American realism: Twentieth-century drawings and watercolors from the collection of Glenn C. Janss

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9780918471048: American realism: Twentieth-century drawings and watercolors from the collection of Glenn C. Janss

Book by Martin, Alvin

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From Library Journal:

Both these works combine exhibition catalog with a study of aspects of 20th-century American art. However, the media, approaches, and results are different. In An American Renaissance art historians and critics celebrate an unprecedented flowering of talent. The period since 1940 has been one of rapid change, of new art forms and movements, and the treatment must result in a "synoptic history," a brief glimpse from the New York School through "neo-everything." The decision to sacrifice depth for breadth makes the work visually attractive but intellectually less rewarding, and much of the writing is bogged down in jargon and lists of names. There is, however, a useful bibliography with sections for specific artists. A handsome, but by no means necessary, purchase. American Realism is the catalog of over 200 selections from a major private collection. Martin explores the state of mind that is realism, the effort to define the self in relation to the environment by description. The 13 categories identified for analysis (Natural Landscape through Urban Scene) are grouped in an evolutionary fashion to represent the historic development of the world and the artist's changing relationship to it. One can experience the development of the collector's eye and reap the visual reward of the collector's commitment, aesthetic judgment, and knowledge. A welcome, if not essential, addition to larger collections. Paula Frosch, Metropolitan Museum of Art Lib., New York
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Publishers Weekly:

Realism has been a major, vital movement in American art during the pluralist 1970s and '80s. Anyone who doubts this statement need only visit the stunning "American Realism" show that is now touring nationally. This catalogue of that exhibition is grouped by subject matter (animals, landscapes, the human figure, the urban scene, portraits, etc.). The format lets the viewer compare how O'Keeffe, Demuth and Sheeler handled tree trunks; it also demonstrates that contemporary realists, in doing portraits, are influenced by a variety of styles from pointillist to precisionist. The stuffy, academic text maps the history of the realist influence in Western art, from the "populist" Caravaggio to "street realist" Degas and Delacroix's "Romantic realism." When Martin (who teaches at Southern Methodist University) gets into 20th century America he is on surer ground. Stuart Davis, Thomas Hart Benton, John Sloan, Audrey Flack, Jack Beal and Neil Welliver are among the artists who, in their individual ways, have strengthened the realist tradition.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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