Signatures are unique and often reveal something of our individual personalities. In this intriguing book, John Wilmerding--an eminent historian of American art--explores the unconventional use of signatures in paintings. The author focuses on American artists who have not simply signed their works on a corner of the canvas but have intentionally placed their signatures within thepictorial space of the painting. A painter's name or initials might, for instance, appear as an illusion on a wall or floor, on an object within an interior, or on some form in a landscape. Wilmerding examines such signatures in works by twenty-seven artists from the eighteenth through twentieth centuries, including John Singleton Copley, Winslow Homer, Thomas Eakins, Jasper Johns, Andrew Wyeth, and Richard Estes.
After providing an overview of signatures in European art, Wilmerding looks closely at American painting. He argues that by placing a signature within a painting the artist may be making an explicit association with the setting or situation depicted. He demonstrates that such signatures or inscriptions can be viewed as fragments of autobiography or as concentrated glimpses of self-representation. Beautifully designed and handsomely illustrated, this book brings into focus the myriad and complex meanings of artists' signatures and is of interest to anyone who admires and studies American art and culture.
Hundreds of photographs highlight a tour of the historic Brandywine Valley region of Pennsylvania and Delaware, featuring journeys to the famed Brandywine River Museum, the Longwood Gardens, and other notable museums, estates, and garden landmarks.
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.
Told in a unique first-person creative nonfiction narrative, Women Artists of the West profiles five important women artists who lived, worked, and created in the early years of the twentieth century--Georgia O'Keeffe, Maria Martinez, Dorothea Lange, Laura Gilpin, Mary-Russell Colton.
One of the most fertile periods in American design, the years 1920 to 1945 witnessed many influences and styles. The influx of emigre artists, such as Eliel Saarinen, Josef Albers, Gertrud and Otto Natzler and Paul T. Frankl, with the landmark 1925 Art Deco exposition in Paris, the Bauhaus, and the World of Tomorrow exhibition at the 1939 New York World's Fair, all contributed to the shift from the handmade objects of the Arts and Crafts Movement to the streamlined, geometric forms of modernism.
Green Woods and Crystal Waters examines American landscape painting in the second half of the 20th century through the works of 89 artists. Keeping the city at a safe distance, it focuses on the pastoral views and dramatic wilderness that have provided such a powerful American subject for over two centuries. Formally and expressively diverse, the works range from the objective depiction of the physical appearance of nature to the romantic or mystical use of landscape as a vehicle for poetic and spiritual concerns to the expressionist's reshaping of nature to follow the curvature of interior moods. Each of these very different approaches is central to our visual tradition and has colored our portrayals of the landscape.