William Cumming: The Image of Consequence

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9780295985541: William Cumming: The Image of Consequence
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William Cumming (b. 1917) is one of the most complex and contradictory American artists of the past century. Painter, correspondent, art and music critic, educator, memoirist, and loquacious interview subject, Cumming is heard here in his own words and through art critic Matthew Kangas, who brings together 140 crucial works and situates Cumming in the cultural context of his times - artistic, social, and political, including his years in the Communist Party USA.

Unaffected by decades of rapid stylistic changes in the art world, Cumming remained committed to the image of consequence -- socially relevant subject matter -- through the Great Depression, the "lost years" of World War II, and the Cold War. He then embraced a renewed sense of life, hope, and a second "conversion" to modernist painting's precepts of color, shadow, line, shape, and contour. With its solid cohesion of shapes, subject, and color, Cumming's art now bears comparison to Bonnard and Vuillard rather than Tobey or Callahan.

Self-taught and yet a brilliant instructor, Cumming was a slim young man who talked like Mark Twain and drew like a dream. This book takes advantage of exclusive access to letters the young artist wrote to his mentor, Margaret Bundy Callahan, during the mid-1940s, and includes much that Cumming left out of his 1984 memoir, Sketchbook.

Because of his close association with the Big Four -- Tobey, Graves, Callahan, and Anderson -- of the Northwest School, Cumming's art has often been compared to theirs and not allowed to stand on its own, considerably different, basis. That Kangas acknowledges this independent stand is one of this engrossing book's chief strengths.

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Book Description:

Examines the life work of the prominent Seattle artist and teacher.

About the Author:

Matthew Kangas is a corresponding editor for Art in America and contributes frequently to the Seattle Times and Sculpture. He is the author of a number of books, among them Epicenter: Essays on North American Art, William Ingham: Configuration of Forces, and Robert Willson: Image-Maker.

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9780295985558: William Cumming: The Image of Consequence

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ISBN 10:  0295985550 ISBN 13:  9780295985558
Publisher: Univ of Washington Pr, 2005
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