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The World New Made: Figurative Painting in the Twentieth Century

The World New Made: Figurative Painting in the Twentieth Century

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Figurative painting is due a reappraisal. From the early 1950s to the early 1980s, figurative painters were cast as conservative throwbacks and outdated survivors. In The World New Made, Timothy Hyman argues that figuration never went away; abstraction was just one of the ways by which artists renewed pictorial language.

The World New Made is an in-depth exploration of over 130 specific paintings, and accompanying artists’ writings. Focusing on the work of more than fifty painters, Hyman presents a collective ‘Resistance’ of artists who together offer a human-centred alternative to the dominance of the Abstract or the Conceptual in conventional narratives of modern art.

He guides the reader through the art movements of the last century to show the development of a new kind of figuration, with Matisse, Picasso, Rousseau, Bacon, Edward Burra, Anselm Kiefer, Jack Yeats, Paula Rego, Lucian Freud, Red Grooms, Neo Rauch, Howard Hodgkin and others all staking out their separate territories.

This lavishly illustrated new book – distilled from many decades of looking and writing – brings these often-marginalized artists centre stage. Together they offer a counter-argument to Western formalism, and a foundation for the painters of the 21st century.

Timothy Hyman is an art critic and historian, as well as a painter. He was elected a Royal Academician in 2011 and is an honorary research fellow at University College London. He is the author of Bonnard and Sienese Painting, both published by Thames & Hudson.

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