Proposals are invited for a session at the the 2011 meeting of the Association of Art Historians to be held at Warwick University (UK) 31 March-2 April 2011:

Reassessing the Symbolist Roots of Modernism

The Symbolist movement has often been framed as the final, often decadent, stage of Renaissance humanism in which the art work functioned as a means of communication. Symbolism continues to be referred to in a language of decline and expiration, associated with an end — fin-de-siècle – rather than a beginning or even part of a continuum. Yet several key figures of Modernism — Picasso, Mondrian, Kandinsky, Kupka, inter alia – had roots in Symbolism. Did early twentieth-century modernists reject their Symbolist roots?  Did they outgrow them? Were there aspects of the Symbolist agenda that helped to shape emerging Modernism? Did Symbolism have a role to play in the new aesthetics of Modernism? This session invites papers that explore the relationship between Symbolism and Modernism in the work of particular artists, in specific art works, or from a theoretical point of view. Proposals should be sent, by email, to both convenors.


Michelle Facos, professor, Indiana University, Bloomington (

Thor J. Mednick, independent scholar (

Deadline for proposals (50-100 word abstract and cv) is 1 November 2010