Structuring an Art Course: Justification of Texts
To structure an outstanding course in Impressionism and Post-Impressionism the instructor should seek out materials which cover its most elemental points as well as the latest developments in the field. In the case of an art history course this implies offering students books which both outline the history and traditions of the era as well as newer approaches which often question and broaden the premises (with their subtle and often undetected biases) of these earlier works. To that end, in structuring a course on Impressionism and Post-Impressionism, a strong mix of the traditional and progressive might consist of the classical John Rewald's Studies in Impressionism, Francis Frascina's Modernism and modernity: French painting in the nineteenth century, T. J. Clark's The Absolute bourgeois: Artists and politics in France (1848-1851) and a choice of either a) Norma Broude's Impressionism: A Feminist reading, the gendering of art, science and nature in the nineteenth century; b) Richard Shiff's Cézanne and the end of Impressionism; c) Modernism and hegemony: A materialist critique of aesthetic agencies; d) Charles Baudelaire's The painter of modern life and other essays as the fourth book.
In conjunction with the above texts, students would be assigned these four supplementary essays: 1) Griselda Pollock's "What can we say about Cézanne these days?"; 2) Charles Bernheimer's "Manet's Olympia: The figuration of scandal" in Figures of ill repute: Representing prostitution in nineteenth-
century France; 3) Meyer Schapiro's "Courbet and popular imagery: An essay on Realism and naiveté"; 4) Linda Nochlin's "A house is not a home: Degas and the subversion of family" in Dealing with Degas: Representations of women and the politics of vision. Rewald's Studies in Impressionism (1985) offers a basic and not-too-intimidating first introduction to such main Impression-i...