SALOMONSEN, Carl Julius
New Forms of Art and Contagious Mental Illness
Over the years 1919–20, the celebrated medical scientist and doctor Carl Julius Salomonsen began giving public lectures and publishing pamphlets regarding a new “epidemic” that had begun to affect the European populace: the increasing ubiquity of modernist art.
In a 1919 pamphlet titled New Forms of Art and Contagious Mental Illness, he wrote: “We stand, at this moment, before a movement in art which is psychopathic in character, and whose victorious journey through all countries is probably caused by the same spiritual disease that gave the older, religious spiritual epidemic such a powerful spread.” This pamphlet and the accompanying talks were countered by a retaliatory pamphlet published by members of Grønningen, a Copenhagen modernist painters group, to which Salomonsen responded with a further pamphlet.
Translated into English for the first time by literary theorist Andrew Hodgson, the entire altercation is gathered in this book, documenting one of the earliest rejections of modernist art. [publisher's note]
Published by New Documents, 2022 (1919)
Art Theory / Art History