Transatlantic Encounters: Latin American Artists in Paris between the Wars

Book synopsis:

Paris was the artistic capital of the world in the 1920s and ’30s, providing a home and community for the French and international avant-garde, whose experiments laid the groundwork for artistic production throughout the rest of the century. Latin American artists contributed to and reinterpreted nearly every major modernist movement that took place in the creative center of Paris between World War I and World War II, including Cubism (Diego Rivera), Surrealism (Antonio Berni and Roberto Matta), and Constructivism (Joaquín Torres-García). Yet their participation in the Paris art scene has remained largely overlooked until now. This vibrant book examines their collective role, surveying the work of both household names and an extraordinary array of lesser-known artists. Author Michele Greet illuminates the significant ways in which Latin American expatriates helped establish modernism and, conversely, how a Parisian environment influenced the development of Latin American artistic identity. These artists, hailing from former Spanish and Portuguese colonies, encountered expectations of primitivism from their European audiences, and their diverse responses to such biased perceptions—ranging from rejection to embrace to selective reinterpretation of European tendencies—yielded a rich variety of formal innovation. Magnificently illustrated and conveying with clarity a nuanced portrait of modernism, Transatlantic Encounters also engages in a wider discussion of the relationship between displacement, identity formation, and artistic production. 

Michele Greet is Associate Professor of modern Latin American art at George Mason University and Director of the Art History program. She is also president of the Association for Latin American Art. She is the author of Transatlantic Encounters: Latin American Artists in Paris between the Wars, 1918-1939 (Yale University Press: 2018) and Beyond National Identity: Pictorial Indigenism as a Modernist Strategy in Andean Art, 1920-1960 (Penn State University Press: 2009). She is co-editor, with Gina McDaniel Tarver, of the anthology Art Museums of Latin America: Structuring Representation (Routledge: 2018). She has lectured widely on modern Latin American art and published articles in national and international journals including Papers of Surrealism, Journal for Surrealism and the Americas, Artelogie, and Journal of Curatorial Studies. She has also written exhibition catalogue essays for El Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes (Mexico City), Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and El Museo del Barrio.

Link to project website (maps and database):

http://chnm.gmu.edu/transatlanticencounters/

One thought on “Transatlantic Encounters: Latin American Artists in Paris between the Wars

  • October 5, 2018 at 10:45 pm
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    Michele — I’m so eager to learn more about your book and in particular your sense of how the transatlantic figures against these negotiations of modernism and primitivism. Also how the website related to the book and the visual and historical material and if it reshaped your argument in any way or served more as a communications tool of your analysis. Look forward to hearing more and discussing! — Michael

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