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Tuesdays, September 8 – December 8, 1 – 4pm


Alfred Henry Maurer. Still Life (detail), c. 1909–1910. BF525. Public Domain.

$500; members $450; with accreditation through PAFA $1,475
(14 classes)

We encourage you to watch the lectures live, but classes can be streamed anytime after the live session concludes. See our FAQ.

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About the Class

Modernism is broadly defined as an artistic response to the tumultuous social, political, and technological changes of the modern era. In late-19th-century Europe and the US, a modernist aesthetic began to spread throughout the arts—painting, sculpture, photography, literature, music, film, architecture. This aesthetic is generally characterized by abstraction, fragmentation, and ambiguity. But what other forms did modernism take? How else did artists in Europe and the US respond to societal change? This class will address these and other questions.

Each week, the main lecture will be followed by a 50-minute discussion session that allows students the opportunity to ask questions and exchange ideas with the instructor and classmates. Students seeking the Barnes-de Mazia Certificate Program must participate in the discussion session.

Through our partnership with the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the Barnes can offer students 3 college credits for Collection Concentration.


William Perthes

Perthes is the Bernard C. Watson Director of Adult Education at the Barnes. He has taught courses at the Barnes as well as the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and West Chester and Villanova Universities. His scholarship focuses on American modernism and the abstract expressionist painter Robert Motherwell.