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Art of the Forties

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Forties art is customarily described as an expression of disintegration, but in his essay on this collection of work from the Museum of Modern Art, Guy Davenport turns that view upside down. The pieces represented here, whether Calder or Klee, Tupperware or furniture, represent, according to him, not disintegration but integration — of Europe and America, craft and art, high culture and low. As such they also represent a triumph of the human spirit in the most turbulent decade of modern history. The reproductions in this volume certainly support Davenport’s view. A