Site Under Construction. This is a study resource and shall have links to academic websites for further research. Sign up as a friend, for RSS or leave comments etc..

Fine Art Essay Checklist


Is the essay complete? Have you shown evidence of your research, developmental ideas and own thoughts and responses included? Have you evidence of a broad source material, e.g. books, magazine articles, websites.


Consider using an Index that shows the heading and page number for the sections or chapters. This gives a good overview of your investigation or a  synopsis


A Summary of your investigation to be included at the front of your essay.


Does your title reflect accurately the work carried out, can it be more specific? Consider using the terms, ‘An analysis of …’ or ‘An investigation into..’ or ‘An exploration of…’ as a sub-heading. Is there a predominant decade or specific dates that you have researched within?


Have you clearly structured your essay? Make sure there is an Introduction, then the main investigation, this could be divided into short chapters or sub-headings, and then a clearly defined Conclusion. Your main investigation should be exploring specific works of art, comparing and defining their significance through artists own words or others references to how these works are so significant. Explore their wider context to the society in which the works came. Please make sure in your conclusion, that you go back and state the main points you outlined earlier in your essay and bring these into your summary, clarifying and defining the work you have carried out, don’t sell your self short here!


You must list your references made and they must be numbered, ensure, as stated earlier there is a broad source material (not just one book or a couple of websites.) Who said the quote, where can we find it, what is the publication, what page number, date of publication?


This is a list of the actual books, websites magazines, catalogues etc (as above.) This may have books or websites etc that in the end you did not use but was useful for research.


If you have not put the details of the illustrations as captions under the illustrations, consider listing them at the end. (Fig.1, Fig 2 etc)


Please ensure the essay is word-processed and includes colour images. Consider the quality of the presentation of the essay. Remember there should be personality as well as academic rigour: consider how expressive qualities that come through your writing that show an individual at work.

Editing and Terminology:

Consider editing out areas that you feel are not relevant. Consider expanding on areas that may seem a little thin. Also ensure the words you use are succinct and accurate and are using the right terminology to suit your theme or subject matter you have chosen.


The work must be handed on the day of the deadline.

Artists included in the ‘Entartete Kunst’ Exhibition, 19th July, 1937

For further information on artworks that were in the show consider the Museum of Modern Art archive, look here, MOMA 

Adler, Jankel 
Barlach, Ernst 
Bauer, Rudolf 
Bauknecht, Philipp 
Baum, Otto 
Baumeister, Willi 
Bayer, Herbert 
Beckmann, Max 
Belling, Rudolf 
Bindel, Paul 
Brün, Theo 
Burchartz, Max 
Burger-Mühlfeld, Fritz 
Camenisch, Paul 
Caspar, Karl 
Caspar-Filser, Maria  
Cassel, Pol 
Chagall, Marc 
Corinth, Lovis 
Davringhausen, Heinrich 
Dexel, Walter 
Diesner, Johannes 
Dix, Otto 
Drexel, Hans Christoph 
Dreisch, Johannes 
Eberhard, Heinrich 
Ernst, Max 
Feibusch, Hans 
Feininger, Lyonel 
Felixmüller, Conrad 
Freundlich, Otto 
Fuhr, Xaver 
Gies, Ludwig 
Gilles, Walter 
Gleichmann, Otto 
Grossmann, Rudolph 
Grosz, George 
Grunding, Hans 
Haizmann, Richard 
Hausmann, Raoul 
Hebert, Guido 
Heckel, Erich 
Heckrott, Wilhelm 
Heemskerck, Jacoba van 
Heister, Hans Seibert von 
Herzog, Oswald 
Heuser, Werner 
Hoerle, Heinrich 
Hoefer, Karl 
Hoffman, Eugen 
Itten, Johannes 
Jawlensky, Alexej von 
Johansen, Eric 
Kallmann, Hans Jürgen 
Kandinsky, Wassily  
Katz, Hans 
Kirchner, Ernst Ludwig 
Klee, Paul 
Klein, Cesar 
Kleinschmidt, Paul 
Kokoschka, Oskar 
Lange, Otto 
Lehmbruck, Wilhelm 
Lissitzky, El 
lüthy, Oskar 
Marc, Franz 
Marcks, Gerhard 
Matare' Ewald 
Meidner, Ludwig 
Metzinger, Jean 
Mitschke-Collande, Constantin von 
Moholy-Nagy, Laszlo 
Moll, Margarethe 
Moll, Oskar 
Molzahn, Johannes 
Mondrian, Piet 
Muche, George 
Meuller, Otto 
Nagel, Erich 
Nauen, Heinrich 
Nay, Ernst Wilhelm 
Neistrath, Karel 
Nolde, Emil 
Pankok, Otto 
Pechstein, Max 
Watenphul, Max Peiffer 
Purrmann, Hans 
Rauh, Max 
Richter, Hans 
Röder, Emy 
Rohlfs, Christian 
Scharff, Edwin 
Schlemmer, Oskar 
Schlichter, Rudolph 
Schmidt-Rottluff, Karl 
Scholz, Werner 
Schreyer, Lothar 
Schubert, Otto 
Schwitters, Kurt 
Segal, Lasar 
Skade, Friedrich 
Stukenberg, Friedrich (Fritz) 
Thalheimer, Paul 
Tietz, Johannes 
Topp, Arnold 
Voll, Christoph 

Völker, Karl
Wauer, William

Wollheim, Gert 

Notes on Marcel Duchamp:

It is curious to note to what an extent memory is unfaithful, even for the most important periods of one’s life. It is this, indeed, that explains the delightful fantasy of history.
Marcel Duchamp

Art has a tendency to undermine all aesthetic theories. This is certainly the case today when artists are less and less inclined to work within established traditions and more and more drawn to explore new ways of representation and expression away from the traditional ‘fantasies’ of art history. The phrase Post Historical has been suggested for the naming of our present era.


If you can ‘ironize’ with no affective result, with no destructive or laughter either-in your words, with indifference-then you have a chance for another vista. Its not very clear I know, but then I’m not writing a book on the science of irony.
Marcel Duchamp interviewed in the 1960’s

In ‘The Bride Stripped Bare’ by Calvin Tompkins, Marcel Duchamp stated:
“I’m not interested in art per se. It is only one occupation, and it hasn’t been my whole life, far from it. You see. I’ve decided that art is habit-forming drug. That’s all it is, for the artist for the collector, for anybody connected with it. Art has absolutely no existence as veracity, as truth. People always speak of it with this great, religious reverence, but why should it be so revered? It’s a drug that’s all. The more I go on the more I am convinced of it. The onlooker is as important as the artist. In spite of what the artist thinks he is doing, something stays in that is completely independent of what is intended, and that something is grabbed by society-and he is lucky. The artist himself doesn’t count. Society just takes what it wants. The work of art is always based on these two poles of the maker and the onlooker, and the spark that comes from the bi-polar action gives birth to something like electricity.

But the artist himself should not concern himself with this because it has nothing to do with him-it’s the onlooker who has the last word. Fifty years later there will be another generation and another critical language, an entirely different approach. No, the thing to is to try to make a painting that will be alive in your own lifetime. No painting has an active life of more than thirty or forty years - that’s another little idea of mine. I don’t care if its true, it helps me to make a distinction between living art and art history. After thirty or forty years the painting dies, loses its aura, its emanation, what ever you want to call it. And then it’s either forgotten or else it enters into purgatory of art history. But that’s all just luck, a game between artist and onlooker, or a drug as I said before. I’m afraid I’m agnostic in art. I just don’t believe in it with all the mystical trimmings. As a drug it’s probably very useful for a number of people, very sedative, but a religion it’s not even as good as God”

Constructivism and the 'glorious' Russian Revolution

Vladimir Ilyich Lenin (1870-1924)
Extract from Draft Resolution ‘On Proletarian Culture’, point No.1

‘1. All educational work in the Soviet Republic of workers and Peasants, in the field of political education in general and in the field of art in particular, should be imbued with the spirit of the class struggle being waged by the proletariat for the successful achievement of the aims of its dictatorship, i.e. the overthrow of the bourgeoisie, the abolition of classes and the elimination of all forms of exploitation of man by man.’

Key artists:

El Lizzitsky
Alexandr Rodchenko
Naum Gabo
Vladimir Tatlin
Antione Pevsner

After the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 a group of artists calling themselves Constructivists gained some political power within the new Revolutionary government.

The Russian artists in comparison to the Cubist approach, developed an austere form of technical inquiry, a so called ‘laboratory art’. The Russian Constructivist developments remained distinct in its political and theoretical approach. The significance of the Constructivist approach was the eventual aim: the dissolution of art into life. With regard to Western Cubist thinking it was a similar route but opposite destination: the opening up of life represented in art, an ‘aestheticization of life itself’. If their hopes were fulfilled, art as it was currently practised would cease, not because it had been subsumed into life itself but because the whole of life would have been rendered artistic.

Dissension between those interested in a more personal art (sometimes known as Utopians) and those concerned with making utilitarian designs for the masses (known as Utilitarians or Productivists) soon split the group. As the political climate changed in the early 1920’s-first in favour of the Productivists, then in opposition to any avant-garde experimentation at all, (Naum Gabo, Antione Pevsner, Wassily Kandinsky and others moved to the West.) Some went to Germany’s technologically orientated Bauhaus (school of art, design and architecture), ensuring the spread of Constructivist principles throughout Europe and later the United States.

Constructivism marked the end of the brilliant flowering of the Russian avant-garde that had begun around the turn of the century with the world of art. In the 1925 the Communist Party’s Central Committee came out against abstraction; in 1932 all cultural groups were disbanded; and in 1934 a new propagandist style of Social Realism became the Soviet Union’s only officially sanctioned artistic approach.



Hugo Ball  1886 - 1927             
Emmy Hennings   1919 - 1953

Tristan Tzara  1886 - 1963  

Richard Huelsenbeck   1892 - 1974

Marcel Janco   1895 - 1984  

Hans (Jean) Arp  1887 - 1966

Sophie Tauber-Arp  1889 - 1943  
Hans Richter  1888 - 1976
Marcel Slodski  1892 - 1943  
Francis Picabia   1879 - 1953

Kurt Schwitters  1887 - 1948  

George Grosz  1893 - 1959

Otto Dix   1891 - 1969  

John Heartfield   1891 - 1968

Max Ernst   1890 - 1976 
Hannah Hoch  1889 - 1978

Dada was an art movement stimulated by the experience of many European artists in the First World War. The conflagration produced not only physical destruction but also a deep crisis at the psychological and aesthetic level of European thought. In artistic circles this led to a revolt against the norms of bourgeois culture in many centres of Europe but more especially in Switzerland, which became a haven for refugees and artists escaping the conflict.

The origins of the term Dada are not clear but disputed origins are that it arose as a random selection of words from a dictionary; the term was used to mean a hobbyhorse in French or a baby carriage in German. It has been said to derive from the Russian word 'yes' - Da - expressing an affirmation of life in a negative time and also from the profound and simple ‘da-da’ noise said by small children. Or, as Hans Arp was to report " I hereby declare that Tristan Tzara invented the word dada on 6 February 1916 at - I was there with my twelve children, when Tzara first offered the happened in the Café de Terrace in Zurich, and I was wearing a brioche in my left nostril".

As Hans Arp stated

"Revolted by the butchery of the 1914 war, we in Zurich devoted ourselves to the arts; while the guns rumbled in the distance we sang, painted, made collages and wrote poems with all our might. We were seeking an art based on the fundamentals, to cure the madness of the age, and create a new order of things that would restore the balance between heaven and hell. We had a dim premonition that power mad gangsters would one day use art itself as a way of deadening men's minds"

or as Marcel Janco put it

" we had lost the hope that art would one day achieve its just place in our society; we were beside ourselves with rage and grief at the suffering and humiliation of mankind"

The initial focus for the artistic rebellion was 1 Spiegelgasse, in Zurich, a few doors up from the exiled Lenin, where Hugo Ball, a philosopher, thinker, novelist, journalist and mystic and Emmy Hennings formed The Cabaret Voltaire. Persuading the owner, a publican, that he would sell more beer, if he let the premises to them.

At the Cabaret Voltaire the Dadaists held Soirées similar to the performances of the Futurists. They performed plays, sang songs, read poems, whistled and shouted, each with his or her own brand of provocation. The resulting cacophony was sometimes elegiac, funny, or bizarre and through its brutal delivery became known as ‘Brutism’. Exhibitions of visual equivalents were also put on display. Major influences included the radical movements in art of Cubism, Futurism and Expressionism, as well as the influence of the examples from more distant sources such as Africa and Oceania.

However, the Dadaists were less programmatic than other movements of that time, they did not have a shared idea of the development of any style or formal theory, tapping instead into what they considered the primal emotional responses to the world. Dada has been said to be a state of mind.

‘Dada's only programme was to have no programme, and at that moment in history, it was just this that gave the movement its explosive power to unfold in all directions free of aesthetic and social constraints. This absolute freedom from preconceptions was something quite new...which might, and did, lead either to a new art - or to nothing’. -Hans Richter, Dadaist

Many of the works produced by the Dadaist were made using random or chance effects. Using the ideas of the cubists; "you can paint with whatever you like, with pipes, stamps, postcards, or even playing cards, candlesticks, waxed cloth, collars, painted paper, newspaper" (Apollinaire – ‘Meditations Aesthetiques’) Arp produced drawings arranged according to the laws of chance, by dropping collage material from a height and fixing them where they fell; Marcel Janco made poems from press cuttings or by cutting words out of a book and drawing them out of a hat. The only decision involved in such work was that of the artists deciding to let them be. In this way everything that comes into being or is made by man is art.

Art can be evil, boring, wild, sweet, dangerous, ugly or a feast for the eyes. Art could encompass the absurd, the fantastic, the marvellous, the irrational, chance and automatism using the methods of burlesque, parody and ridicule in a total rejection of religious beliefs, moral principles and a creative nihilism denying materialism and the aesthetics of art for arts sake - a programme of using art for revolution.

Other techniques involved automatic drawing in an attempt to create a rendezvous between the conscious and subconscious mind 'to produce new constellations of forms such as nature never stops producing' (Arp) working not at the level of copying nature but by working at the level of analogy rather than mimicry.

In March 1917 Cabaret Voltaire had to quit 1 Spiegelegasse because of public complaints and moved to a gallery in Bahnhofstrasse in Zurich, where it held larger exhibitions including the work of artists from other parts of Europe. Ball left Zurich and became a religious recluse in Ticino. Huelsenbeck returned to Berlin.

Through the magazine Dada edited by Tristan Tzara, Dada ideas spread to many other centres. In Berlin Huelsenbeck, Heartfield, Grosz, Hoch and Dix formed the Club Dada with an overtly political agenda utilising the technique of photomontage to great effect. Berlin Dada culminated in the first international Dada fair and published its own periodicals such as the Dada Almanac, Deadly Earnest (Der Blutige Ernst) and Everyman his own Football.

In Hanover, Schwitters created his own art movement called ‘Merz’, a term extracted from the centre of the word Kommerzbank on the German banknote. Schwitters created his own environments called Merzbau with ‘reliquaries’ including the urine, teeth, hair and ephemera of his friends. and made collages out of posters and timetables on railway stations.

In Cologne, Dada had a short flowering under the influence of Max Ernst and Jean Arp who put on an exhibition that had to be entered via the latrine of the local beer hall; in an attempt to create other forms of automatic drawing Max Ernst took rubbings from the floor in order 'to act on the intensification of the irritability of the mind'.

Eventually most of the Dada artists were drawn to Paris where they found the support of Andre Breton who organised an exhibition for them. Ready apostles were found in the person of Marcel Duchamp, perhaps the most influential conceptualist of the twentieth century, Man Ray, the argent provocateur Arthur Cravan who challenged the world heavy weight boxing champion Jack Johnson to a contest in Madrid on 23 April 1916 and was knocked out in the first round and Francis Picabia whose wife described his work as being utterly gratuitous, spontaneous and without programme or articles of faith. Picabia himself stated that art must be un-aesthetic in the extreme and impossible to justify.

Duchamp and Picabia also spread Dada to Spain and the United States when they became aligned with the Gallery 291 of Edward Steiglitz, publisher of ‘Camerawork’ and organiser of the first modern art show in America-The Armoury Show (so called because it was held in the Armoury of the 69th Infantry Regiment, Lexington Avenue NY) on 17 February 1913, which included work of the Cubists, Futurists, Expressionists and Duchamp's ‘Nude descending a Staircase’.

Duchamp invented another of Dada's most provocative art concepts, ‘The Ready Made’. As a parody to the French rationalist tradition of ‘I think therefore I am’, Duchamp with spectacular visual indifference speculated that artists make art, ‘I am an artist therefore everything I make is art’. In effect, as a development of the French term: ‘objet trouve’ of cubism, he simply placed objects in a gallery situation and asked the audience to see them, as art e.g. ‘Fountain’. If in so doing he altered the object at all it was termed a ready-made aided e.g. see Mona Lisa with L.H.O.O.Q. Reciprocal ‘ready-mades’ consisted of using an object for a different purpose e.g. by using a Rembrandt as an ironing board. According to Duchamp because pigment is manufactured and therefore ‘ready-made, all paintings are ready-mades?

By 1924 the impetus for Dada had either died out or developed into the more programmatic Surrealism. This was to be propagated by Andre Breton in Paris. However, many of the working practices and ideas as well as the deep questioning of the nature and function of the work of art of the Dadaists re-appeared in the 1950’s in the ‘Neo-Dada’ work of Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg and the movement known as Fluxus and the spirit is still present in Conceptual Art, Performance Art, Installation and ‘new media’ art forms as well as in Young British Art from the late 20th Century.