Magic realism


A rather vague term that describes painting that combines realism with odd, unlikely juxtapositions that create an air of mystery. The phrase originated in 1923 when German critic Franz Roh used it to describe the "dreamlike symbolic art of de Chirico and his Italian cohorts." (Duncan) In the 1943 exhibition of the Museum of Modern Art titled "American Realists and Magic Realists", the term became more widely known as a description of a fantastic, exaggerated imagery of artists such as Paul Cadmus and Ivan Albright, a distinction from artists that fit the traditional definition of realism such as Edward Hopper. Source: Michael Duncan, 'Heretics of the Heartland', "Art in America", February 2006, p.98; Ralph Mayer, "A Dictionary of Art Terms and Techniques"