Friday, July 14, 2017

Art Review: Mystical symbolists in all their kitschy glory

By Jason Farago
“The Death of Orpheus,” by Jean Delville (1893), is in “Mystical Symbolism,” at the Guggenheim Museum. Credit 2017 Jean Delville/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, via SABAM, Brussels; Royal Museums of Fine Arts, Belgium, Brussels
XXX---The development of abstraction at the start of the last century is often told as a steady, formal progression, but many pre-World War I artists were not thinking only about color and line. They were infatuated, too, with unhinged emotion and mystical mumbo-jumbo, and the art that inspired that generation was, often, spiritualist schlock. It’s on view in the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum’s revelatory and brilliantly tasteless “Mystical Symbolism: The Salon de la Rose+Croix in Paris, 1892-1897,” which plunges viewers into a Symbolist painting salon that shocked and enraptured viewers in the last decade of the 19th century. [More]