Gwybodaeth Modiwlau

Module Identifier
Module Title
Art in Europe and America: Modernism 1900-1950
Academic Year
Semester 1
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 11 x 2 Hour Lectures


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Essay  2500 word essay (complete with full picture referencing and captioning as well as other critical appartus, referencing and bibliography).  70%
Semester Assessment Written Research Test  1000 word written research test to offer definitions of key art historical terms  30%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

Demonstrate knowledge of key issues in European and American art and their wider cultural and social contexts in the period 1900-1950

Demonstrate an understanding of key concepts and theories, style labels, movements, critical texts and the historical contexts for the production of art

Frame a response to questions and develop a written argument on appropriate material in both essay and examination answers
Demonstrate a sound knowledge of appropriate bibliographic and other research materials

Develop critical skills and language through the following activities: the close reading of set texts for seminar discussion; the formulation of a considered response to the essay questions


This module is core for second year Art History students. It is designed to provide a comprehensive overview of the visual arts in Europe and the USA between 1900 and 1950 in their social, cultural and intellectual contexts.

Brief description

This module provides a comprehensive survey of European art and its social and cultural contexts from 1900-1950. It explores key issues in the visual arts and material culture within their wider cultural contexts in order to stimulate an understanding of a range of political, social and institutional forces, such as: the emerging role of the avant-garde artist, the rise of a concept of Modernism in art, music and popular culture; the effects of war on European cultural life; the impact of European migration upon an emerging 'New York School'.


10 hours of lectures, 5 of seminars

The lecture topics will cover the historical material in roughly chronological order while, at the same time, be broadly theatic in content. This will allow for some cross-referencing between lecture topics. The seminars will typically consist of group discussion of key texts and/or key works of art that relate to contextual issues, historical and current criticism and theory, and manifestos of movements or 'schools' of art. Together, the two forms of delivery will provide an in-depth account of the issues arising in the period 1900-50.

Typically, lectures will cover the following topics:

  1. Paris 1900-10: Experimentations in Painting
  2. Expressionism and Abstraction in Moscow and Berlin
  3. British Art & Modernism: Exhibitions and Critics 1900-14
  4. 'The Violent Muse': The Avant-garde and World War 1
  5. Dada and Anti-art
  6. Surrealism: Painting, Poetry and Psychoanalysis
  7. Germany & the Nazification of Art
  8. Responses to War: British Art, 1939-45
  9. Post-War European Art: the Ecole de Paris, Art Brut & CoBrA
  10. New York: Jazz, Beats and Abstractionists

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number
Communication Taught (lectures and seminars) and in written assignments
Improving own Learning and Performance Reflecting upon the outcome of the earlier, shorter formative assessment to develop skills in the larger written assignment and through discussion in seminars
Information Technology As above (2: Research Skills) particularly in the use of museum websites to research objects and images
Personal Development and Career planning The module will highlight the importance of picture research, visual analysis and the development of professional writing skills stressing these as necessary for the development of a career as a professional art historian working in diverse areas of the discipline, such as museums, art galleries and universities. There is also some stress upon the accurate use of appropriate art historical terminology, social historical and other contextual information and dates
Problem solving
Research skills The written assessments require effective use of library and internet facilities, in particular, the use of image banks and museum websites
Subject Specific Skills Visual literacy, visual and verbal analysis
Team work Through group work for seminar readings


This module is at CQFW Level 5