Short Course

Fundamentals of Western Art: Modernism in Europe

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Fees: HK$10,000.00


Christie’s Education Hong Kong is pleased to present a series of programs that aim to provide a broad overview of major artistic movements in the Western world from Renaissance to Contemporary. The programs are not intended to be comprehensive – rather, they aim to cover key movements that influence the course of art history and teach methods of looking at art.

Participants will gain a systematic framework through art historical survey lectures, coupled with specialist-led gallery tours to better understand materials, techniques, and condition of works of art, as well as the development of the market and collecting trends.

This program is essential for art collectors, regardless of their chosen fields, as the works and movements discussed are constantly referred to by artists throughout the ages.

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Course dates

Part III - Modernism in Europe:
From Fauvism to Surrealism

Thursdays, 12 April - 24 May 2018 in English

6:30 - 7:45pm

Christie’s, 22/F Alexandra House, Central, Hong Kong
Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center, No.1 Expo Drive, Wan Chai, Hong Kong (24 May)

(Discounted rate of HK$9,000 if paid in full by 28 March 2018)

Part I: From Renaissance to Neoclassicism
November, 2016

Part II: 19th Century in Europe
May, 2017

Part IV: Post-War Art in Europe and America
May, 2018


Part III - Modernism in Europe: From Fauvism to Surrealism

In the early years of the 20th century, avant-garde movements flourished in Europe, with artists experimenting relentlessly to break from the past and create a new visual language. This new evening program at Christie’s Education will provide a broad overview of major artistic movements, such as Fauvism, Expressionism, Geometric Abstraction, and Surrealism. We will discuss Paris as an artistic capital, as well as the evolution of modernity throughout other centres in Europe.

Session One | Thu 12 April | Fauvism & Expressionism
Fauvism was the first of the 20th-century avant-garde movements in Paris, led by French artists Henri Matisse (1869-1954) and André Derain (1880-1954). The Fauves’ emphasis on exuberant brushwork and intense colors was a radical departure from the tradition of representational art. Around the same time in Germany, Expressionist artists also celebrated exaggerated colours and vibrant brushwork as a means to convey intense emotions and the human condition in modern life.

Session Two | Thu 19 April | Cubism
With his monumental Les Desmoiselles d’Avignon, the young Spaniard Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) shattered traditional notions of perspective and space, setting the stage for the birth of Cubism. Picasso and his fellow artist George Braque (1882-1963) pushed these ideas further, through fracturing and analysing three-dimensional objects, then rearranging them onto the canvas, to highlight the two-dimensionality of a painting.

Session Three | Thu 26 April | Pablo Picasso
Considered by many to be the most influential artist of the 20th century, Picasso was extraordinarily prolific throughout his long life. Picasso’s genius stemmed from his mastery of myriad styles, and this lecture will trace his artistic career from the Blue and Rose periods of his early days in Paris, to his biomorphic and sensuous portraits of the 1930s, to the reinterpretations of old masters of his later years.

Session Four | Thu 3 May | Geometric Abstraction  
Cubism had far-reaching consequences on the development of modern art, not just in France, but throughout the rest of Europe. In Holland, Piet Mondrian (1872-1944) was a chief contributor of the De Stijl movement, and pioneered a simple and rigorous style using only black horizontal and vertical lines with blocks of primary colors. In Russia, Kazimir Malevich (1878-1935) founded Suprematism, pushing art beyond the illusionistic through basic geometric forms suspended in unstructured space.

Session Five | Thu 10 May | Marcel Duchamp, Dada & Surrealism
The horrors and inanity of World War I led a group of intellectuals to reject reason and idealism in modern society, leading to the creation of Dada and Surrealism. Key proponents of Dada such as Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968) subverted artistic traditions and declared ‘ready-mades’ to be works of art. Surrealism was a literary and artistic movement that explored chance and the subconscious, exemplified by richly symbolic and sensuous works that celebrated the uninhibited mind

Session Six | Thu 17 May | School of Paris
This lecture explores the loosely affiliated group of foreign artists who gathered near Montparnasse and became known as the School of Paris. These artists were stylistically diverse and from all over the world, including Italian Amedeo Modigliani (1884-1920), Russians Marc Chagall (1887-1985) and Chaïm Soutine (1893-1943), all gathered in an environment of unprecedented international exchange.

Session Seven | Thu 24 May | Tour of Christie’s Spring Preview
Join Christie’s specialists on a tour of Christie’s Spring 2018 Auctions Preview.

Schedule and topics are subject to change.



A letter of attendance will be issued to participants who attend all sessions. 

HK$10,000 | English course
(Discounted rate of HK$9,000 if paid in full by 28 March 2018)

Sandy Ng
Assistant Professor of Culture & Theories, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Sandy Ng is Assistant Professor of Culture and Theory at The School of Design of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. She received her PhD from the School of Oriental and African Studies (University of London), specialising in modern Chinese art. Her doctoral research examines the notion of hybrid modernism in Lin Fengmian’s figurative paintings (1900-1991). She is currently working on projects that explore expression of femininity, selfhood and modernity in oil paintings and printed images in the twentieth century. Her research also scrutinizes how to revitalise traditional customs to inspire contemporary design. Two forthcoming publications will examine how artists embrace modernity and fashion the ‘self’ in the modern era and how national identity is tied to the design of cheongsam in Hong Kong. Presently, she teaches ‘Visual Culture’, ‘Design History’, ‘Philosophy of Design’, ‘Chinese Traditions & 21st Century’ and supervises master’s degree and PhD students in the postgraduate programme.
Greg M. Thomas
Professor, Department of Fine Arts, The University of Hong Kong

Greg Thomas holds a Ph.D. in Art History from Harvard University and is a Professor in the Department of Fine Arts at The University of Hong Kong. A specialist in 19th-century French art, he has published Art and Ecology in 19th-Century France: The Landscapes of Théodore Rousseau (Princeton University Press, 2000) and Impressionist Children: Childhood, Family, and Modern Identity in French Art (Yale University Press, 2010). Prof. Thomas has also lectured and published on European interactions with China and is the assistant editor of the 13-volume Wuming (No Name) Painting Catalogue, published by The Hong Kong University Press.
Frank Vigneron
Head & Professor, Graduate Division of Fine Arts, The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Professor Frank Vigneron received a Ph.D. in Chinese Art History from the Paris VII University, a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the Paris IV Sorbonne University and a Doctorate of Fine Arts from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. He joined the Department of Fine Arts, CUHK in 2004, teaching courses on the History of Western Art, the theories of Modernism and Postmodernism in art, and Chinese and Western comparative aesthetics. His research focus is on the history of Chinese painting from the 18th century onwards and on different aspects of contemporary Chinese art seen in a global context. In 2010, he became Chair of the Hong Kong Art School Academic Committee as well as a member of the Hong Kong Art School Council. He is also a member of the International Association of Art Critics Hong Kong. Professor Vigneron is also a practicing artist. He has held several solo exhibitions in Hong Kong and has taken part in local and international exhibitions.
Elaine Kwok Yin Ning
Part-time Lecturer, The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Elaine Kwok Yin Ning obtained her PhD, MPhil degree, and BA degree (double majors) from the University of Hong Kong.  She has taught two courses on Chinese art history (before and after 1900) for an MA program at the Chinese University of Hong Kong since 2014, taught four survey and thematic courses on contemporary Western art history for a BA program at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (offshore campus in Hong Kong) during 2014-2017, and has taught courses on Western art history for Christie’s Education (Asia) since 2014.  Her research interests embrace art history and aesthetics (Western and Chinese arts), and cross-cultural interaction history between Europe and China.
Doryun Chong
Chief Curator, M+
Doryun Chong assumed the post of Chief Curator, M+ in September 2013. He oversees all aspects of curatorial activities, including collection, exhibitions and symposia, as well as learning and interpretation. Prior to joining M+, Chong held the position of Associate Curator of Painting and Sculpture at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York from 2009 to 2013. At MoMA, he acquired contemporary works for the collection as well as organised special exhibitions, including Tokyo 1955–1970: A New Avant-Garde, selected by the New York Times and Artforum as one of the best museum exhibitions of 2012. Chong has also worked at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, served as the coordinator for the Korean Pavilion exhibition at the 2001 Venice Biennale, and worked as curator at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis between 2003 and 2009. During his time at the Walker, he organised a number of exhibitions, including major retrospectives of Huang Yong Ping and Tetsumi Kudo. Chong has also contributed writings to a wide range of contemporary art periodicals, such as Artasiapacific, Artforum, Parkett, Afterall, The Exhibitionist, and Bijutsu Techo (Japan) and Art in Culture (Korea).
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