Whistler to WWI - Avant-Garde Art in Britain

Ref: C2224325

Whistler, Burne-Jones and Simeon Solomon were part of a new avant-garde, their beautiful ‘art for art’s sake’ images a rebellion against Ruskin’s truth to appearances. But in the early 20c, by contrast, Augustus John’s lifestyle was reflected in his art, the Camden Town Group combined Post-Impressionist styles with fascinating modern life subjects and the Vorticists’ energetic, jagged shapes celebrated the machine age on the brink of WWI. This course examines these various avant-gardes alongside the wider artistic context, including Newlyn artists such as Stanhope and Elizabeth Forbes, Margaret Macdonald, the Glasgow Boys, Alfred Munnings and battle painter Lady Elizabeth Butler.

Course aim

The course introduces students to the varieties of fascinating artwork produced in Britain from the 1860s to WWI.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Discuss and compare some British artworks produced during the years 1860-1914.
  • Identify the inter-connections between art and society, including markets and commissions, within the limits of an introductory course.
  • Evaluate the importance of style and technique, as appropriate to a short introductory course.
  • Participate in looking at artworks and visiting galleries and museums.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Become involved with the WEA in a range of voluntary work and other activities including campaigning as a WEA member

Download full Course information sheet

Whistler to WWI - Avant-Garde Art in Britain


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  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
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  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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