Meditations On a Hobby Horse and Other Essays On the Theory of Art


E.H. Gombrich - 1963
    In it he addresses fundamental questions about the nature of artistic achievement, the criteria of artistic value, and the role of language in understanding and interpreting images. These essays explore the problematic character of metaphors, analogies, symbols, myths, conventions and traditions in art and art-historical writing, and investigate the notions of representation, expression, abstraction and illusion.

Helvetica: Homage to a Typeface


Lars Müller - 2002
    It is simple and clean, and commonly seen in advertising, signage, and literature. The R has a curved leg, and the i and j have square dots. The Q has a straight angled tail, and the counterforms inside the O, Q, and C are oval. It is an all-purpose type design that can deliver practically any message clearly and efficiently. It is one of the most popular typefaces of all time. Helvetica: Homage to a Typeface presents 400 examples of Helvetica in action, selected from two diametrically opposed worlds. Superb applications by renowned designers are juxtaposed with an anonymous collection of ugly, ingenious, charming, and hair-raising samples of its use.

Abstract Expressionism


David Anfam - 1990
    Drawing on a vast array of scholarly research, David Anfam examines the politically radical spirit of a nucleus of artists who transgressed the traditional forms of American art and faced the tensions of a modernizing society. The author places the movement within a broad cultural background, while at the same time giving a close account of the visual art of Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning and Mark Rothko, as well as the photography of Aaron Siskind and the sculpture of David Smith. 169 illus., 28 in color

Essential Dali (256 Art Books)


Kirsten Bradbury - 1999
    While many of these are among his most famous, others may be less well known, but they are all essential to the development of Dalis artistic philosophy.

Art: A New History


Paul Johnson - 2003
    This narrative account, from the earliest cave paintings up to the present day, has new things to say about almost every period of art. Taking account of changing scholarship and shifting opinions, he draws our attention to a number of neglected artists and styles, especially in Scandinavia, Germany, Russia and the Americas.Paul Johnson puts the creative originality of the individual at the heart of his story. He pays particular attention to key periods: the emergence of the artistic personality in the Renaissance, the new realism of the early seventeenth century, the discovery of landscape painting as a separate art form, and the rise of ideological art. He notes the division of 'fashion art' and fine art at the beginning of the twentieth century, and how it has now widened.Though challenging and controversial, Paul Johnson is not primarily a revisionist. He is a passionate lover of beauty who finds creativity in many places. With 300 colour illustrations, this book is vivid, evocative and immensely readable, whether the author is describing the beauty of Egyptian low-relief carving or the medieval cathedrals of Europe, the watercolours of Thomas Girtin or the utility of Roman bridges ('the best bridges in history'), the genius of Andrew Wyeth or the tranquility of the Great Mosque at Damascus, the paintings of Ilya Repin or a carpet-page from the Lindisfarne Gospels. The warmth and enthusiasm of Paul Johnson's descriptions will send readers hurrying off to see these wonders for themselves.

Creative Authenticity: 16 Principles to Clarify and Deepen Your Artistic Vision


Ian Roberts - 2004
    These crippling fears are laid to rest through insightful discussions of personal experiences, the struggles of famous artists, and the rewards of producing art that comes from an authentic creative core. Providing sensitive reassurances that these struggles are normal, these essays encourage artists to focus on the development of their crafts and find inspiration to work through self-doubt.

Point and Line to Plane


Wassily Kandinsky - 1926
    It was his first perception of the dematerialization of an object and presaged the later development of his influential theories of non-objective art.During study and travel in Europe, the young artist breathed the heady atmosphere of artistic experimentation. Fauvism, Cubism, Symbolism, and other movements played an important role in the development of his own revolutionary approach to painting. Decrying literal representation, Kandinsky emphasized instead the importance of form, color, rhythm, and the artist's inner need in expressing reality.In Point and Line to Plane, one of the most influential books in 20th-century art, Kandinsky presents a detailed exposition of the inner dynamics of non-objective painting. Relying on his own unique terminology, he develops the idea of point as the "proto-element" of painting, the role of point in nature, music, and other art, and the combination of point and line that results in a unique visual language. He then turns to an absorbing discussion of line — the influence of force on line, lyric and dramatic qualities, and the translation of various phenomena into forms of linear expression. With profound artistic insight, Kandinsky points out the organic relationship of the elements of painting, touching on the role of texture, the element of time, and the relationship of all these elements to the basic material plane called upon to receive the content of a work of art.Originally published in 1926, this essay represents the mature flowering of ideas first expressed in Kandinsky's earlier seminal book, Concerning the Spiritual in Art. As an influential member of the Bauhaus school and a leading theoretician of abstract expressionism, Kandinsky helped formulate the modern artistic temperament. This book amply demonstrates the importance of his contribution and its profound effect on 20th-century art.

Ornament and Crime: Selected Essays


Adolf Loos - 1997
    Most deal with questions of design in a wide range of areas, from architecture and furniture, to clothes and jewellery, pottery, plumbing, and printing; others are polemics on craft education and training, and on design in general. Loos, the great cultural reformer and moralist in the history of European architecture and design was always a 'revolutionary against the revolutionaries'. With his assault on Viennese arts and crafts and his conflict with bourgeois morality, he managed to offend the whole country. His 1908 essay 'Ornament and Crime', mocked by an age in love with its accessories, has come to be recognised as a seminal work in combating the aesthetic imperialism of the turn of the century. Today Loos is recognised as one of the great masters of modern architecture.

Letters to a Young Artist


Peter Nesbett - 2006
    The "young artist" asked a selection of his heroes, "Is it possible to maintain one's integrity and freedom of thought and still participate in the art world?" Responding artists--including Gregory Amenoff, Jo Baer, John Baldessari, Jimmie Durham, Joan Jonas, Adrian Piper, William Pope Lawrence Weiner and Richard Tuttle wrote back with advice (Gregory Amenoff: "Keep away from art fairs."); encouragement (Joan Jonas: "The answer is the Work. To Work. To care about the Work."); and cautionary tales (Adrian Piper: "Young artist, it is highly unlikely that you will be rewarded professionally for reaching this point. Nor will it make you popular. On the contrary: you will develop a reputation for being 'difficult, ' 'uncooperative, ' 'inflexible, ' or even 'self-destructive;' and treated [or mistreated, or ostracized, or blacklisted] accordingly."). Twelve of these letters were originally published in Art on Paper. This book expands considerably upon that project.

Dialogues With Marcel Duchamp


Pierre Cabanne - 1967
    There it changed form through a complex interplay of new mental and physical materials, heralding many of the technical, mental and visual details to be found in more recent art. . . "In the 1920s Duchamp gave up, quit painting. He allowed, perhaps encouraged, the attendant mythology. One thought of his decision, his willing this stopping. Yet on one occasion, he said it was not like that. He spoke of breaking a leg. 'You don't mean to do it,' he said."The Large Glass. A greenhouse for his intuition. Erotic machinery, the Bride, held in a see-through cage-'a Hilarious Picture.' Its cross references of sight and thought, the changing focus of the eyes and mind, give fresh sense to the time and space we occupy, negate any concern with art as transportation. No end is in view in this fragment of a new perspective. 'In the end you lose interest, so I didn't feel the necessity to finish it.'"He declared that he wanted to kill art ('for myself') but his persistent attempts to destroy frames of reference altered our thinking, established new units of thought, 'a new thought for that object.'"The art community feels Duchamp's presence and his absence. He has changed the condition of being here."--Jasper Johns, from Marcel Duchamp: An Appreciation

M.C. Escher: 29 Masterworks


M.C. Escher - 1983
    Twenty-nine woodcuts and lithographs make use of optical illusions and unusual perspectives and are accompanied by the artist's comments.

Isms: Understanding Modern Art


Sam Phillips - 2012
    From impressionism and the birth of modern art to street art and internationalism of the 21st century, it gives a practical introduction to all the significant 'isms' that have shaped modern art history.

The Invention of Art: A Cultural History


Larry Shiner - 2001
    . . . Shiner's text is scholarly but accessible, and should appeal to readers with even a dabbler's interest in art theory."—Publishers Weekly"The Invention of Art is enjoyable to read and provides a welcome addition to the history and philosophy of art."—Terrie L. Wilson, Art Documentation"A lucid book . . . it should be a must-read for anyone active in the arts."—Marc Spiegler, Chicago Tribune Books

Writings on Art


Mark Rothko - 2006
    Rothko’s other written works have yet to be brought together into a major publication. Writings on Art fills this significant void; it includes some 90 documents—including short essays, letters, statements, and lectures—written by Rothko over the course of his career. The texts are fully annotated, and a chronology of the artist’s life and work is also included. This provocative compilation of both published and unpublished writings from 1934--69 reveals a number of things about Rothko: the importance of writing for an artist who many believed had renounced the written word; the meaning of transmission and transition that he experienced as an art teacher at the Brooklyn Jewish Center Academy; his deep concern for meditation and spirituality; and his private relationships with contemporary artists (including Newman, Motherwell, and Clyfford Still) as well as journalists and curators. As was revealed in Rothko’s The Artist’s Reality, what emerges from this collection is a more detailed picture of a sophisticated, deeply knowledgeable, and philosophical artist who was also a passionate and articulate writer.

Concepts of Modern Art: From Fauvism to Postmodernism


Nikos Stangos - 1974
    With Edward Lucie-Smith on Pop Art, Suzi Gablik on Minimal Art, Norbert Lynton on Expressionism, and Sarah Whitfield on Fauvism, to name a few, these scholarly essays illuminate each particular artistic movement of the century, and together form an entire history of modern art. 123 illus.