Amedeo Modigliani, 1884-1920: The Poetry of Seeing


Doris Krystof - 1996
    As an artist, the scandalous Modigliani made his name chiefly with his celebrated pictures of women, with almond eyes and long necks and bodies. His style had ancient roots that lay deep in classical antiquity or Africa. But his portraits of intellectual giants of the age, friends such as Pablo Picasso, Jean Cocteau or Diego Rivera, were inimitable also. In Doris Krystof's study, the scene Modigliani was the hero of comes alive, and his sensitive paintings and sculptures speak in tongues.

Sounds


Wassily Kandinsky - 1912
    Wassily Kandisnsky’s Sounds (Klänge), a volume of poems written and illustrated by the Russian artist and pioneer of abstract painting, was originally published in a limited edition in Munich in 1912.  Although it was highly regarded by such artists as Hugo Ball and Jean Arp and acclaimed by the Zurich Dadaists, it remains one of the least known of Kandinsky’s major writings.  This is the first complete English translation of Kandinsky’s text.  Sounds is one of the earliest, most beautiful examples of a twentieth-century livre d’artiste and a rare instance of a book in which text and illustrations are the work of a single artist.  The poems, alternately narrative and expressive in quality, are witty, simple in structure and vocabulary, and often startling in content.  They repeatedly treat questions of space, color, physical design, and the act of seeing in a world that offers multiple and often contradictory possibilities to the viewer.  The woodcuts range from early Jugendstil-inspired, representational designs to vignettes that are purely abstract in form.  Published in the same year as his Concerning the Spiritual in Art, Sounds sheds a different but equally significant light on Kandinsky’s movement toward abstraction—a movement that was to exercise a profound influence on future directions in art.  In addition to the 38 poems and 56 woodcuts, which are arranged as in the original edition, the volume includes an introduction, the German text of the poems, and the artist’s chronology.

Van Gogh's Letters: The Mind of the Artist in Paintings, Drawings, and Words, 1875-1890


Vincent van Gogh - 2006
    In many of them he described, in painstaking detail and beautiful prose, the progress of his work. Van Gogh's Letters presents more than 150 of these stirring letters, excerpted and newly translated, and set side-by-side with the art it describes, including sketches, drawings, and paintings. The result is an elegantly rendered collection that allows us to see the world through the eyes of one of the greatest artists of all time. Previously published in hardcover as Vincent van Gogh: A Self-Portrait in Art and Letters

Mirror of the World: A New History of Art


Julian Bell - 2007
    He follows the changing trends in the making and significance of art in different cultures, and explains why the art of the day looked and functioned as it did. Key images and objects-some of them familiar works of art; others, less known but equally crucial to the story-act as landmarks on the journey, focal points around which the discussion always centers. Along the way, Bell answers fundamental questions such as "What is art and where does it start?" and "Why do humans make it and how does it serve them?"Previous histories tended to focus only on the masterpieces of Western art, in the process excluding the work of women or non-Western artists, or else considering developments around the world as separate, unrelated phenomena. Bell's achievement is to take a global perspective, bringing the distinct stories together in one convincing narrative. He draws insightful and inspired connections between different continents and cultures and across the millennia, which results in a rich and seamless introduction to the world of visual creativity.Hundreds of carefully selected illustrations show how artists from different ages and societies often shared the same formal, technical, and aesthetic concerns, while others took divergent paths when their vision dictated it.Julian Bell, himself a well-known painter, is the grandson of Vanessa and Clive Bell, key members of the celebrated Bloomsbury group of writers and artists. His books include What is Painting?.

Scandinavian Design


Charlotte Fiell - 2002
    They are world-famous for their inimitable, democratic designs which bridge the gap between crafts and industrial production. The marriage of beautiful, organic forms with everyday functionality is one of the primary strengths of Scandinavian design and one of the reasons why Scandinavian creations are so cherished and sought after. This guide provides a detailed look at Scandinavian design from 1900 to the present day, with in-depth entries on featured designers and design-led companies, plus essays on the similarities and differences in approach between Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, and Denmark.

Gaudier-Brzeska: A Memoir


Ezra Pound - 1916
    An enlarged edition, including thirty pages of illustrations (sculpture and drawings) as well as Pound's later pieces on Gaudier, was brought out in 1970, and is now re-issued as an ND Paperbook. The memoir is valuable both for the history of modern art and for what it shows us of Pound himself, his ability to recognize genius in others and then to publicize it effectively. Would there today be a Salle Gaudier-Brzeska in the Musée de L'Art Moderne in Paris if Pound had not championed him? Gaudier's talent was impressive and his Vorticist aesthetic important as theory, but he was killed in World War I at the age of twenty-three, leaving only a small body of work. Pound knew Gaudier in London, where the young artist had come with his companion, the Polish-born Sophie Brzeska. whose name he added to his own. They were living in poverty when Pound bought Gaudier the stone from which the famous "hieratic head" of the poet was made. Pound arranged exhibitions and for the publication of Gaudier's manifestoes in Blast and The Egoist. And he wrote and sent packages to him in the trenches, where Gaudier––a sculptor to the last––carved a madonna and child from the butt of a captured German rifle, just two days before he died.

Wagstaff: Before and After Mapplethorpe: A Biography


Philip Gefter - 2014
    Even today remembered primarily as the mentor and lover of Robert Mapplethorpe, the once infamous photographer, Wagstaff, in fact, had an incalculable—and largely overlooked—influence on the world of contemporary art and photography, and on the evolution of gay identity in the latter part of the twentieth century.  Born in New York City in 1921 into a notable family, Wagstaff followed an arc that was typical of a young man of his class. He attended both Hotchkiss and Yale, served in the navy, and would follow in step with his Ivy League classmates to the "gentleman's profession," as an ad executive on Madison Avenue. With his unmistakably good looks, he projected an aura of glamour and was cited by newspapers as one of the most eligible bachelors of the late 1940s. Such accounts proved deceiving, for Wagstaff was forced to live in the closet, his homosexuality only revealed to a small circle of friends. Increasingly uncomfortable with his career and this double life, he abandoned advertising, turned to the formal study of art history, and embarked on a radical personal transformation that was in perfect harmony with the tumultuous social, cultural, and sexual upheavals of the 1960s.Accordingly, Wagstaff became a curator, in 1961, at Hartford's Wadsworth Atheneum, where he mounted both "Black, White, and Gray"—the first museum show of minimal art—and the sculptor Tony Smith's first museum show, while lending his early support to artists Andy Warhol, Ray Johnson, and Richard Tuttle, among many others. Later, as a curator at the Detroit Institute of Arts, he brought the avant-garde to a regional museum, offending its more staid trustees in the process.After returning to New York City in 1972, the fifty-year-old Wagstaff met the twenty-five-year-old Queens-born Robert Mapplethorpe, then living with Patti Smith. What at first appeared to be a sexual dalliance became their now historic lifelong romance, in which Mapplethorpe would foster Wagstaff's own burgeoning interest in contemporary photography and Wagstaff would help secure Mapplethorpe's reputation in the art world. In spite of their profound class differences, the artistic union between the philanthropically inclined Wagstaff and the prodigiously talented Mapplethorpe would rival that of Stieglitz and O’Keefe, or Rivera and Kahlo, in their ability to help reshape contemporary art history.Positioning Wagstaff's personal life against the rise of photography as a major art form and the simultaneous formation of the gay rights movement, Philip Gefter's absorbing biography provides a searing portrait of New York just before and during the age of AIDS. The result is a definitive and memorable portrait of a man and an era.

Modernists and Mavericks: Bacon, Freud, Hockney and the London Painters


Martin Gayford - 2018
    R. B. Kitaj’s proposal, made in 1976, that there was a “substantial School of London” was essentially correct but it caused confusion because it implied that there was a movement or stylistic group at work, when in reality no one style could cover the likes of Francis Bacon and also Bridget Riley.Modernists and Mavericks explores this period based on an exceptionally deep well of firsthand interviews, often unpublished, with such artists as Victor Pasmore, John Craxton, Lucian Freud, Frank Auerbach, Allen Jones, R. B. Kitaj, Euan Uglow, Howard Hodgkin, Terry Frost, Gillian Ayres, Bridget Riley, David Hockney, Frank Bowling, Leon Kossoff, John Hoyland, and Patrick Caulfield. But Martin Gayford also teases out the thread weaving these individual lives together and demonstrates how and why, long after it was officially declared dead, painting lived and thrived in London. Simultaneously aware of the influences of Jackson Pollock, Giacometti, and (through the teaching passed down at the major art school) the traditions of Western art from Piero della Francesca to Picasso and Matisse, the postwar painters were bound by their confidence that this ancient medium could do fresh and marvelous things, and explored in their diverse ways, the possibilities of paint.

Art in History, 600 BC - 2000 AD: Ideas in Profile


Martin Kemp - 2015
    Renowned art historian Martin Kemp takes the reader on an extraordinary trip through art, from devotional works to the revolutionary techniques of the Renaissance, from the courtly Masters of the seventeenth century through to the daring avant-garde of the twentieth century and beyond.

Kenneth Clark: Life, Art and Civilisation


James Stourton - 2016
    As writer and presenter of the 13-part TV series Civilisation he was responsible for the greatest syntheses of art, music, literature and thought ever made – ‘a contribution to civilisation itself’.Drawing on previously unseen archives, James Stourton reveals the formidable intellect and the complicated private man who wielded enormous influence on all aspects of the arts and drew into his circle a diverse group, many of whom he and his wife Jane would entertain at Saltwood Castle. These included E.M. Forster, Vivien Leigh, Margot Fonteyn, the Queen Mother, Winston Churchill, John Betjeman, Graham Sutherland and Henry Moore. Hidden from view, however, was his wife’s alcoholism and his own womanising.From his time as Bernard Berenson’s protege at I Tatti in Florence to being the Keeper of Western Art at the Ashmolean aged 27 – by which time he had published The Gothic Revival, the first of his many books – to his appointment as the youngest-ever director of the National Gallery, Clark displayed precocious genius. During the war he arranged for the gallery’s entire collection to be hidden in slate mines in Wales, and organised packed concerts of German classical music at the empty gallery to keep up the spirits of Londoners. The war and the Cold War that followed convinced him of the fragility of culture and that, as a potent humanising force, art should be brought to the widest possible audience, a social and moral position that would inform the rest of his career.No voice has exercised so much power and influence over the arts in Britain as Clark’s. James Stourton has written a dazzling biography of a towering figure in the art world, a passionate art historian of the Italian Renaissance and a brilliant communicator who, through the many mediums of his work, conveyed the profound beauty and importance of art, architecture and civilisation for generations to come.

Art Through the Ages, Study Guide


Helen Gardner - 1986
    It focuses on critical analysis of the subject through a workbook section and self-quizzes along with prompts to explore the chapter's images and topics through the ArtStudy 2.0 CD-ROM, Web Site, and WebTutor? supplements.

Digital Diaries


Natacha Merrit - 2000
    And of her Friends, male and female, and her acquaintances as well. But Merritt's favourite motif is herself: she poses almost every minute of the day for her camera, taking photographs of herself in bed, in the shower, having sex with her friend, masturbating with and without accessories, from every imaginable angle and with the camera usually at arm's length. Merritt, born 1977, works with a digital camera, the Polaroid of the 90s, breaking down the most intimate details into universally accessible bits of information. Eric Kroll came across Natacha Merritt by chance in the internet, where she had put several of her photographs. This was something that left the tradition of classical pin-up and fetish photography, in which Kroll himself works, far behind. Face to face with Merritt's photographs one can reflect on intimacy and publicity in the digital age, on narcissism even, or on radical self-exploration with the help of the camera. But this all sounds better as Natacha Merritt herself puts it: in her view, she has found a new mode of masturbating her way into the next millennium.

So This is Permanence: Joy Division Lyrics and Notebooks


Ian Curtis - 2014
    Reproduced in this beautiful clothbound volume are Curtis's never-before-seen handwritten lyrics, accompanied by earlier drafts and previously unpublished pages from his notebooks that shed fascinating light on his writing and creative process.Also included are an insightful and moving foreword by Curtis's widow Deborah, a substantial introduction by writer Jon Savage, and an appendix featuring books from Curtis's library and a selection of fanzine interviews, letters, and other ephemera from his estate.

This is Magritte


Patricia Allmer - 2016
    His life is infused with bizarre moments: a surreal journey oscillating between fact and fiction that he always conducted as the straight-faced bowler-hatted man. The events of Magritte's childhood played an important part in creating the surrealist, but it was his popular culture borrowings from crime fiction, advertising and postcards that has made his work instantly recognisable. The often unreliable nature of Magritte's accounts of his own life have transformed his public image into a kind of fictional character rather than a 'real person'. He would shape his own life story to be its own surreal work of art. This Is Frank Lloyd Wright brings his projects and persona into vivid focus. Wit and visual punch have been the hallmarks of the This Is series to date; the first architectural title in the series will give readers an up-close look at Wright's progress from difficult childhood, to struggling apprenticeship, to early success, through mid-life setbacks and on to late-life comeback. Beautiful specially commissioned illustrations documenting the important events in his life sit alongside photographs of Wright's most iconic buildings (including Fallingwater and New York's Guggenheim Museum).

Surrealist Art


Sarane Alexandrian - 1969
    Unlike other modern movements such as cubism and geometrical abstraction, it was not based purely on artistic innovation; its aim was nothing less than the liberation, in art and in life, of the resources of the subconscious mind. Sarane Alexandrian traces the development of surrealism from its origins in the Dada anti-art revolt of 1916-1920 to the death of its guiding spirit, Andre Breton, in 1966, which marked the end of its existence as a formal entity. The author discusses and illustrates an astonishing variety of surrealist artists, including not only such giants of the movement as Dali, Miro, Duchamp, Tanguy and Magritte, but a host of other remarkable talents. 231 illus., 50 in color.