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Modernism and the MuseumAsian, African, and Pacific Art and the London Avant-Garde$
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Rupert Richard Arrowsmith

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199593699

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199593699.001.0001

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‘The More Serious Art that One Likes’

‘The More Serious Art that One Likes’

T. E. Hulme, Jacob Epstein, and the Making of a Global Classicism

(p.164) 7 ‘The More Serious Art that One Likes’
Modernism and the Museum

Rupert Richard Arrowsmith

Oxford University Press

This chapter shows that the development of T. E. Hulme's mature philosophy was highly dependent on alterations in the way he interpreted the art of various periods and cultures. His early fixation on the ideas of Henri Bergson is seen to go hand in hand with a belief that Renaissance painting, with its implied emphasis on progress, represented the highest form of visual culture. New evidence is presented showing that an encounter with Jacob Epstein's Tomb of Oscar Wilde, based on Assyrian and Egyptian aesthetics, was what suggested to him that stasis —both in art and in society —was an attractive and desirable attribute. Hulme saw Epstein's work as a positive reawakening in twentieth-century Europe of an attitude compatible with the hieratic modes of government he admired in certain Asian civilizations of the past, and proposed a new definition of the word ‘classical’ to reflect this attitude.

Keywords:   T. E. Hulme, Jacob Epstein, classical, Henri Bergson, Charles Maurras, Action Francaise, Modernist sculpture, Assyrian art, Egypt, Oscar Wilde

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