The Salon of 1846
By Charles Baudelaire. Introduction by Michael Fried
In his introduction to Charles Baudelaire’s Salon of 1846, the renowned art historian Michael Fried presents a new take on the French poet and critic’s ideas on art, criticism, romanticism, and the paintings of Delacroix.
Charles Baudelaire, considered a father of modern poetry, wrote some of the most daring and influential prose of the nineteenth century. Prior to publishing the international bestseller Les Fleurs du mal (1857), he was already notable as a forthright and witty critic of art and literature. Captivated by the Salons in Paris, Baudelaire took to writing to express his theories on modern art and art philosophy.
The Salon of 1846 expands upon the tenets of romanticism as Baudelaire methodically takes his reader through paintings by Delacroix and Ingres, illuminating his belief that the pursuit of the ideal must be paramount in artistic expression. Here we also see Baudelaire caught in a fundamental struggle with the urban commodity of capitalism developing in Paris at that time. Baudelaire’s text proves to be a useful lens for understanding art criticism in mid-nineteenth-century France, as well as the changing opinions regarding the essential nature of romanticism and the artist as creative genius.
Acclaimed art historian and art critic Michael Fried’s introduction offers a new reading of Baudelaire’s seminal text and highlights the importance of his writing and its relevance to today’s audience.
Publisher: David Zwirner Books
Contributors: Charles Baudelaire, Michael Fried
Designer: Mike Dyer, Remake
Printer: VeronaLibri, Verona
Publication Date: 2021
Dimensions: 4.25 × 7 in | 10.8 × 17.8 cm
Retail: $15 | £12
Dedicated to publishing rare, out-of-print, and newly commissioned texts as accessible paperback volumes the ekphrasis series is part of David Zwirner Books’s ongoing effort to publish new and surprising pieces of writing on visual culture.
Known for his equal skill in poetry and prose, Charles Baudelaire (1821–1867) was one of the most distinctive writers of the nineteenth century. Operating within the French literary scene, his provocative theories on contemporary art remain relevant today. His poetry collections include Les Fleurs du mal (1857) and Petits poèmes en prose (1868). Notable criticisms can be found in Baudelaire: Selected Writings on Art and Artists (1995).
Michael Fried is a poet, art critic, art historian, and literary scholar. His many books include Absorption and Theatricality: Painting and Beholder in the Age of Diderot (1980), Art and Objecthood: Essays and Reviews (1998), and The Moment of Caravaggio (2010). Previous books of poems are Powers (1973), To the Center of the Earth (1994), The Next Bend in the Road (2004), and Promesse du Bonheur (David Zwirner Books, 2016). Fried is Professor Emeritus of the Humanities at Johns Hopkins University.