PRINT December 1983


LATELY THE INTERNATIONALISM OF PAST vanguard movements has been opposed to the nostalgia of local traditions. Why stop there—in this age of computers and television, why not resurrect the costumes worn by the great-grandparents of the Bavarian and Prussian figurative artists? Ethics and esthetics are one and the same thing. They belong to the realm of value judgments. If a work produced by the pen or the brush does not generate a poem, why bother with it? In his Renaissance and Renascences in Western Art (1972), Erwin Panofsky notes that in times “when artistic problems become so profound that they lead to an impasse, and when the same presuppositions continue to act as starting points, major reactions are generally produced, or even major backward steps.”

Les Réalismes 1919–39,” an exhibition at the Centre Georges Pompidou several years ago, was subtitled “Between Revolution and Reaction.”

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