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British Modernism and Chinoiserie$
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Anne Witchard

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780748690954

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748690954.001.0001

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Introduction: ‘the lucid atmosphere of fine Cathay’

Introduction: ‘the lucid atmosphere of fine Cathay’

(p.1) Introduction: ‘the lucid atmosphere of fine Cathay’
British Modernism and Chinoiserie

Anne Witchard

Edinburgh University Press

The introduction maps out the place of chinoiserie in the upheavals of early-twentieth century artistic consciousness. As the basic tenets of Realism became increasingly challenged by Modernist questioning, chinoiserie ‘absurdities’ offered the Modernist artist escape from Realism’s transcriptively referential constraints. The term has historically been confined to the decorative arts and critically overlooked as a somewhat moribund style. As a consequence, the continuities between chinoiserie and its role in Modernist ways of looking or seeing have been paid little attention. The introduction will suggest a new theoretical attention to chinoiserie as crucial to the re-visioning of the Modernist eye.

Keywords:   Realism, Modernist eye, chinoiserie

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