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books

Paris Without End

Paris without End: On French Art since World War I by Jed Perl, Berkeley, Calif: North Point Press, 1988, 160 pp., 50 black and white illustrations.

IN THIS STRONG COLLECTION of essays, Jed Perl calls attention to the work of first- and second-generation Modernists done in the wake of the revolutionary years before and during World War I. Historians have tended to look askance at some of the art that followed the war—at Henri Matisse’s Nice paintings, say, only recently resurrected in critical terms with a large show organized last year by the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. The work of the rappel à l’ordre is still widely seen as less “Modern” and less rigorous than the earlier production, as self-indulgent, regressive, and somewhat bourgeois. Perl acknowledges the element of truth in this assessment: “The heroic period of modern art, buried with the war dead, gave way in the

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