Emil Bisttram Scholar and Author to Speak on Theosophy & the Arts
11/16/2010

Liverpool Hope University invites American, Ruth Pasquine, to discuss theosophical artists in America in the 1920s and 30s at a colloquium to be held December 3, 2010.

Online PR News – 16-November-2010 – – Ruth Pasquine, art historian and author of Emil Bisttram (1895-1976): American Painter: Dynamic Symmetry, Theosophy, Swedenborgianism, will be speaking at an event entitled, “Enchanting Modernity: Theosophy and the Arts in the Making of Early Twentieth-Century Culture,” at Liverpool Hope University on December 3, 2010.

Sponsored by the University’s music department, the colloquium explores the influence of theosophical ideas and practices on intellectual and artistic endeavors during the first half of the twentieth century. Researchers of theosophy and modern culture will conduct 20-minute presentations followed by discussion.

The traditional view is that modernism is a post-enlightenment “disenchantment” with religion and spirituality, characterized by rationalism and bureaucracy. Revisionist historians Alex Owen and Corinna Treital have questioned this view by examining the influence of theosophy and finding that cultures of “enchantment” were, in fact, fundamental to modernism.

Owen and Treital have laid a foundation for understanding theosophy’s role in shaping modernity, but the extent of its influence on modern arts and ideas has yet to be fully explored until now. The papers presented in this colloquium promise to open up new histories of modernity in which traditionally marginalized belief structures are seen to have shaped the modern experience in vital ways.

Pasquine’s talk will discuss the theosophical paintings of Emil Bisttram in the context of his evolution in the spiritual atmosphere of the Master Institute of United Arts, a cultural center founded in New York in 1921 by the Russian theosophical painter Nicholas Roerich.

Pasquine’s recently published book on Bisttram is an analysis of his biography, training, spiritual development, use of dynamic symmetry, teaching methods, and individual paintings. Published by Lambert Academic Publishing, Saarbrücken, Germany, this two-volume, definitive work is now available on Amazon.com and recommended for academic libraries.

Pasquine earned her Ph.D. in art history in 2000 from City University of New York with a dissertation on Bisttram. She was curator of art at The Arkansas Arts Center from 1991-1997. She is currently working as an artist.

For more information contact Liverpool Hope University http://www.hope.ac.uk.

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