Formalist criticism of Roger Fry and Clement Greenberg

OUTLINE

                        Formalist criticism of Roger Fry and Clement Greenberg

Roger Fry and Clement Greenberg are among the best known critics of their time although each belongs to a different school of art. Roger Fry embodied the kind of sensual formalism that was embodied in the 1920s while Clement Greenberg’s was a more self critical form of art appreciation that evolved in the 1930s and 1940s when abstract art became more popular. Roger Fry was a painter himself and the paradox in the relationship between art and real life was always uppermost on his mind. When he looked at a picture, he would ask himself how it compared with real life; do we look at pictures in the same way as we see the objects in the pictures in real life?  Roger Fry always questioned the reason for the emotional impact that some paintings had on a viewer and believed that this element of emotional attachment or association hindered the appreciation of the art for its aesthetic form itself. In his work titled “Essay on aesthetics” Roger Fry attempts to rationalize the intuitive reaction and emotion that one feels to certain feelings by attributing the form of art to have a primary significance.
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