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Portrait Painters in Kentucky and the Ohio River Valley, 1802-1920
From 1802, when the young artist William Edward West began painting portraits on a downriver trip to New Orleans, to 1918, when John Alberts, the last of Frank Duveneck’s students, worked in Louisville, a wide variety of portrait artists were active in Kentucky and the Ohio River Valley. Lessons in Likeness: Portrait Painters in Kentucky and the Ohio River Valley, 1802–1920 charts the course of those artists as they painted the mighty and the lowly, statesmen and business magnates as well as country folk living far from urban centers. Paintings by each artist are illustrated, when possible, from The Filson Historical Society collection of some 400 portraits representing one of the most extensive holdings available for study in the region. This volume begins with a cultural chronology—a backdrop of critical events that shaped the taste and times of both artist and sitter. The chronology is followed by brief biographies of the artists, both legends and recent discoveries, illustrated by their work. Matthew Harris Jouett, who studied with Gilbert Stuart, William Edward West, who painted Lord Byron, and Frank Duveneck are well-known; far less so are James T. Poindexter, who painted charming children’s portraits in western Kentucky, Reason Croft, a recently discovered itinerant in the Louisville area, and Oliver Frazer, the last resident portrait artist in Lexington during the romantic era. Pennington’s study offers a captivating history of portraiture not only as a cherished possession but also representing a period of cultural and artistic transitions in the history of the Ohio River Valley region.
The Drawings and Lithographs of John Thomas Biggers
John Thomas Biggers (1924–2001) was a major African American artist who inspired countless others through his teaching, murals, paintings, and drawings. After receiving conventional art training at Hampton Institute and Pennsylvania State, he had his personal and artistic breakthrough in 1957 when he spent six months in the newly independent country of Ghana. From this time forward, he integrated African abstract elements with his rural Southern images to create a personal iconography. His new approach made him famous, as his personal discovery of African heritage fit in well with the growing U.S. civil rights movement. He is best known for his murals at Hampton University, Winston-Salem University, and Texas Southern, but the drawings and lithographs that lie behind the murals have received scant attention—until now. Theisen interviewed Dr. Biggers during the last thirteen years of his life, and was welcomed into his studio innumerable times. Together, they selected representative works for this volume, some of which have not been previously published for a general audience. After his death in 2001, his widow continued to work closely with Theisen, resulting in a book that is intimate and informative for both the scholar and the student.
The Popular Art and Illustrations of George Benjamin Luks
George Benjamin Luks (1867-1933) is renowned for the oil paintings, watercolors, and pastel drawings he created as an acclaimed member of the artists' collective known as the Ashcan School. His professional development came, however, from his apprenticeship as a newspaper and magazine artist. Luks spent his early career drawing cartoons, spot illustrations, political caricatures, and comic strips for the New York World and other papers. These early portraits and stories of street urchins, peddlers, shopkeepers, and other ordinary New Yorkers would all be revisited in his later painting. He achieved fame when he took over drawing Hogan's Alley for Joseph Pulitzer's New York World after the strip's originator Richard F. Outcault defected to William Randolph Hearst's New York Journal.Life on the Press: The Popular Art and Illustrations of George Benjamin Luks explores the roots of the artist's career drawing turn-of-the-twentieth-century New York City. The city's vital popular press served as a crucible in which a number of American artists honed their talents and learned how to communicate ideas to a broad popular audience.The resultant work, both popular and controversial, challenged notions of good art and proper subject matter. Robert L. Gambone's study brings Luks's early work to light and reveals the funny, often edgy, and sometimes prejudicial creations that formed the base upon which Luks built his later career.
The Public Sculpture of El Tajín
El Tajín, an ancient Mesoamerican capital in Veracruz, Mexico, has long been admired for its stunning pyramids and ballcourts decorated with extensive sculptural programs. Yet the city’s singularity as the only center in the region with such a wealth of sculpture and fine architecture has hindered attempts to place it more firmly in the context of Mesoamerican history. In Lightning Gods and Feathered Serpents, Rex Koontz undertakes the first extensive treatment of El Tajín’s iconography in over thirty years, allowing us to view its imagery in the broader Mesoamerican context of rising capitals and new elites during a period of fundamental historical transformations. Koontz focuses on three major architectural features—the Pyramid of the Niches/Central Plaza ensemble, the South Ballcourt, and the Mound of the Building Columns complex—and investigates the meanings of their sculpture and how these meanings would have been experienced by specific audiences. Koontz finds that the iconography of El Tajín reveals much about how motifs and elite rites growing out of the Classic period were transmitted to later Mesoamerican peoples as the cultures centered on Teotihuacan and the Maya became the myriad city-states of the Early Postclassic period. By reexamining the iconography of sculptures long in the record, as well as introducing important new monuments and contexts, Lightning Gods and Feathered Serpents clearly demonstrates El Tajín’s numerous iconographic connections with other areas of Mesoamerica, while also exploring its roots in an indigenous Gulf lowlands culture whose outlines are only now emerging. At the same time, it begins to uncover a largely ignored regional artistic culture of which Tajín is the crowning achievement.
Cet ouvrage illustre les processus par lesquels « on peut donner sens » à sept tableaux, tant figuratifs qu’abstraits, produits entre le XVe et le XXe siècle, qui ont conservé une aura de mystère. En guidant les regardeurs dans une riche appréhension sensorielle et émotive des œuvres, cet essai propose non pas des critiques mais plutôt des voies d’interprétation, où est sauvegardé le privilège d’aimer ou de ne pas aimer les œuvres.
Sustainable Design of Learning Environments
The book presents numerous examples of dynamic designs that are the result of interdisciplinary understanding of place. Taylor includes designer perspectives, forums derived from commentary by outside contributors involved in school planning, and a wealth of photographs of thoughtful and effective solutions to create learning environments from comprehensive design criteria.
Buildings tell stories. Castles, country homes, churches, and monasteries are “documents” of the people who built them, owned them, lived and died in them, inherited and saved or destroyed them, and recorded their histories. Literature and Architecture in Early Modern England examines the relationship between sixteenth- and seventeenth-century architectural and literary works. By becoming more sensitive to the narrative functions of architecture, Anne M. Myers argues, we begin to understand how a range of writers viewed and made use of the material built environment that surrounded the production of early modern texts in England. Scholars have long found themselves in the position of excusing or explaining England’s failure to achieve the equivalent of the Italian Renaissance in the visual arts. Myers proposes that architecture inspired an unusual amount of historiographic and literary production, including poetry, drama, architectural treatises, and diaries. Works by William Camden, Henry Wotton, Ben Jonson, Andrew Marvell, George Herbert, Anne Clifford, and John Evelyn, when considered as a group, are texts that overturn the engrained critical notion that a Protestant fear of idolatry sentenced the visual arts and architecture in England to a state of suspicion and neglect.
My Life as an Object
Live Nude Girl is a lively meditation on the profession of nude modeling—that “spine-tingling combination of power and vulnerability, submission and dominance”—as it has been practiced in history and as it is practiced today. Kathleen Rooney draws on her own experiences working as an artist’s model, as well as on the stories of famous, notorious, and mysterious artists and models through the ages.
Throughout history, artists have often taken their inspiration from religious sources, stories, and imagery, especially from episodes centered on the miracles or martyrdom of Christian saints. In our present age, works of art have never been more carefully preserved and enhanced; museum exhibitions and visits to view artwork in churches and cathedrals have never been more popular. Yet the meanings behind these masterpieces and their tremendous artistic heritage, in contrast, have never been so neglected.
The Lives of the Saints through 100 Masterpieces has been designed to look beyond the unquestioned artistic merit of these paintings — often quite well known to us as visual images — to deepen our appreciation of the meanings behind such masterpieces. Jacques Duquesne’s descriptions of each piece recount the stories they represent and explain, further, the religious, historical, and cultural background surrounding them.
Mexican settlers first came to the valley of the Rio Grande to establish their ranchos in the 1750s. Two centuries later the Great River, dammed in an international effort by the U.S. and Mexican governments to provide flood control and a more dependable water supply, inundated twelve settlements that had been built there. Under the waters of the new Falcón Reservoir lay homes, businesses, churches, and cemeteries abandoned by residents on both sides of the river when the floods of 1953 filled the 115,000-acre area two years ahead of schedule. The Smithsonian Institution, the National Park Service, and the University of Texas at Austin conducted an initial survey of the communities lost to the Falcón Reservoir, but these studies were never completed or fully reported. When architect W. Eugene George came to the area in the 1960s, he found a way of life waiting to be preserved in words, photographs, and drawings. Two subsequent recessions of the reservoir—in 1983–86 and again in 1996–98—gave George new access to one of the settlements, Guerrero Viejo in Mexico. Unfortunately, the receding lake waters also made the village accessible to looters. George’s work, then, was crucial in documenting the indigenous architecture of these villages, both as it existed prior to the flooding and as it remained before it was despoiled by vandals’ hands. Lost Architecture of the Rio Grande Borderlands combines George’s original 1975 Texas Historical Commission report with the information he gleaned during the two low-water periods. This handsome, extended photographic essay casts new light on the architecture and lives of the people of the Texas-Mexico borderlands.