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Friday, July 21, 2017

DON'T SAY I DIDN'T WARN YOU

Well, folks, here we go.  The Washington Post reports that Trump's team of lawyers are now discussing the scope of the President's power to pardon, including even whether he can pardon himself.  And it isn't even August!  So much for the Impressionists.

8 comments:

Jerry Fresia said...

In this context, I feel compelled to say a world about the politics of the Impressionists.

As most everyone knows, in the spring of 1871 Paris experienced a singular democratic uprising that reverberates to this day; for three months Paris was taken over by rebellious workers along with a 400-member strong Federation of Artes led, in part, by Gustave Courbet, “voicing a program for radical change in artistic self-government, education, patronage, production and museum curatorship.” This moment of democracy was eventually and viciously crushed by French national authorities during a week dubbed “Bloody Week,” where somewhere between 30,000 to 50,000 French revolutionaries slaughtered in the streets of Paris.

By 1874, with martial law still in place, a determined band of artists continued the rebellion against the control of the elite-managed Salon. They formed their own system of self-management as painters and sought and established a direct relation with the public. These artists were, of course, the Impressionists, whose organizational statutes “were drawn up with the crucial assistance of four of the central figures of the Federation” that were part of the Paris Commune.

They are the only art movement of which I am aware that successfully challenged the structure of both the production and distribution of their work.

Robert Paul Wolff said...

Jerry, thank you for this. I am embarrassed to admit I did not kn ow this story of the 1871 uprising. I believe the failure of the 1871 Commune actually assisted in radical politics in America, as a number of the communards emigrated.

RobinM said...

Embedded in here

http://www.electoral-vote.com/evp2017/Senate/Maps/Jul21.html#item-2

are some reflections on some difficulties that would seemingly attend Trump taking the pardon route.

s. wallerstein said...

Jerry Fresia,

What you tell us about the impressionists is very interesting and relates, I believe, to
the painting I linked to yesterday, the Boating Party.

One of the things which strikes me in the Boating Party is that social roles and social class (so marked in 19th century European literature, which I know a lot more about than 19th century painting, I confess) are not immediately obvious nor, and this is striking, are which males which women belong to and what is the role of the woman with regard to the male. Normally, in 19th century literature, women are presented in relation to a male: they are wives, daughters, mothers, maybe mistresses, but never autonomous agents.

It is notable that in some way the philosophy of the Paris commune seems to be the background of one of Renoir's paintings. It is notable because so often the explicit philosophy of artists (and of others) has nothing to do with their work or life.

So one more point for Renoir in my book: his political philosophy enters his work (not as a pamphlet or as agitprop, thank god), but as its implicit background.


Jerry Fresia said...

S. wallerstein,

It might be a mistake to see the "instransegents" (early name given to the Impressionists) as radical politically. To be sure, they had close friendships with many of the prominent republicans of the period, but as as one or more said, they didn't want to be revolutionaries. They had complete disdain for the "bourgeoisie" and Cèzanne never seemed to use the term except with the modifier, "dirty bourgeoise." However, the critique of the bourgeoisie for some, such as for Renoir, was from a conservative point of view (a la Balzac). Pissarro seems to have been a well read anarchist and the art theory associated with the group can be traced to his thoughts. Monet too was what might be called on the left - a "free thinker" as well. However, as time went along the political divisions grew, with the Dreyfus Affair splitting the group and ending friendships, with Degas, Cèzanne, and Renoir adopting the anti-Dreyfus position. You will find this article interesting, I would think: http://www.artinsociety.com/julie-manet-renoir-and-the-dreyfus-affair.html

s. wallerstein said...

Jerry Fresia,

Thank you.

One has to accept that many of the more creative and even liberating late 19th figures were not members of Amnesty International nor politically correct 21st century progressives.

I think of Nietzsche, one of my favorites, whose "illiberalism (Brian Leiter's characterization of him) is so glaring and who, on the other hand, is often not only extraordinarily lucid and insightful, but also liberating to read.

That they don't conform to 21st century standards of progressive orthodoxy makes them more interesting to me, I confess.

Tom Cathcart said...

It would be fun to see the self-pardon issue go to the Supreme Court. I'd love to hear the argument that the framers intended that the president should be able to pardon himself. Like, say, King George.

Matt said...

Jerry said, of the impressionists: They are the only art movement of which I am aware that successfully challenged the structure of both the production and distribution of their work.

While I am certainly not an expert, I think a pretty good case could be made that this applied to the members of the Bauhaus movement as well.