Jean-Claude Lebensztejn

  • Malcom Morley, Race Track, 1970, acrylic on canvas, 68 7/8 x 86 5/8".


    TO BE A STUDENT OF ART HISTORY IN PARIS DURING THE EARLY ’80S WAS not especially exhilarating, but for me Jean-Claude Lebensztejn’s courses at Nanterre University and at the Ecole Normale Supérieure, like Hubert Damisch’s seminars at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, were exceptions. I remember his classes, devoted to the beginnings of abstract art and to Romanticism, in which knowledge was mobilized not to anesthetize the subject but, on the contrary, to reconstruct in lively fashion the artistic stakes for Mondrian, Constable, Caspar David Friedrich, Novalis, and Nerval. In