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Current Literature Edited by Elizabeth Crumley I. Book Reviews Book Review Panel: George Agoston, Rudolf Arnheim, John E. Bowlt, Donald Brook, Patricia Butler, Robert Dixon, Elmer Duncan, Vic Gray, John G . Hanhardt, Sharon Lebell, Alan Lee, Joy Turner Luke, John Mallinckrodt, Leo Narodny, Sean O’Driscoll, David Pariser, Allan Shields, David Topper, Steve Wilson. A MANUAL OFPAINTINGMATERIALS AND TECHNIQUES by Mark D. Gottsegen. Harper & Row, New York, NY, 1987.441 pp. Reviewed by Joy Turner Luke, Box IS, Route 1, Sperryville, VA 22740, U.S.A. This new book on artists’ materials contains information not covered in any other reference book in the field. The author, Mark Gottsegen, is a painter who teaches painting and a course on art materials at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He is a member of the Inter-Society Color Council committee on artist’s materialsand served as its chairman from 1981 until 1985. He is also a member of the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) subcommittee on artists’ paints and related materials, which has written standards covering lightfastness testing methods, quality, and labeling requirements for artists’ paints. Product labels reflecting these new requirements are beginning to appear on dealers’ shelves, and Gottsegen’s book furnishes, among many other things, the information necessary to fully interpret the terms of the new labels. As an example,ASTM Standard D4302 requires that manufacturers include on the label the Colour Index Name of the pigment(s) used in a paint. A Colour Index Name is assigned in England (which explains the ‘u’in the word ‘color’) to each pigment as an international form of pigment identification. For instance, the Colour Index Name for Cadmium Red is Pigment Red 108. The Introduction of Colour Index Names is important because the commercial name, which traditionally identified the pigment in the paint, frequently now indicates only the color of the paint. The name Vermilion may be used to indicate a general type of red, while more often than not the paint does not contain any of the pigment vermilion. The name Hansa Yellow may refer to about 14 different pigments, some very lightfast and some very fugitive. To be assured of the permanence of a paint and how it can be used appropriately , the artist must know the pigment it contains. This has been impossible, even though companies agreed to put the pigment’s Colour Index Name on their paint labels,because none of the available art material reference books explained the terminology and gave a list of common pigment names and their equivalent Colour Index Names. Gottsegen’s book includes 54 pages of information and tables on pigments not mentioned in any other reference book on art materials. The chapter on pigments contains a short section on color and color systems. This is also unique among books written for artists because the information, though brief, is correct. Unfortunately, the facts about color are usually garbled in the reference books and even in books about color that are marketed to artists. It is a distinct relief to find a book in this field that deals with how light. color and colorants affect the appearance of a work of art. The Munsell color system is briefly described,and the Swedish Natural Color System and Optical Society of America’s Uniform Color Scales are mentioned. The chapter and tables on pigments alone make this the best reference work available to painters today. In addition the book includes valuable information on a wide range of other art materials and techniques for using them. Fortunately, it is also clearly written and arranged for quick reference in the studio. The book is divided into three main sections: basic tools and materials, paint manufacture and painting techniques, and picture protection and restoration. The section on tools and materials includes information on supports, sizes and grounds, binders, solvents and thinners, varnishes, balsams, driers, retarders, preservatives and pigments. The section on painting includes information about the various types of artists’ paints currently available and how to make paints, as well as painting techniques, information on encaustics, wax soaps, pastels, and mural techniques. The section on picture protection covers varnishing, matting, framing, storage, photographing and transporting artworks...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1530-9282
Print ISSN
0024-094X
Pages
pp. 90-91
Launched on MUSE
2017-01-04
Open Access
No
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