Free Essay

1920's Art and Literature

In: Other Topics

Submitted By abbydelamotte
Words 663
Pages 3
Abby Delamotte
Mrs. Di Somma
American Cultures P.1
24 April 2011 To create something brilliant, there must be truth and reason. Artists hiding behind paper and art only kept the truth hidden. In the 1920’s Art and Literature revolutionized American Society by turning away from the traditional ways and exposing the reality of American life. Art that was being published in the twenties was a representation of a new and wide variety of the movements, forms and points of view. This decade was one that “produced many great works of art, music [and] literature” (Mintz). In the early twenties American culture stood in Europe’s shadow and towards the end Americans were leading the struggle to liberate the arts. Artists were ready to develop new structures, tastes and styles. Poets like E.E Cummings, Langston Hughes, and Wallace Stevens were experimenting with new writing styles and format. Artists were doing the same, Charles Demuth, Georgia O’Keefe, and Joseph Stella, by challenging the dominant and realist traditions in American art.
Not only did the techniques change but as did the genres. The 1920’s era was also an era of the Harlem Renaissance “a golden age in American Literature and significant developments” in other arts such as painting and music (Burg). Creativity exploded in Harlem and jazz came into being. Photographers captured the essence of Charles Demuth’s art work by pioneering expressionist art forms. Even as college enrollment doubled during this time period people began to veer away from the traditional ways of American culture. Truth and reality became a common genre in the artwork being published. The new tactics of perceiving reality that artists used came to be known as modernism in “[the] experimentation in techniques, freedom in ideas, originality in perceptions, and self-examination is emotions”(Topics). Braking away from the expected ways the art and literature took off to a whole new level.
Post war “big boom” brought a sense of hope to many Americans. As education and business flourished, the content and image of artists in America did as well. Always following in the footsteps of European artists the United States was slowly but steadily gaining recognition. By the late 1920’s American artists were being invited to display their brilliant artwork in Europe. Americans began to “f[a]ll in love with [art] and entertainment” (VanSpanckeven). In contrast to the 18th century, the 19th century artists began to boldly speak their minds. Authors began to focus more on the reality of American life. Literary authors “exposed the shallowness”, dullness and boorishness they mocked American Culture (Mintz). We see this today in movies and books that are courageously written containing material that exaggerates but exposes how American life is portrayed by others. The movie Mean Girls is a perfect example that mocks and at the same time exposes the reality of high school life in America. At the same time authors and painters also “shared [the] ambition to not just make their work new but an expression of the possibilities of American creativ[ity]” (Topics). A common genre that authors focused on revolved around portraying the tragedy that awaits those who live in flimsy dreams. Fitzgerald in his finest novel The Great Gatsby he used symbolism and irony in describing the “American dream” and what the consequences are when you get caught up in the social aspect of life. Working so hard to get the material things in order to impress and win over the public. Each character symbolized something different including greed, wealth, love, selfishness and shallowness which when put all together it represents the real “American dream”. The art and literature of the twenties had an impact on what we see today. We can practically feel the emotion the artists were trying to convey and we see the message they are sending through their works of art. Over time we have seen the artists grow more confident and much bolder in what they create for the public to see.

Similar Documents

Premium Essay

Harlem Renaissance

...The Harlem Renaissance's Impact on American Literature The Harlem Renaissance also known as the "New Negro Movement," was a cultural movement that spanned in the 1920's to the mid 1930's. It was a time in history that displayed the unique culture of African American expression, through literature, art, music, and dance. This African American culture grew out of Harlem, New York and symbolized freedom from the oppression of slavery. It was described as the spiritual coming of age in which African Americans had a chance to express their creativity. The Harlem Renaissance is noted as being a literary movement were African Americans could celebrate their heritage and reveal the truth about their life and the first time their literature was taken seriously by critics and publishers. The birth of the Harlem Renaissance came out of Harlem, New York in the early 1920's, "it was a time for a cultural celebration. African Americans had endured centuries of slavery and the struggle for abolition." (U.S History, 2008) It is described as racial pride and an intense desire for equality. It represented a time by the end of the war in 1919 where African Americans was going to be much more aggressive than their prewar brothers. Harlem was considered the capital of the black world, because it attracted thousands of blacks from the South and the West indies. It provided economic and education for African American artist. In Harlem, people demanded respect from those who continued to keep......

Words: 1061 - Pages: 5

Free Essay


...Modern Art or Modernism is the loose term given to the succession of styles and movements in art and architecture which dominated Western culture from 19th Century up until the 1960’s. Movements associated with Modern art include Impressionism, Cubism, Bauhaus, Surrealism, Futurism, Pop Art and Op Art. Modern Art rejects the past as a model for the art of the present and is characterized by constant innovation. Modern Art grew out of the Impressionist's rejection of the 'imitation of life' school of art. Their emphasis on the act of painting, on the paint itself, can be seen in the Expressionist and Cubist art of the turn-of-the-century.  Modern art was also often driven by various social and political agendas. These were often utopian, and modernism was in general associated with ideal visions of human life and society and a belief in progress. From the 1970’s artists and movements began to react against Modernism and post-modernism was formed. Some different types of the movements in art are: abstract, action art, American realism, architecture, art deco, and art nouveau, Asian, Bauhaus, black and white, celebrity, cityscape, colorful, comic book art, conceptual art, contemporary art, cubism, cuisine, exclusive, expressionism, fauvism, figurative, floral, framed prints, Modern art and many more. There were a lot of movements in the art industry ever since the beginning of Modern art which started in the 19th Century. Surrealism is a style of art and literature developed......

Words: 863 - Pages: 4

Free Essay

The Roaring Twenties

...Twenties, Jazz Age, and the Golden Years were names synonymous for the 1920’s. The economic boom after World War 1 liberated the American people resulting in an increase in population who were happy and worry-free. This inspired artists and writers to be creative. Some stories helped people dream and conquer all but others showed the hardships people faced. The Algonquin Round Table Journalists, editors, actors, and press agents met on a regular basis at the Algonquin Hotel in New York began meeting in June 1919 and continued fro eight years. They contributed to hit plays, bestselling books, and popular newspaper columns. They shared admiration for each other’s work. These people had very high standards and they were very outspoken, outrageous, and they often quoted one each other. This group began to fade away as The Great Depression neared. They were a great example of American artists F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote several stories with The Great Gatsby being his most famous work. This story helped inspire people to believe that they could dream anything and achieve it. Fitzgerald’s stories were mainly about people becoming very successful in the social and financial worlds, but they did not share the same prosperity and the morals. He also wrote This Side of Paradise. Unfortunately, not all books were happy and motivating. Several writers wrote about the hardships people faced in the 1920’s. In Alain Locke’s The New Negro, Locke wrote about the hopeless......

Words: 792 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

The Harlem Renaissance

...Analyzing the Harlem Renaissance Spahne J. Jenkins Prof. Bryant August 3, 2010 Comp 1302 The Harlem Renaissance, (1920’s – mid 1930’s) was a movement that created black cultural acknowledgement for artist. In Harlem, a neighborhood in the city of New York, Alain Locke became the center of this movement for black artist. Locke transformed the way of thinking for black artists during The Harlem Renaissance, not only opened the doors for other black writers, it made away for blacks in the now generation, in comparison with the civil rights movement. The Harlem Renaissance started the beginning of the post World War II part of the Civil Rights movement. These transitions created forward movement for black artist literature. In studying the African American culture, the 1920’s was a time when blacks and white Americans discovered the uniqueness of black art, music and literature. Many people that spoke French were black writers from African and Caribbean colonies. Also they lived in Paris and were influenced by the Renaissance, so they built they’re confidence and continued working harder on their gift. Contributing factors before the Harlem Renaissance was The Great Migration of African Americans to the northern parts of the U. S. These cities included: Chicago, Cleveland, New York, and Philadelphia, which this movement forced employers to create jobs for lots of people. The breakthrough of the Harlem Renaissance actually began in the late 1917. Plays written by......

Words: 430 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay

Lit Essay

...In the 1920’s there was a cultural movement that came about known as the Harlem Renaissance, which was also known as The New Negro Movement, named after Alain Locke in 1925 for his literature work. It is called the Harlem Renaissance due to the fact that it was the biggest district affected in the New African-American cultural expression which was also a part of the movement. Black francophone writers that originated from Africa and different parts of the Caribbean that lived in Paris played a big role in The Harlem Renaissance. Harlem was mainly a black neighborhood which attracted a wide variety of literary writers. Even though racism still was present in Harlem, the community was too diverse for cultural authority, thus making it an ideal area for cultural experiment. Three important things that allowed the Harlem Renaissance to happen so successfully were It was the most famous city situated in the western hemisphere known for publishing, word renowned ports, and the most financial and cultural capital in the U.S. African art used to portray stories also came about from the Harlem Renaissance due to an artist of the 20th century by the name of Pablo Picasso. Black history was first celebrated during the Harlem Renaissance in 1928. Langston Hughes was the most famous writer that was a part of this renaissance. He connected with his people by discussing the needs, desires and beauty of the community. Langston argued that the renaissance in the 1920’s were too racist and...

Words: 290 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay

The Harlem Renaissance

...The Harlem Renaissance The end of World War I set up conditions for a new culture to emerge. Due to the abundance of jobs the war created, many African-Americans moved to the northern cities. In fact, so many of them moved up north, they created strong African-American communities, including Harlem in New York City. During the 1920’s, Harlem became the Mecca of Black culture and was home to many talented individuals from all fields. Roughly lasting from the end of World War I to the stock market crash in 1929, the Harlem Renaissance was the time period in which black literature was first taken seriously and published by mainstream companies. Even though the Harlem Renaissance focused mainly on literature, it is also strongly related to the advances in African-American music, art and politics of the 1920’s. Although there were many themes associated with the works of the Harlem Renaissance, the four topics of interest that were focused on were, a longing for Africa, the beauty of African-Americans, the racism of the time and demonstrating that they too experienced universal concepts. Many African-Americans of the time began wondering about their ancestral past, prior to slavery, and looked to Africa for inspiration. Many African-Americans saw Africa as their original homeland and a place where blacks where not discriminated and oppressed. In the poem “Heritage,” Countie Cullen wrote “What is Africa to Me?,” a common question African-Americans were asking at the time. He......

Words: 1732 - Pages: 7

Premium Essay

Blacks in Paris During the 1920s

...Blacks World Spotlight: on the International Stage in the 1920s During World War I the United States bought nearly 200,000 African-American soldiers to France. Majority of the African American soldiers were from the southern region of the United States of America. Many Blacks stayed after the war, generating a permanent Black population in France. The ending of the First World War also marked the beginning of the New Negro Movement or Harlem Renaissance in the United States. During this time African Americans emerged as talented, creative intellectuals leaving their footprint on 1920s America. While much focus of the New Negro Movement is centered in the United States, it indeed was an international affair. The purpose of this research is to examine how a number of African Americans launched their creative debut from the international stage of Paris, France. Additional focus will center on black artists turning to Africa as a source and facture in the art. Last but not least, the effort of Author Schomburg to collect and house international works about blacks will be addressed. Utterly intrigued by African Americans and thoroughly consumed with their talents, the French displayed a respect for Blacks unseen in the United States. While a great number of African-American soldiers remain in Paris, many journeyed back to the United States. Those soldiers certainly were not greeted by change. The United States remained the same racially tensed nation. If there was any change,......

Words: 3126 - Pages: 13

Premium Essay

Harringtons Narration on Poetry

...shifted from rather an everyday outlet or enjoyment to that of a scholarly, more objectified and purposeless craft. He starts his overview explaining how F.O. Matthiessen is left having “discovered a renaissance for American Literature that did not include poets,” (Harrington P.496) besides a sole exclusion: Walt Whitman. Poetry has always hung on the precipice of whether being literature or not; swayed, back and forth, by the changing movements of the decades. I’ve come to understand after reading Harrington that poetry is constantly being redefined and reorganized by its place in society and its critics. Yet generally over the last several or more decades its’ art has remained secular from what is knows as ‘American Literature’. Harrington believes “the institutional history of poetry in the US suggests both the importance and the genealogy of the literary- critical split between American poetry and American literature,” (Harrington P. 496.). He notes that poetry used to play a crucial role in cultural conflicts and almost digesting the current day-to-day. He then goes on to argue in which I agree, that by now holding aside poetry as something less in turn stripping its influence on us, literature to us is a contradictory thing. Not including poetry in literature for the people reading it is silly for the two are so intertwined. So much fiction has taken from or found inspiration from poetry. Harrington states this notion, “As a social form, poetry is not simply a......

Words: 1601 - Pages: 7

Premium Essay


...The early part of the twentieth century ushered in several profoundly evolving styles of painting. Cubism, Expressionism, Futurism, and Dada could assault the senses and offend the viewer’s ideals while simultaneously extracting intense emotions. These movements were based on the beliefs that the artist could express their emotions directly to the viewer through the art, and that art should not be restricted by reason and social limitations. With a kind of nihilistic approach, and an almost selfish attitude, these new styles were the first to present a truly individualist nature. This unique take on artistic expression led to the formation of the Surrealist movement in the 1920’s. Surrealism, as defined by the Collins English Dictionary, is: “a movement in art and literature in the 1920s, which developed especially [sic] from dada, characterized by the evocative juxtaposition of incongruous images in order to include unconscious and dream elements.” Although he was not limited to one particular style, or even one particular medium, no one artist is more identifiable with surrealist paintings than Salvador Dali. His surreal works, which he calls “hand-painted dream photographs,” are filled with images, often grotesque, over stretching landscapes which in and of themselves could send a viewer into a cycle of deep contemplation. Dali’s most famous painting of this type is The Persistence of Memory, oil on canvas, 1931. The small canvas, only 9½ x 13 inches, shows us......

Words: 635 - Pages: 3

Free Essay

Iwt Task 1

...understand the music of the Harlem Renaissance and the Pop Art periods. The social conditions that influenced the art and the characteristics of the artists’ style were in many ways similar; however, with advancing technology, they had differing struggles to overcome. The Harlem Renaissance was sparked by the Great Migration from 1919 – 1926 in which African Americans began moving to northern cities to find employment and a better way of life. The musicians of this era were very influential in renewing the culture and history of the United States. Jazz, race, and class divided Harlem and New York cities. Some historians have said the best way to understand the Harlem Renaissance is by understanding the music (; With the roots of jazz coming from slave songs, it is truly an African-American invention. This newly formed music utilized the dissonant “blue” note. This modification to the to the standard major scale allowed the musician to play the note flat; usually the third, fifth, or seventh note of the scale. Music critic Sidney Finkelstein stated, “It expresses the hope and struggle for freedom, the vitality which enables a people to wrest joy out of misery and to assert the triumph of human beings over the obstacles that would grind them down.” ("MindEdge," 2014) Jazz was the sound of the 1920’s; with the Roaring Twenties, individuality blossomed......

Words: 2036 - Pages: 9

Premium Essay

Prevailing Philosophies and Psychosocial Dimensions of Philippine Contemporary Novels in English

...Philippine Contemporary Novels in English Chapter I – Introduction Philippine contemporary novels or literature in general is an offshoot of the Philippine-American War or what is coined as the Philippine War of Independence which transpired from 1899 to 1902. As early as 1863, the Spanish colonizers have introduced the public elementary school system to the Philippines. During the American colonization, U.S. soldiers have started layering down the bricks as foundation of the public school system in the Philippines when they opened the first public school in the Philippines at Corregidor Island. On January 21, 1901, the Taft Commission headed by William Howard Taft, passed the Education Act No. 34 that incepted the Department of Public Instruction. William Howard Taft was also given the responsibility of expanding the public school system in and around the Philippines. On August 21, 1901; around 600 American educators or “Thomasites” were sent to the Philippines by the U.S Government aboard the USAT Thomas whose main purpose is to integrate a new and expanded public school system, to train and hone Filipino teachers with the use of English as the primary medium of instruction, and to inculcate basic education to Filipinos. The American educators taught an extensive curriculum which cover subjects on English, Grammar, Reading, Mathematics, Agriculture, Housekeeping and Related Arts (cooking, sewing, and crocheting), Drawing (Mechanical and Freehand), Athletics......

Words: 3124 - Pages: 13

Premium Essay

The Renaissance

...beautiful works of art, paintings and portraits, of people in this Era of time. This time is around the 1920’s. Jazz music from this Era became very popular. One of the portraits we chose in this power point was Mona Lisa. We chose her because she was one of the major works of art in this Era. It is Located in an Art museum in Paris, France. There was a tragedy where the portrait of Mona Lisa was STOLEN from the Museum then people went to search for it and found it, now it is back in the Museum. There are myths about how Leonardo Da Vinci has a hidden portrait of himself. Behind it all the texture of the paints. This portrait was made from oils. Another painting we chose was a portrait of A lady with a baby Unicorn. This portrait was inspired by the Mona Lisa, a previous painting by Raphael. It took Raphael 3 years to paint his work of Art. This symbolizes Purity. This painting is located in a Museum in Paris, France. The third one is a portrait named Ginevra De’ Benci. This portrait was located in Florence. The oil’s and wood’s it was made with made it look different. This painting was acquired by National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. It is worth over 5 Million dollars! This portrait is the only painting by Leonardo Da Vinci’s left in America. This last portrait is called Cecilia Gallerina. She was born into a large family. She was known as the Doctor of Laws. She was educated along side of her six brothers in Latin Language, also in Literature. She was a......

Words: 360 - Pages: 2

Free Essay

Surrealism and Salvador Dali

...Rachel Mendelson Final EssayArt Appreciation Fall 2012 Art Movement -Surrealism “Although the dream is a very strange phenomenon and an inexplicable mystery, far more inexplicable is the mystery and aspect of our minds confer on certain objects and aspects of life.” g. de Chirico Surrealism is a style of art in which the artist use the element of surprise and unexpected juxtapositions to evoke the imagination and mystery of the subconscious mind. Its intent was to create a liberated mind by the portrayal of everyday reality in an imaginative, dream-like manner. The surrealism art movement is one that included Freudian theories of the unconscious mind, and defy the standards society dictates through questioning what we know as logic, and exploring the fantasies of our imaginations. The surrealist movement, beginning in the 1920's, was based largely on the Dada movement preceding it and which produced works of art that deliberately defied reason. Surrealism developed primarily from the activities during World War I with the most important center of the movement beingParis. From the 1920s onward, the movement spread around the globe, eventually affecting the visual arts, literature, film, and music of many countries and languages, as well as political thought and practice, philosophy, and social theory. Surrealists feasted on the unconscious. They believed that Freud's theories on dreams, ego, superego and the id opened doors to the authentic self and a...

Words: 834 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

How Are Women Reflected in Art and Literature at the Turn of the 19th/20th Century?

...In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, the role of women began to change drastically. Woman began to rally for rights, and suffrage became more popular. Woman became more independent, and they weren’t afraid or ashamed to even go so far as to be jailed for their protests. It wasn’t until 1920 when the Nineteenth Amendment that is finally became unlawful for individual states or the government to deny women the right to vote. Along with these political changes came overall changes in the way that woman were reflected. Writers began to endorse women’s liberation and equality. Literature and plays during the modernism era were often considered scandalous. Marriage was one subject of writers of the period. A Doll’s House, by Henrik Ibsen, was a play about a woman who was treated childishly by her husband and father, and in the end she leaves her husband. It was so controversial, that the play had to be rewritten to include and ending where she stayed for the sake of her children. It is considered to be the first feminist play. Other writers helped society accept the role of women outside of the home. Women no longer wanted to be viewed as domestic, but instead wanted do things that showed their intelligence and skills. The Yellow Wallpaper, by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, was written during this time. It was a satirical story that symbolized the oppression of women. Art and literature during this time depicted the changes in women, addressing marriage, divorce,......

Words: 293 - Pages: 2

Free Essay

Tradition and Individual Talent

...Tradition and the Individual Talent (1920) by T. S. Eliot Introduction Often hailed as the successor to poet-critics such as John Dryden, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and Matthew Arnold, T.S. Eliot’s literary criticism informs his poetry just as his experiences as a poet shape his critical work. Though famous for insisting on “objectivity” in art, Eliot’s essays actually map a highly personal set of preoccupations, responses and ideas about specific authors and works of art, as well as formulate more general theories on the connections between poetry, culture and society. Perhaps his best-known essay, “Tradition and the Individual Talent” was first published in 1919 and soon after included in The Sacred Wood: Essays on Poetry and Criticism (1920). Eliot attempts to do two things in this essay: he first redefines “tradition” by emphasizing the importance of history to writing and understanding poetry, and he then argues that poetry should be essentially “impersonal,” that is separate and distinct from the personality of its writer. Eliot’s idea of tradition is complex and unusual, involving something he describes as “the historical sense” which is a perception of “the pastness of the past” but also of its “presence.” For Eliot, past works of art form an order or “tradition”; however, that order is always being altered by a new work which modifies the “tradition” to make room for itself. This view, in which “the past should be altered by the present as much as the present is...

Words: 973 - Pages: 4