Modern Art

Published by Dedalus Books in February 2019

blue  Translated with an introduction, notes and a glossary of artists by Brendan King. Includes nearly 200 black and white illustrations.

blue  To purchase this book click here.

First published in 1883, but never before translated into English, this collection of J.-K. Huysmans’ art criticism reveals the author of Against Nature to be as combative in his aesthetic opinions as he was in his literary ones. At a time when the Impressionists were still being ridiculed, or worse still ignored, Huysmans defiantly proclaimed Degas to be the best painter in France. He filled his pages with analyses of the works of artists whose genius and popularity have been confirmed by time: Gustave Caillebotte, Paul Gauguin, Mary Cassatt, Edouard Manet, Berthe Morisot, Odilon Redon and Gustave Moreau.

Huysmans intersperses his reviews of these independent artists with those of the annual Official Salon, whose conventional, and dryly academic works he lambasts with his customary gusto and invective.

This is the first complete translation of L’Art moderne, and includes nearly 200 black and white illustrations, notes and a glossary of artists.

“Huysmans reviewed the Salons of 1879-82 and the Independent Exhibitions of 1880-82 at considerable length. His articles, collected as L’Art moderne (1883), have never before been translated into English. . .Brendan King, who has already translated most of Huysmans’s fiction, has produced an excellent version. Rarely can it have been such fun to read translated denunciations of so many forgotten French pictures. The edition also includes scores of small black and white illustrations, which can easily be Googled into colour.”
Julian Barnes, London Review of Books 2 April 2020.

"Huysmans’s Modern Art, which first appeared in 1883, was recently released in a snappy English translation by Brendan King, with copious notes and a glossary on the over-200 painters covered by the critic."
Tim Keane, Hyperallergic, 20 May 2020.