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Against realism

May 1884 saw the publication in Paris of a fin de sie`cle novel that became a perverse sensation on the European cultural scene. A Rebours (translated both as Against the Grain and Against Nature) by Joris-Karl Huysmans was written as a seductive textbook of decadence, an antidote to the "banality" of the dominant literary styles, Naturalism and Realism. Symbolism, whose influence would endure well into the modernist era, was an artistic religion-substitute, a spiritually charged cult of beauty. A Symbolist picture or sculpture is deliberately mysterious. In place of intellectual comprehension, the work seeks to have the beholder experience its esoteric depths like a vision. It is no wonder that Symbolists created some of the most fascinating artworks of their age.

Featured artists: Arnold Bo"cklin, Edward Burne-Jones, Puvis de Chavannes, Thomas Cole, Jean Delville, Maurice Denis, James Ensor, George Frampton, Paul Gauguin, Ferdinand Hodler, Ernst Josephson, Fernand Khnopff, Gustav Klimt, Max Klinger, Georg Kolbe, Frantisek Kupka, Frederick Lord Leighton, Jacek Malczewski, Hans von Marees, James Abbot McNeill Whistler, Piet Mondrian, Gustave Moreau, Edvard Munch, Ne"stor, William Degouve de Nunques, Pablo Picasso, Odilon Redon, Fe"licien Rops, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Giovanni Segantini, Charles van der Stappen, Franz von Stuck, Fe"lix Vallotton, Elihu Vedder, and Georg Frederick Watts

About the Series:
Each book in TASCHEN"s Basic Genre Series features:

* a detailed introduction with approximately 35 photographs, plus a timeline of the most important events (political, cultural, scientific, etc. ) that took place during the time period
* a selection of the most important works of the epoch; each is presented on a 2-page spread with a full-page image and, on the facing page, a description/interpretation of the work and brief biography of the artist as well as additional information such as a reference work, portrait of the artist, and/or citations

About the author:
Norbert Wolf gratuated in art history, linguistics and medieval studies at the universities of Regensburg and Munich, and earned his PhD in 1983. He held visiting professorships in Marburg, Frankfurt, Leipzig, Du"sseldorf, Nuremberg-Erlangen, and Innsbruck. His extensive writings on art history include many TASCHEN titles, such as Diego Vela"zquez, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Caspar David Friedrich, Expressionism, Romanesque, Landscape Painting and Symbolism.
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