Europe After the Rain: Post-War Art

Subject AHIS40005 (2011)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2011.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 4 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2011.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 2
Total Time Commitment: 120
Prerequisites: Admission to the postgraduate diploma or fourth-year honours in Art History or the Master of Art Curatorship.
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry.

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Anthony White

Subject Overview:

This subject, which takes its name from a Max Ernst painting of 1942 showing a ruined landscape, examines selected artists and art movements in Europe from the occupation of France in 1940 to the late 1960s. Opposing the idea that New York stole the idea of modern art after WWII, in this subject the post-war decades in Europe are viewed as a period of extraordinary artistic and cultural ferment. It introduces students to the way in which artists reacted to the catastrophe of WWII and deals with several issues relevant to the analysis of art during this period, including the legacy of the historic avant-gardes, the aftermath of fascism, the demand to make socially relevant art, the rising cultural and economic influence of the USA, and the effect of the Cold War. It explores art practices in several countries, including France, Italy, Germany and the United Kingdom, focusing on the work of artists such as Pablo Picasso, Lucio Fontana, Willi Baumeister, and Eduardo Paolozzi. A broad range of genres and techniques of painting and sculpture will be examined, including surrealism, concrete art, matter painting, informal painting, neo-dada, and installation art. On completion of the subject students should have an understanding of selected artists and movements in Europe between 1940 and 1970 and be able to apply a range of art historical approaches to the study of art in relationship to its social and political context.


Students who complete this subject will:

  • have an understanding of the major art practices and theories in Europe from 1940 to 1965;
  • be able to recognise the work of specific artists and artistic movements of the period and explain them in relation to their social and political context; and
  • have developed an appreciation for a range of art historical approaches to studying the relationship between art, society and politics in European post-war art.
Assessment: 1000 word paper, based on an in-class presentation 20% (due during the semester), and a 4000 word research essay 80% (due during the examination period). Students are required to attend a minimum of 75% of classes in order to qualify to have their written work assessed. All required written work must be submitted in order to pass the subject.
Prescribed Texts:

A subject reader will be available.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

Students who successfully complete this subject will:

  • be able to conduct independent research using catalogued sources and bibliographical indexes;
  • have developed their ability to think creatively and express their ideas clearly in written communication; and
  • have developed their skills in verbal communication and oral presentation.
Related Course(s): Master of Art Curatorship (Coursework and Minor Thesis)
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Art History
Art History
Art History
Art History

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