Fifty graphic masterpieces representing the American artistic tradition from the 1880s to the 1980s are showcased in this volume, including the work of such renowned artists as Mary Cassatt, Edward Hopper, Stuart Davis, Jacob Lawrence, Andy Warhol, and Roy Lichtenstein. Life portraits of well-known Americans, from politicians and inventors to writers, artists, and musicians are represented. Theodore Roosevelt, W. C. Fields, Alice B. Toklas, Igor Stravinsky, Stokely Carmichael, Truman Capote, and Robert F. Kennedy number among them.
In her introductory essay for Eye Contact, Wendy Wick Reaves analyzes the history of twentieth-century portraiture in America and the changing role of drawing within it. Bernard F. Reilly Jr. follows with an essay about the intellectual developments that influenced artists' conceptualization of the figure. The volume also contains in-depth essays by Reaves and twelve other art historians on each of the highlighted National Portrait Gallery treasures. What emerges are rich, wonderful stories: Gaston Lachaise capturing an exuberant Hart Crane dancing nude with his hands clapping over his head; William Zorach drawing Edna St. Vincent Millay for Century magazine just after the young poet won the Pulitzer Prize; Beauford Delaney remembering James Baldwin after an intense, decades-long, mentoring friendship; Andy Warhol and Jamie Wyeth portraying each other, relishing their supposedly antithetical roles as the "Patriarch of Pop" and the "Prince of Realism."
Fifty portraits from 1880 to the present day include W. C. Fields, Igor Stravinsky, Thornton Wilder, Robert F. Kennedy, and Stokeley Carmichael.
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