Shiny, colourful and life-enhancing new art books – to gladden the heart in winter 2014 :
Paula Modersohn-Becker : the first modern woman artist / Diane Radycki.
“Long, successful lives of important individuals can be retold by biographers to identify early talents and ambitions as prescient moments that portend later accomplishments. The personal journey can be depicted with the inevitability of a straight line. Lives cut short at the point where talent and ambition are just becoming visible are more difficult to refashion because those later accomplishments are absent. In the case of German modernist Paula Modersohn-Becker (1876-1907), a satisfactory understanding of her short life and career was unwittingly compromised (after her death) by well-meaning admirers who ascribed to her accomplishments beyond her years, and who tried to tell her life story as though it were full and complete. Radycki (Moravian College) takes on the challenge of restoring the honesty of Modersohn-Becker’s short, turbulent life in all its complexity and contradiction. In her retelling, it is the life full of desire and ambition that one already knows from her admirers, but also a life full of personal crisis, confusion, and disarray. The author’s enthusiasm for her task occasionally causes her to lose scholarly objectivity, but those lapses are offset by insightful reading of major works, particularly Modersohn-Becker’s exploratory nude self-portraits. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through researchers/faculty. W. S. Bradley Colorado Mesa UniversityCopyright American Library Association, used with permission.” (CHOICE)
Paul Klee : making visible / edited by Matthew Gale.
“Paul Klee (1879–1940) created some of the most innovative and best-loved works of the twentieth century in etching, drawing, ink, pastel, oil paint, and watercolor. Although he moved freely between media and from figuration to abstraction, Klee’s works remain instantly recognizable, often characterized by a playfulness and wit that can sharpen to biting satire on occasion. In 1920 Klee was appointed to teach at the Bauhaus, where he remained for ten years as an influential and much-loved figure. In 1933 he returned to Switzerland having been dismissed from his position by the Nazis; his work was included in the infamous Degenerate Art exhibition in 1937 and Klee spent the rest of his life unable to return to the country that had fostered his career.This retrospective book, which accompanies an exhibition at the Tate Modern, surveys Klee’s entire career, focusing on particular moments in depth and allowing his work to be seen in the context of the times in which he lived. Despite his quirky lyricism, he is revealed as an artist troubled by the challenges of the modern world, far more complex than he may first appear”. (adapted from amazon.com description)
David Hockney : a bigger picture / [Tim Barringer … [et al.]].
“David Hockney (b. 1937) has always been closely associated with Pop Art and California, where he has lived for much of his life. This major study of his work, published to accompany the exhibition showing at the Royal Academy of Arts in London, redefines him as an important painter of the English countryside, presenting his recent landscapes for the first time. In an attempt to renew contemporary art, Hockney has returned to painting in the open air, observing with honesty and intensity the scenery of his childhood in East Yorkshire. Marco Livingstone explores this bold departure in the context of Hockney’s sixty-year career, while other contributors address the artists place in the landscape tradition, his recent video works and their relationship to English landscape film-making, and his ongoing use of new technologies. Illustrated with paintings, iPad drawings and video stills, many of which have never been seen before, this landmark publication confirms David Hockney as one of the greatest artists of his generation.”
(adapted from amazon.com description)
Henri Matisse : the cut-outs / edited by Karl Buchberg … [et al.] ; with essays by Karl Buchberg … [et al.].
“Henri Matisse (1869 1954) is one of the leading figures of modern art. His unparalleled cut-outs are among the most significant of any artist s late works. When ill health first prevented Matisse from painting, he began to cut into painted paper with scissors as his primary technique to make maquettes for a number of commissions, from books and stained glass window designs to tapestries and ceramics. Taking the form of a studio diary , the catalogue re-examines the cut-outs in terms of the methods and materials that Matisse used, and looks at the tensions in the works between finish and process; fine art and decoration; contemplation and utility; and drawing and colour.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk description)
One thousand cuts : life and art in central Australia / Rod Moss.
From artist and memoirist Rod Moss comes the follow-up to the Prime Minister’s Prize winner The Hard Light of Day. Thirty years ago Rod Moss made his home in the stark beauty of Australia’s Centre. Since then, his place in Alice Springs and the traditional lands of the Arrernte has been deepened by his enduring intimacy with the families of Whitegate camp on the town’s eastern fringe. In this frank and powerful illustrated memoir, Moss gently uncovers the places where his own family and art intersect with the lives of those in the Whitegate mob. The closely connected Hayes, Johnson, Ryder and Neil families consider Moss one of their own and, through them, Moss shows us the majesty of the land, the necessity of story, the intensity of kin, the madness of violence, the tenderness of friendship, and the rhythm of grief. One Thousand Cuts continues where Moss’s highly acclaimed first book left off — this time in pictures as much as words. Through Moss’s moving stories and his stunning paintings and photographs, we share in and celebrate his everyday life with the Whitegate mob, including their fight for a standard of living that is basic to most Australians.
Degas, Cassatt / Kimberly A. Jones ; with contributions by Elliot Bostwick Davis [and 5 others].
“This surprising study examines the extent to which Mary Cassatt influenced the work of her contemporary Edgar Degas. Edgar Degas’s influence upon Mary Cassatt has long been acknowledged, but her role in shaping his artistic production and in preparing the way for his warm reception in America is fully examined for the first time. These two major figures of the impressionist movement shared a keen observer’s eye, as well as an openness to experimentation. Despite differences of gender and nationality, they built a deep friendship based on mutual respect and admiration for each other’s talents. Focusing on the critical period from the late 1870s through the mid-1880s, when Degas and Cassatt were most closely allied, this book brings together some seventy works in a variety of media to examine the fascinating artistic dialogue that developed between these two celebrated artists.” (adapted from amazon.com description)