Aug 26th 2018

It has been widely acknowledged that modernist painting as such began with Manet’s Dejeuner sur l’herbe or perhaps with his Olympia, but the foundation for these works—in Manet’s own self-understanding—had been lain by the Realism of Gustave Courbet. Later, in the aftermath of the Imperialist crisis, the Surrealists, now reeling from the over-ripeness of modernism, turned back to the fatal problem through which Realism had originally emerged: the insoluble contradiction between the subject and object of art. This teach-in will look to describe the historical-aesthetic resemblance between a portrait by the painter Gustave Courbet, his Rêverie (Portrait of Gabrielle Borreau) of 1862, and a portrait by the poet Paul Éluard, his “Lady Love” of 1924.

Platypus member Patrick Zapien presents on Courbet, modernism, art and politics from the 19th into the 20th century.

The Platypus Affiliated Society, established in December 2006, organizes reading groups, public fora, research and journalism focused on problems and tasks inherited from the “Old” (1920s-30s), “New” (1960s-70s), post-political (1980s-90s), and Millenial (2000-2010s) Left. To learn more visit

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