Gerdts, a respected and prolific art historian at
CUNY, has produced not a coffee-table book but the coffee-table itself.
His three volumes, adding up to more than 1200 large
pages, are roughly comparable in reach, if not structure, to the standard
work by George C. Groce and David H. Wallace, New York Historical Society's
Dictionary of Artists in America 1564- 1860 (Yale Univ. Pr., 1957),
...although Gerdts disregards the few early artists
and carries forward to cover those active by 1920. These volumes are
not dictionaries, but rather geographically arranged, more selective,
(The author specifically excludes artists chiefly
active in New York, Boston, and Philadelphia.)
There are very brief introductions to regions and
illuminating summaries about art institutions and art activities embedded
in the various state-by-state essays; coverage varies according to
material, from four pages (Nevada) to 120 (northern and southern California).
Gerdts provides no overarching conclusions but rather vast
amounts of distilled information on even the smallest art
centers. The extensive bibliographies, also geographically arranged,
will be an aid to further research.
Some 900 of the 1000 artists discussed are illustrated.
Typography and layout are generous and helpful;
the plates are generally good; a few typographical errors appear in
names and dates.
Most of the artists are of primarily local interest,
and libraries will probably find the volume covering their region heavily
used while the other two languish. At this price, recommended for
strong art reference collections and local history collections in centers
with art traditions.
- Jack Perry Brown, Ryerson & Burnham Libs.,
Art Inst. of Chicago
With over 800 artists represented by over 1,000 illustrations,
the three volumes of Art Across America chronicle the development of
painting in cities and towns from their beginnings to 1920. This monumental
study is a landmark of scholarship, a revelation of the creative spirit
that has flourished throughout this country.
Three volumes, slipcased. Over 1,000 illustrations.
1. For those of the "realist" persuasion, "Claudio
Bravo" is a must-have library addition. The quality and reproduction
is outstanding. Bravo's range as to subject matter, composition, and
execution in various media is nothing short of genius.
Clearly, Bravo is a modern master and the compilation
of his work and life has been done masterfully in this book.
2. Claudio Bravo is hands down the best artist
there is still living, period. Fluff piece? not when merit is the order
of the day. Practically self- taught Bravo paints with obvious skill
He explains his approach, in the text, and within
the still lifes, and figurative work, whether in oil, pastel, chalk,
or pencil, he commands his instinct to pursue his vision.
Don't like it? Tough, Bravo isn't ashamed, nor repentent
about his skill as a realist, quasi- or otherwise. I saw the man's
work at Duke in '88 and made my decision there and then to be an artist.
I've never looked back, and his book is a confirmation
of ideals badly missed in contemporary art, and I wish there
were more copies so I could buy one. Now old boy is in the 60's U.S.
take notice, this is one true artist not likely to come this way
again, dig it. Adam Narcross
3. This lavishly illustrated book is a visual
delight, including the inordinately beautiful drawings seldom
seen in addition to the paintings of figures, of still lifes, of
color and light and intensity as few others can imitate.
As with all representational artists Bravo has his
champions and his detractors, some viewers finding his work from lewd
to boring while others stand in awe of the painters amazing gifts of
incorporating light and mood where few other artists tread.
The late novelist Paul Bowles delivers an odd compliment
in the introduction to this sumptuously illustrated survey of the neoclassical
painter Claudio Bravo. Bravo (b. 1936), he says, sure knows how to
manage his Moroccan servants.
Yet Bowles's comment may be more relevant than it
first appears, for Bravo's talent for control is evident in every painting
reproduced here; no one who opens this book will doubt that he has
a dazzling technical mastery of his materials.
And if a handful of self-consciously thematic paintings
(stiffly posed models and vaguely symbolic objects) and an essay written
in impenetrable art talk by critic Calvo Serraller fail to definitely
establish Bravo as a Serious Artist," this detracts little from the
book's real attraction: the glorious
Bravo's canvases from the early 1960s through the
recent past depict flowers, curtains, vegetables, statuettes and a
variety of opulent housewares arranged just so—all with a fineness
of detail that flirts with photorealism while retaining a warm, painterly
True, after the 20th or so perfect composition in
a rich Mediterranean light, some viewers might begin to find Bravo's
paintings a bit repetitive. The subject matter and the basic look of
his paintings—his hypnotically clear midday interiors—have been much
the same throughout his career.
But regardless of Bravo's ultimate place in art history,
his many fans will find this definitive collection to be a treasure
trove and a delight. (Nov.)
Critical opinion of this Chilean-born realist ranges
from "vulgar" to "compelling." Those in the latter camp will be pleased
with the more than 200 crisp and luminous color reproductions of Bravo's sensuous landscapes,
still lifes, and proto-Renaissance figure paintings rendered with startlingly
deft technical virtuosity.
Unfortunately, finding a particular illustration by
title is problematic, as the index of works is not alphabetically arranged.
The introductory essays by literary notables Bowles
and Vargas Llosa are also disappointing, curiously set in large type,
and do more to add to the artist's mystique as an ascetic living in
Tangiers than to explain his place in 20th-century art history.
A more substantive and authoritative text is provided
by Edward J. Sullivan in an earlier, much slimmer monograph (Claudio
Bravo, 1985. o.p.).
Nevertheless, the many gorgeous plates, together with
a good bibliography, biographical data, and listings of exhibitions
and collections, make this a worthy purchase for libraries with an
interest in 20th-century or Latin American art.?Heidi Martin Winston,
Willsdon has notably enriched both the history
and the canon of British art with this breakthrough study. Albion
Willsdon's work of exposition is of lasting
value ... Even the specialist in this period will find on every page
new and significant information. Albion
The sheer physical difficulty of photographing
these works, often in poor condition and in buildings which have
undergone conversion, cannot be underestimated
... the sudden availability of this visual archive
will surely have a major impact on the ways in which British art
from the 1840s to the 1930s is understood and taught. Albion
Clare Willsdon's massive and superbly illustrated
book provides an essential first stage in the process of overturning
art history's partial and grudging assessment of the subject.
The work of two decades, it is an extraordinary
achievement of primary research, both documentary and object-based. Albion
As befits a history rather than a critical study,
each scheme gets its due attention, and some - like that in the Royal
Exchange, begun in 1892 but stretching to 1924 - are detailed in
this book for the first time ...
In each section, the best murals are thoughtfully
examined, with footnotes revealing the depth of the author's trawl
through many unusual archives. Apollo
This magnificent and lavishly illustrated book
is the culmination of twenty years' research, and joins such valuable
pioneering studies as Benedict Read's Victorian Sculpture and Colin
Cunningham's Victorian and Edwardian Town Halls. Apollo
Remarkable achievement based on careful and
detailed research that has been intelligently distilled and presented
in a beautifully illustrated and unique volume. Dorothy
Rowe, The Art Book
Continuing in the tradition of an excellent
series, this book makes a major contribution to the study of British
art ... densely argued, pervasively illustrated, vigorous, wide-questing
scholarship that informs this landmark study of a hitherto neglected
subject. Burlington Magazine
This book comes not a minute too soon. The
importance of what remains of a once neglected art form, now being
rescued and restored in many instances, may yet be appreciated at
a level close to the scale of its ambitions. Charlotte
Gere, The Art Newspaper
This fine volume in the Clarendon Studies in
the History of the Art series successfully puts mural painting on
the map of British art history. Art & Christianity
The text is most elegantly phrased and vivid
in its description of works; and the complex issues of politics,
patronage, style, technique, and meaning are woven together very
In her conclusion Dr Willsdon states that 'Mural
painting is a fact which has to be taken into account in any rational
appraisal of British art as a whole' and in producing this major
work she removes any excuses for the future neglect of this significant
art form. Annette Carruthers, Journal
of the Scottish Society for Art History
Splendidly illustrated ... I can only urge you
to borrow the book from the public library or to read it in the reference
section. It is expensive, but if everyone gives you book tokens at
Christmas, Dr Willsdon's tome is worth every penny. Ann Saunders,
London Topographical Society Newsletter
Willsdon's extraordinarily detailed analysis
and reflective approach without doubt will make this an excellent
academic resource in art history, politics and social studies. Elizabeth
Cumming, Charles Rennie Mackintosh Society Newsletter
This extensively illustrated book is much more
than a catalogue of mural work of the period, providing, as it does,
an in-depth consideration of several of the many murals featured.
It covers subjects as varied as artistic styles
and techniques, art education, the nature of patronage, the formation
of identity and politics, both national and personal, all converging
in the field of mural painting. Melanie Unwin, Crafts Magazine
This substantial survey discusses state, civic, commercial,
church, private, and other British murals. Written by the leading authority
in Britain on mural painting after 1800, it is a pioneering study that
covers works by over 400 artists and numerous murals never previously
documented or illustrated.
I own a lot of art books, and this one has the BEST
REPRODUCTIONS I HAVE EVER SEEN.
Each painting is printed as large as possible, with
near perfect color and detail reproduction.
Viewing the paintings in this book are almost
as good as seeing them in a museum.
Somebody paid a lot of time and attention to quality
control when printing this book.
Whoever selected the pieces did a great job; landscape
paintings throughout the history of western art, not always the obvious
choice from particular artists, but all great paintings.
Few books anymore give one a sumptuous
pleasure, not quite self-indulgence (the love of
art can never truly be self-indulgent), but the satisfaction of
sensual and intellectual stimulation.
This is a ravishing art book, with an extremely good
-- and, most of the time, not very predictable -- selection of paintings
spanning centuries of landscape painting history.
Very thick and very heavy, it's not a book, logistically
speaking, to curl up in bed with; instead, enjoy
it on a peaceful evening with a fresh cup of coffee at hand
and some lovely music in the background.
It will, as only the best art books can, not merely refresh
your eyes and your spirit, but it might actually renew
some of your faith in humanity in a world that -- let's
face it -- is increasingly like a beserk insane asylum. And isn't
that, after all, what art and books have been about all along?
From Greek pastorals to the romantic drama of the
Hudson River school, artists have envisioned landscapes as emblems
of the divine, images of dominion, or reflections of inner worlds.
The story of landscape painting is in many ways the
story of Western civilization itself, as artists contrast the menace
and glory of wilderness with the bounty and safety of cultivation and
consider humankind's place in the great web of life. Then, too, there
is the story of painting's ongoing stylistic evolution.
Art historian Buttner addresses every facet of landscape
painting with erudition, acute perception, and finesse in a majestic
volume as generous in size and narrative depth as the vistas it showcases
Buttner's sweeping history unfolds century by century,
country by country, beginning with a first-century B.C.E. Roman fresco
and concluding with Georgia O'Keeffe.
Buttner analyzes paintings by dozens of artists, including
Giorgione, Brueghel, Poussin, Jacob van Ruisdael, Albert Bierstadt,
and the impressionists, lingering over works that combine "a clear
and precise depiction of reality with an intriguing ambiguity." Donna
Best known for sublime pictures with subdued titles
such as A Short Walk, Dog on the Steps and Island Farmhouse, East Coast
brahmin Porter (1907-1975) has come to be acknowledged as one of the
great 20th-century American painters.
In his Maine and Long Island landscapes, as well as
in his work that includes (however slowed down) human activity, Porter
reports accurately on beauty and clutter, tangled branches and syncopated
waves, but also sitters at angles to tables and cars askew in parking
He is unafraid of extreme contrasts, top-heavy and
busy compositions, eccentric viewpoints and lighting, miscellaneous
blotches and antidramatic subjects, yet his paintings are inevitably
recognizable, subtle and affectionate.
His gift, like that of the New York School poets with
whom he is associated, is to make his subjects just clear enough to
keep the pictures from becoming sums of distractions. This book complements
Ludman's catalogue raisonn‚ of the prints and follows a year after
a substantial biography from Yale University Press.
Just over 1,300 works are documented here, prefaced
by acute essays by painter Rackstraw Downes and William Agee; there
are images and notes from critical reviews for most of the listed titles.
Again and again, the notes to the pictures remark that Porter's work
was both figural and abstract.
This aesthetic dual citizenship is handled in every
manner from obtuse to fully registered, a range encapsulated in Charles
LeClair's analysis of Jimmy and Leaf Cart, a picture of the Pulitzer
Prize-winning poet James Schuyler engaged in lawn work: "Porter paints
each object as a flat plane that erases detail....
The figure of Jimmy is reduced to flat colors designed
not to make him stand out... but to blend into the scene." Or as Porter,
a critic himself, put it, "Love is
paying attention." For any lover of painting, this catalogue will be
more than an overdue arrival, it will be a roadmap for pilgrimages.
The figurative, highly colored works of Fairfield
Porter (1907-75) are often overshadowed by those of his more flamboyant
contemporaries in the Abstract Expressionist New York School or the
striking output of artists such as Stuart Davis or Edward Hopper.
His meticulous landscapes, still lifes, and portraits
are, however, an important contribution to American art. Covering Porter's
adult output (1924-75), this catalogue raisonn? chronicles over 1300
works. Each work is fully documented, including provenance, exhibition
history, and references.
Though a vast majority of the works are illustrated
with black-and-white images, a significant number are represented with
Compiled by art historian Ludman (who also compiled
Fairfield Porter: A Catalogue Raisonn? of His Prints), this volume
also includes essays by art historians Rackstraw Dawes, William C.
Agee, and John T. Spikes.
For a complete biographical treatment of Porter, see
Justin Spring's Fairfield Porter: A Life in Art (LJ 1/00). Recommended
for larger collections of 20th-century art. Martin R. Kalfatovic, Smithsonian
Inst. Libs., Washington, DC
The reputation of English visionary artist Stanley
Spencer (1891-1959) has waxed and waned over the decades.
This catalogue raisonne of his paintings, which combines
474 plates (314 in color) and an absorbing critical-biographical profile,
...should revive interest in
an individualistic painter who welded the influences of the Pre-Raphaelites,
Giotto, the Mexican realists and Futurism into highly personal allegories
of peace, love,
...alienation and redemption. Bell, a University of
Saskatchewan art historian who curated a Spencer exhibit at London's
Royal Academy, unravels Spencer's mystical approach to painting, which
was deeply rooted in the Bible.
He discusses Spencer's obsessive courtship of Bloomsbury
Group artist Patricia Preece; their marriage unleashed a welter of
sexual imagery in Spencer's canvases. Featured here are religious pictures,
war scenes, bustling satires of modern life, precise landscapes full
of mystery and intimate portraits of friends and lovers.
An account of the life and career of Stanley Spencer,
which examines his highly personal philosophy, his eroticism and religiosity
in the context of his paintings. This book catalogues and illustrates
nearly 500 paintings, the full Spencer canon. --This text refers to
an alternate Hardcover edition.
Famous for his dreamy 1960s paintings of cakes, Wayne
Thiebaud began his career as a commercial artist and cartoon illustrator
like many other artists of the period, including Andy Warhol.
And like Warhol, Thiebaud became tied to pop art since
he was making images of popular American products like food, lipsticks,
Yet unlike many of his pop peers, Bay Area-based Thiebaud
wasn't interested in poking fun at the establishment. He's a painter's
painter, a real traditionalist.
Wayne Thiebaud: A Paintings Retrospective covers
a career of rendering still lifes, cityscapes, landscapes, and the
figure. His cake paintings are formally beautiful in their color, shadow,
They are perfect specimens of the good life in America,
the paint lovingly applied in places like thick frosting. His cityscapes
of San Francisco fiercely exaggerate the hilly landscape, capturing
a perspective from the ground and air simultaneously while utilizing
the light that the Bay Area is famous for.
Thoughtful essays by Steven A. Nash, associate
director and chief curator for the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco,
and Adam Gopnik, a writer for The New Yorker , discuss Thiebaud
in relation to his peers, pop, modernism, and abstract expressionism.
This book serves as a catalog for Thiebaud's
major retrospective, which opened in San Francisco and travels to Forth
Worth, Texas, Washington, D.C., and ends in New York in the fall of 2001.
Besides their beauty, these works truly
capture a period of American life in a way that feels free of irony but
not without commentary about nature, the city, and how we've lived. --J.P.
"He is an American painter, someone who paints for
a living and whose subject, for all its formal perfection, is what
we are to make of American abundance," writes New Yorker art critic
Gopnik in his long, in-jokey introductory essay to Thiebaud's oeuvre
now touring the country as a retrospective.
As Gopnik makes clear, Thiebaud is famous for his
lush early '60s paintings of cakes, other sweets and people eating
them, but this book and the exhibition it documents put together by
chief curator Nash of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco,
...who also provides an essay reveal the painter to
be preoccupied with a larger slice of American life. The impossible
perspectives and multigraded blues and yellows of the cityscapes here
seem more bizarrely true to San Francisco than stills from Vertigo.
Heavy Traffic, Deli Bowls, Tie Rack and Rabbit are
just what they say they are, yet their surfaces
coax us into looking at them harder and longer than such banal
objects could possibly entice on their own.
Such dressings-up themselves are commonplace in media-saturated
American life, and Thiebaud redirects their energy unerringly throughout
the 160 illustrations here, most in color.
One might wish for a less insidery guide to the work
than Gopnik's, but the panache of his biographical prose carries
readers right into the paintings, well and comprehensively
selected by Nash, whose own essay provides welcome detail on Thiebaud's
This book is the same size as the Wyeth
At Kuerner's book and just as good. Indeed, it is the companion volume
according to the back flyleaf.
There are 105 pre-studies, 128 four-color
illustrations and 28 photographs.
Of course, it is about the most famous
painting in this century by an American artist, but also includes all
of the work Andrew did out at the Olson farm indoors and out.
One really has to appreciate these
fine books that show the stages of a great artist's work. There is really
nothing else quite like them.
At almost half the original price this
book arrived in almost new condition. The seller even enclosed a newspaper
artice from a 1986 LA Times review of Wyeth.
My thanks to the seller for so carefully
packaging this treasure. I'd grown up admiring the "Christina's
World" painting, and after having visited the Olsen House, the book was
a must. I feel I have the "set" now- in addition to "Kuerners" and "Andrew
These were beautiful books when they originally
were published, priceless treasures now
to admirers of Andrew Wyeth. Thank you Betsy for saving his art.