This volume is part of a four-volume series about art and its interpretation in the 19th and 20th centuries. The books provide an introduction to modern European and American art and criticism that should be valuable both to students and to the general reader. The book begins by considering responses by French artists to the World War I, showing how Purism, Dada, and early Surrealism are related to the ethos of post-war reconstruction. The authors then discuss the language of construction in places as dissimilar as France, Germany and the Soviet Union; the contrasting demands of the utility and decoration of objects and paintings; and the relationship of Surrealism to questions of sexuality and gender and to Freudian theory. The book concludes by addressing the widespread debate over realism in art: whether it represents an alternative to the elitism of the avant-garde or whether avant-garde art should play a role in the development of a modern realism.