The philosopher Richard Wollheim died in London on November 4, , at the age of 80, having taught at the University of California, Berkeley from till the spring of and having served as chairman of the Department of Philosophy from to From to he was a soldier in the Second World War and was briefly taken a prisoner of war but eventually managed to escape. In a memoir soon to be published, Wollheim has given a vivid account of this phase of his life which included his participation in the liberation of the German concentration camp at Bergen-Belsen. From to , Wollheim taught philosophy at University College, London, where in he became Grote Professor of Mind and Logic and permanent head of the department. After his retirement from University College he was a professor of philosophy at Columbia University from to
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What has gone virtually unnoticed in the literature on s art, however, is that minimal art for Wollheim designates the point where painting the medium to which Wollheim has devoted attention , regardless of its historical or stylistic affiliations, is almost not an art. The idea that a correspondence of material form and meaning is essential to artistic representation, ostensibly challenged by the putative minimality of s art, has long engaged Wollheim.
This is the central problem in his philosophical aesthetics. This broadening constituted the ground zero not only of art making, but also of its viewing and interpretation.
In the second of these, Wollheim responds to the ideas set forth in the other essays. It is this dual tension that precipitates the grounds that constitute, for Alpers, our engagement with and to artworks. If anything, a shortcoming of this book is that it fails to provide an adequate overview of the paintings that have long held Wollheim in their grip.
Aesthetics comes alive when Wollheim works through the available evidence of painters engaged with paint and canvas: Wayne Thiebaud, Richard Diebenkorn, Leon Kossoff, Hans Hofmann, and David Hockney, to name a few. As a critic, Wollheim asks such questions as: What is the meaning of such evidence apart from a spectator knowing that marks were made on canvas?
What is the nature of this knowledge? Are marks necessarily expressive? What does the spectator gain from apprehending such information? That a painting-event was performed and an object-painting remains as a result?
Or that the object-painting expresses a state attributable to the artist as he or she worked? Wollheim has indeed paid careful attention to the constituitive relationship between the material and the conceptual aspects of painting, attributes that distinguish his philosophical aesthetics in that they are exemplified by particular painters.
When looking at a painting, early marks may obscure later marks, but in no way are early marks abrogated since all marks are present as a palimpsest. In fact, an object-painting is the composite form of the painting-event, the material sediment of a chain of actions performed in front of and on the canvas.
Wollheim does not mean that painting resorts to a metaphor for the body. Thomas Hess observed that de Kooning often used oversized canvas and covered the not-to-be painted edges—the area that would eventually stretch around the frame bars. The contributors to Richard Wollheim on the Art of Painting including Wollheim himself , in his or her turn, interrogate the nature of representation, of expression, and of internal spectatorship to the extent to which each, either individually or in combination, contributes to the condition of painting as an art.
So what is it about painting in particular, as opposed to sculpture or conceptual art, that can form the basis for the production and possibly the destruction of a theory of art?
For starters, we might look at the paintings that Wollheim has looked at. Reviews and essays are licensed to the public under a under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.
Art and architectureLiterature and literary objeectsPhilosophyAesthetics. Cambridge University PressSep 30, — Art — pages. Types and tokens have some but not all properties in common. Art and Its Objects work by Wollheim Added to PP index Total downloads 43, richard wollheim art and its objects 2, Recent downloads 6 months 12 33, of 2, How can I increase my downloads? Log In Register for Online Access.
Philosophical Essays on Freud
Oxford, pp. As if that were not hard enough, try adding prints, films, dances and buildings and the problem becomes intractable. Yet traditionally the aim of aesthetics has been to undertake an abstraction from the properties of particular works of art, and of different forms of art, with precisely the hope of isolating just those general features which are supposed to characterise or define the nature of art itself. To discover defining, or even characteristic, properties of art, if such there be, presupposes an answer to even more basic, ontological, questions concerning what sorts of things or entities works of art are.
Art and Its Objects: With Six Supplementary Essays
What has gone virtually unnoticed in the literature on s art, however, is that minimal art for Wollheim designates the point where painting the medium to which Wollheim has devoted attention , regardless of its historical or stylistic affiliations, is almost not an art. The idea that a correspondence of material form and meaning is essential to artistic representation, ostensibly challenged by the putative minimality of s art, has long engaged Wollheim. This is the central problem in his philosophical aesthetics. This broadening constituted the ground zero not only of art making, but also of its viewing and interpretation. In the second of these, Wollheim responds to the ideas set forth in the other essays.
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