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Art and Visual Culture on the French Riviera, 1956-1971: The Ecole de Nice
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Art and Visual Culture on the French Riviera, 1956-1971: The Ecole de Nice (Hardback)

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Synopsis

The Riviera in the 1950s and 1960s was culturally rich with modernist icons such as Matisse and Picasso in residence, but also a burgeoning tourist culture, that established the Cote d'Azur as a center of indigenous artists associated with Nouveau Realisme, Fluxus, and Supports/Surfaces, emerged under the mantle of the "Ecole de Nice." Drawing on the primary sources and little known publications generated during the period from museum archives, collections in the region, and privately owned archives, this study integrates material published in monographic studies of individuals and art movements, to offer the first in-depth study of this important movement in twentieth-century art. The author situates the work of the Ecole de Nice within the broader social currents that are so important in contextualizing this phenomenon within this internal region of France, and underscores why this work was so significant at this historical moment within the context of the broader European art scene, and contemporary American art, with which it shared affinities. Despite their stylistic differences, and associations with groups that are generally considered distinct, O'Neill discloses that these artists shared conceptual affinities"theatrical modes of presentation based on appropriation, use of the ready-made, and a determination to counter style-driven painting associated with the postwar Ecole de Paris. Art and Visual Culture on the Riviera, 1956-1971 suggests that the emergence of an Ecole de Nice internally eroded the dominance of Paris as the national standard at this moment of French decentralization efforts, and that these artists fostered a model of aesthetic pluralism that remained locally distinct yet fully engaged with international vanguard trends of the 1960s.

Rosemary O'Neill is Associate Professor of Art History at Parsons The New School for Design, USA.

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