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This volume presents a survey of art from the first two decades of the twentieth century. The authors begin by exploring how aspects of the primitive were invoked by the rural artists' colonies formed in France and Germany at the end of the nineteenth century and by the work of the Fauves and the German Expressionists a few years later. The book then develops an analysis of Cubist works based on semiotic theory, considering the social and cultural values encoded in such signifying systems, and investigating the relationship between representation and ideology. The final chapter considers some problems of interpretation and evolution posed by specific examples of abstract art ranging from Malevich to Mondrian.

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