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HA4584: AMERICAN MODERNISM (2017-2018)

Last modified: 28 Nov 2017 20:13

Course Overview

This course traces the twentieth-century rise of American painting, in relation to contemporary developments in Europe. Beginning with America's own art tradition and its initial responses to European Modernism, the course will capture the spirit of 1920s’ Realism and 1930s’ Regionalism and Social Realism before the outbreak of World War II. We will examine how the Abstract Expressionism of Pollock and Rothko made post-war New York the new centre of Western art.  Finally, the course will consider 1960s’ Pop Art and the arrival of the post-modern climate.


Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 4
Session Second Sub Session Credit Points 30 credits (15 ECTS credits)
Campus None. Sustained Study No
  • Dr Mary Pryor

Qualification Prerequisites

  • Programme Level 4

What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

  • Any Undergraduate Programme (Studied)
  • History Of Art (HA) (Studied)

What other courses must be taken with this course?


What courses cannot be taken with this course?

Are there a limited number of places available?


One or more of these courses have a limited number of places. Priority access will be given to students for whom this course is compulsory. Please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions for more details on this process.

Course Description

This course concentrates on twentieth-century American painting from the Armory Show in 1913 onwards. It considers the rise of American painting in relation to contemporary developments in Europe, from America's indigenous tradition and its initial responses to European Modernism, the Realism of Hopper, the Regionalism of Wood and Benton to the Abstract Expressionism of Pollock. The factors governing the triumph of American painting are examined. It then considers the works of Pop Art and Super-Realism and culminates in the post-modern climate of the 1990s.

Degree Programmes for which this Course is Prescribed


Contact Teaching Time

42 hours

This is the total time spent in lectures, tutorials and other class teaching.

Teaching Breakdown


1st Attempt: 2 written assignments of 3,500 words (30% each); 1 visual-based test of one hour (30%); class participation (10%).

ResitNormally no resit is available.

Formative Assessment

Group and individual verbal and written feedback will be given on the seminar presentations and discussions.

Individual verbal and formal feedback will be given on each of the two course essays. In order to focus feedback more directly on issues that concern individual students there will be a self-assessment form for each essay, which should be completed and submitted along with each essay.



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