This book explores the world of American folk art collectors--people who saw the beauty and value of the folk-art portraits, weathervanes, and carvings that mainstream America had hitherto relegated to attics, barns, and dust bins. Although pioneer collectors sought out and preserved objects that are today regarded as icons, little has been known of their motivations, aesthetics, or display techniques. Unlike the mainly white, professional, male collectors of furniture, silver, and other traditional decorative arts who were the subject of Elizabeth Stillinger's classic study The Antiquers, the earliest folk art collectors were a bohemian crowd made up of women, artists, immigrants, oddballs, and outsiders. They were drawn to folk art not by its prestige value but by its artistic, instructive, and ethnological significance. A Kind of Archeology begins by examining the evolution of the concept of folk art, relating it to nineteenth- and early twentieth-century movements such as romanticism, nationalism, arts and crafts, and colonial revivalism. Four sections follow, each presenting a category of collector--antiquarian and ethnologist, modernist, decorator and aesthete, and patriot and nationalist--and offering portraits of individual collectors and dealers. The book closes with the exhibition The Flowering of American Folk Art, 1776-1876, which opened in 1974. The show was so successful that prices shot skyward, and folk objects, after a century of being disregarded, misunderstood, then championed by a few enthusiasts and gradually accepted in a small segment of the art world, finally entered the realm of highly desirable and collectible art.
Traces the history of art in America, from the early works of Native Americans to the present day, and includes critical commentaries, anecdotes, profiles, and hundreds of illustrations
Charley Harper was an American original. For over six decades he painted colorful and graphic illustrations of nature, animals, insects and people alike, from his home studio in Cincinnati, Ohio until he passed away in 2007 at the age of 84. Renowned New York based designer Todd Oldham rediscovered Charley's work in 2001, and collaborated closely with him in the ensuing years; combing through his extensive archive to edit and design this stunning monograph. This coffee table tome is popularly priced, beautiful tribute to Charley Harper's singular style, which he referred to as Minimal Realism.
Through the prism of America's most enduring African-inspired art form, the Lowcountry basket, Grass Roots guides readers across 300 years of American and African history. In scholarly essays and beautiful photographs, Grass Roots follows the coiled basket along its transformation on two continents from a simple farm tool once used for processing grain to a work of art and a central symbol of African and African American identity. Featuring images of the stunning work of contemporary basket makers from South Carolina to South Africa, as well as historic photographs that document the artistic heritage of the southern United States, Grass Roots appears at a moment when public recognition of the Gullah/Geechee heritage is encouraging a reexamination of Africa's contribution to American civilization.
Working with basket makers from Charleston and Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina, historian Dale Rosengarten has been studying African-American baskets for over 20 years and brings her research up-to-date with interviews of artists and the results of recent historical inquiry. Anthropologist Enid Schildkrout draws on her research in West Africa and museum collections around the world to explore the African antecedents of Lowcountry basketry. Geographer Judith A. Carney discusses the origins of rice in Africa and reveals how enslaved Africans brought to America not only rice seeds but, just as important, the technical know-how that turned southern coastal forests and swamps into incredibly profitable rice plantations. Historian Peter H. Wood discusses the many skills that enslaved Africans contributed to the settlement of the Old South and at the same time used to resist the conditions of their servitude. John Michael Vlach, a leading authority on African American folk art, discusses the history of visual depictions of plantation life. Fath Davis Ruffins, a specialist on the imagery of popular culture, sheds light on the history embedded in old photographs of African Americans in the Charleston area. Cultural historian Jessica B. Harris explores the tradition of rice in American cooking and the enduring African influences in the southern kitchen. Anthropologist and art historian Sandra Klopper sketches the history of coiled basketry in South Africa, illuminating its evolution from utilitarian craft to fine art, parallel to developments in America. Anthropologist J. Lorand Matory traces the changing meanings of Gullah/Geechee identity and discusses its appearance as a significant force on the American cultural scene today.
Thomas Eakins is widely considered one of the great American painters, an artist whose uncompromising realism helped move American art from the Victorian era into the modern age. He is also acclaimed as a paragon of integrity, one who stood up for his artistic beliefs even when they brought him personal and professional difficulty--as when he was fired from the Pennsylvania Academy of Art for removing a model's loincloth in a drawing class.
Yet beneath the surface of Eakins's pictures is a sense of brooding unease and latent violence--a discomfort voiced by one of his sitters who said his portrait "decapitated" her. In Eakins Revealed, art historian Henry Adams examines the dark side of Eakins's life and work, in a startling new biography that will change our understanding of this American icon. Based on close study of Eakins's work and new research in the Bregler papers, a major collection never fully mined by scholars, this volume shows Eakins was not merely uncompromising, but harsh and brutal both in his personal life and in his painting. Adams uncovers the bitter personal feuds and family tragedies surrounding Eakins--his mother died insane and his niece committed suicide amid allegations that Eakins had seduced her--and documents the artist's tendency toward psychological abuse and sexual harassment of those around him.
This provocative book not only unveils new facts about Eakins's life; more important, it makes sense, for the first time, of the enigmas of his work. Eakins Revealed promises to be a controversial biography that will attract readers inside and outside the art world, and fascinate anyone concerned with the mystery of artistic genius.
As E. H. Gombrich once observed, the still life is compelled to challenge and at the same time perpetuate tradition. Without the elements of recognition and comparison, and the discovery of the familiar in the unfamiliar, the genre would lose most of its meaning. This lavishly illustrated volume documents the extraordinary challenges that artists in California have brought to the tradition of the still life as they have transformed and revitalized the genre over the course of the last century.
In abundantly illustrated essays, as entertaining as they are informative, The Not-So-Still Life traces the great variety of media and forms these artists have engaged as they have moved the still life not just off the table, but off the wall and into three dimensions. Susan Landauer, William H. Gerdts, and Patricia Trenton investigate a range of forces and influences--whether historical, sociological, economic, psychological, or biographical--that have played into this evolution, from the plein-air Impressionism of the early twentieth century to the Synchromist bouquets of Stanton Macdonald-Wright, the revolving table settings of Charles Ray, and the electronic sculptures of Alan Rath. In doing so they deepen our understanding of American art over the last century.
Presenting, interpreting, and celebrating the world-renowned and the lesser-known California artists who have uniquely defined and redefined the still life, this volume offers an exploration of the sensual pleasures, the aesthetic challenges, and the intellectual and perceptual associations of a century of art through the prism of a single genre.