to give form to that modernity and seek out its typical representatives--be they bar-maids, boaters, prostitutes, sightseers, or petits bourgeois lunching on the grass. The central question of The Painting of Modern Life is this: did modern painting as it came into being celebrate the consumer-oriented culture of the Paris of Napoleon III, or open it to critical scrutiny? The revised edition of this classic book includes a new preface by the author.T. J. Clark is Chancellor's Professor of Modern Art at the University of California, Berkeley, and the author of Image of the People: Gustave Courbet and the 1848 Revolution, The Absolute Bourgeois: Artists and Politics in France, 1848-1851, and Farewell to an Idea: Episodes from a History of Modernism.