A Concise History of American Painting and Sculpture

A Concise History of American Painting and Sculpture

A Concise History of American Painting and Sculpture

A Concise History of American Painting and Sculpture

Synopsis

This clear, thorough, and reliable survey of American painting and sculpture from colonial times to the present day covers the major artists and their works, outlines the social and cultural backgrounds of each period, and includes 409 illustrations integrated with the text. The book begins with a discussion of seventeenth-century art along the eastern seaboard and ends with sections on current realistic process and technological art. The eight chapters are arranged chronologically and each generally follows the same organizational sequence. From time to time the author suggests continuities of themes, ideas, and images; and contrasts or comparisons are made between artists of the same or different centuries to show continuities or discontinuities. Some determining factors in American art are considered, but Baigell views the rich and diverse achievements of American art as the result of the efforts and talents of pluralistic society rather than as fitting into a particular mold. This edition includes corrections and revisions to the text, an updated bibliography, and thirteen new illustrations.

Excerpt

In this survey I have concentrated on that part of American art which developed from northern and western European traditions in order to sustain the narrative flow and to keep the text from becoming an unwieldy collection of chapters on quite different art traditions and styles. Within these guidelines, the first chapter begins with a discussion of seventeenth-century art along the eastern seaboard, and the last chapter includes sections on current realistic, process, and technological art. I would have liked to discuss many more interesting and provocative artists, but constraints of space prevented me from considering all but the most historically important and intrinsically significant.

When preparing the Concise History, I resisted imposing a scheme on American art, such as finding its motivating impulses in the search for the Idea or the Fact, or discussing whether American art is basically idealistic, realistic, expressionistic, or something else. And the notion of finding a quintessentially American art in a pluralistic society seems too reductive to make much sense, anyway.

The chapters are arranged chronologically, and each generally follows the same organizational sequence. But deviations occur. In some chapters, for instance, sculpture is placed at the end, or left out entirely or integrated with discussions on painting. Short introductory sections in each chapter vary, depending on the ways the material seemed to present itself, and social and cultural observations appear, to a greater or lesser degree, when these seemed relevant. From time to time I suggest continuities of themes, ideas, and images. Occasionally contrasts or comparisons are made between artists of the same or of different centuries to point out continuities or discontinuities. My concern was to write a book that could be read as a continuous history rather than a series of separate chronological essays.

Illustrations have been keyed directly to the text, but in some instances photographs of particular works could not be obtained because of excessive costs, special restrictions, or lack of availability. Some favorites, therefore, could not be reproduced. Furthermore, since certain ideas were better explained through the works of a particular artist, I did not always follow the rule of thumb that an artist's importance is measured by the number of reproductions of his or her . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.