Marxism and the History of Art

Marxism and the History of Art : From William Morris to the New Left

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This book is the first comprehensive introduction to Marxist approaches to art history. Although the aesthetic was a crucial part of Marx and Engels's thought, they left no full statement on the arts. Although there is an abundant scholarship on Marxist approaches to literature, the historiography of the visual arts has been largely neglected.

This book encompasses a range of influential thinkers and historians including William Morris, Mikhail Lifshits, Frederick Antal, Francis Klingender, Max Raphael, Meyer Schapiro, Walter Benjamin, Henri Lefebvre and Arnold Hauser. It also addresses the heritage of the New Left. In the spirit of Marxism, the authors interpret the achievements and limitations of Marxist art history in relation to the historical and political circumstances of its production, providing an indispensable introduction to contemporary radical practices in the field.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 288 pages
  • 150 x 230 x 28.19mm | 453.59g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • New.
  • 0745323308
  • 9780745323305

Table of contents


1. Introduction: Marxism and Art History after the New Left by Andrew Hemingway

2. William Morris: Decoration and Materialism by Caroline Arscott

3. Mikhail Lifshits: A Marxist Conservative by Stanley Mitchell

4. Frederick Antal by Paul Stirton

5. Art as Social Consciousness: Francis Klingender and British Art by David Bindman

6. Max Raphael: Aesthetics and Politics by Stanley Mitchell

7. Walter Benjamin's Essay on Eduard Fuchs: An Art-Historical Perspective by Frederic J. Schwartz

8. Meyer Schapiro: Marxism, Science and Art by Andrew Hemingway

9. Henri Lefebvre and the Moment of the Aesthetic by Marc Leger

10. Arnold Hauser, Adorno, Lukacs and the Ideal Spectator by John Roberts

11. New Left Art History and Fascism in Germany by Jutta Held

12. The Turn from Marx to Warburg in West German Art History, 1968-90 by Otto Karl Werckmeister

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Review quote

'No other book has ever attempted this ambitious project with such care and intelligence' -- Professor Barbara McCloskey, University of Pittsburgh
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About Andrew Hemingway

Andrew Hemingway is Professor of History of Art at University College London. He is the editor of Marxism and the History of Art (Pluto, 2006) and author of Artists on the Left: American Artists and the Communist Movement, 1926-56 (2002).
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