Modern Art and Ideas, Unit 2: 1893–1913

Setting the Scene

1. Cities: Then and Now

1893–1913, the period covered by this guide, was a time of rapid urban development. Ask your students to research the history, geography, and layout of their city or hometown. They should think about any changes that might have occurred, such as the construction of new buildings, demolition of old ones, or changes in transportation systems, and find out how people reacted to these changes. Ask them to make a list of five positive and five negative reactions that people had to the changes. Ask why they think these people had those reactions. Ask if they agree or disagree with their points of view.

2. Forming a Club

The artists in this guide often worked with friends or joined with other artists to form professional groups based on common artistic, political, or social views. For example, some of the artists in this guide were associated with the Fauves (French for “wild beasts”) while others were members of the Brücke (the Bridge) or the Blaue Reiter (the Blue Rider). The class should begin with a discussion. Ask your students to consider the following questions:

  • How would you define a “club?“ How many types of clubs can you think of? Name some examples.
  • Are you a member of a club? Why did you join? Do you know the other members? Describe some of the club’s activities.

Next, divide your students into small groups. Assign a specific interest to each group, for instance, an academic subject, a political or environmental cause, or a type of music, cinema, or sport. Have each group plan the formation of a club dedicated to their assigned interest. Students should keep track of the decisions they make as a group in forming their club.

Go to Lesson 1: Rise of the Modern City →