With the arrival of another month comes a brand-new round of art books. March’s Art on the Shelf is full of exciting and inspiring releases on a wide range of artists, mediums and movements.
Included in this month’s Art on the Shelf book list are: “Vigée Le Brun,” “Lucy Jarvis: Even Stones Have Life,” “Andy Warhol | Ai Weiwei,” “Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible,” “Motherwell: 100 Years,” “Barbara Hepworth: Sculpture for a Modern World” and “Dance: American Art, 1830-1960.”
“Vigée Le Brun”
Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun (1755–1842) was an 18th-century French painter and among the most important women artists of all time. Celebrated for her expressive portraits of French royalty and aristocracy, especially of her patron and friend Marie Antoinette, she exemplified artistic success and personal resourcefulness in an age when women were rarely allowed either. Forced to flee France during the Revolution, Le Brun traveled throughout Europe for sixteen years, painting royal and noble sitters in the courts of Naples, Russia, Austria, Poland, and Germany. She returned to France in 1805, under the reign of Emperor Napoleon I, where her artistic career continued to flourish.
Alongside 85 of her finest paintings and drawings from international museums and collections, this volume details Vigée Le Brun’s story, portraying a talented and intelligent artist who was able to negotiate a shifting political and geographic landscape. Essays by international experts provide further context by addressing topics such as the artist's travels in exile and the position of women artists in the Salons.
Basic Facts: “Vigée Le Brun” is written by Katharine Baetjer, Joseph Baillio and Paul Lang. Published by the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Release Date: March 8, 2016. Hardcover; 288 pages; $50.00.
“Lucy Jarvis: Even Stones Have Life”
“Lucy Jarvis: Even Stones Have Life” is the first examination of Jarvis's considerable body of work — what she painted, how she rendered it, and how her art permeated her life and her life permeated her art. Jarvis had studied at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in the 1920s, later becoming part of the social realist movement, committed to an art of the people. In 1941, Jarvis co-founded the UNB Art Centre with Pegi Nicol MacLeod, and together, they turned it into a place of creative effervescence. In a few short years, she and MacLeod had transformed their environment.
Yet, it wasn't until the early 1960s that Jarvis set out on her own. She left the art centre and headed for Paris. In four extended stays during the 1960s, she immersed herself completely, attending the open studios and connecting with other artists. Her retreats to Pembroke Dyke near Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, during the summer months allowed her to digest her experiences, and her art took on a new life. The influences of both impressionism and post-impressionism emerged in her work, and her paintings became more boldly colorful, freer — and completely her own.
BASIC FACTS: “ Lucy Jarvis: Even Stones Have Life” is written by Roslyn Rosenfeld. Published by Goose Lane Editions. Release Date: March 8, 2016. Hardcover; 228 pages; $45.00.
“Andy Warhol | Ai Weiwei”
Andy Warhol (1928–1987) and Ai Weiwei (b. 1957) are two of the most internationally renowned artists of the past 100 years, famous not only for their artwork but also for influencing the culture of their time. This book is the first to consider the work of these artists alongside one another, in dialogue and in correspondence, to explore the artists’ meticulous observations of modern and contemporary art, life, and politics. Andy Warhol’s investigation of consumer society, fame, and celebrity offers thought-provoking points of connection with Ai Weiwei’s interrogation of the relationship between tradition and modernity, the role of the individual to the state, questions of human rights, and the value of freedom of expression.
Parallels also exist between the ways in which each artist transformed the understanding of artistic value and studio production, and redefined the role of the artist—as impresario, cultural producer, activist, and brand. Alongside reproduced images by both artists—including works by Ai Weiwei published here for the first time—are essays by an international team of art experts, curators, and scholars that survey the scope of the artists’ careers and interpret the significant impact of Andy Warhol and Ai Weiwei on modern art and contemporary life.
BASIC FACTS: “Andy Warhol | Ai Weiwei” is written by Max Delany (Editor) and Eric C. Shiner (Editor). Published by Yale University Press. Release Date: March 22, 2016. Hardcover; 328 pages; $75.00.
“Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible”
This book explores the evolving concept of unfinishedness as essential to understanding art movements from the Renaissance to the present day. “Unfinished” features more than 200 works, created in a variety of media, by artists ranging from Leonardo, Titian, Rembrandt, Turner, and Cézanne to Picasso, Warhol, Twombly, Freud, Richter, and Nauman. What unites these works, across centuries and media, is that each one displays some aspect of being unfinished.
Essays and case studies by contemporary scholars address this key concept from the perspective of both the creator and the viewer, probing the impact that this long artistic trajectory—which can be traced back to the first century—has had on modern and contemporary art. The book explores the degrees to which instances of incompleteness were accidental or intentional, experimental or conceptual. Also included are interviews with contemporary artists, including Tuymans, Celmins, and Marden, and parallel considerations of the unfinished in literature and film. The result is a multidisciplinary approach and thought-provoking analysis that provides insight into the making, meaning, and critical reception of the unfinished in art.
BASIC FACTS: “Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible” is written by Kelly Baum. Published by Metropolitan Museum of Art. Release Date: March 22, 2016. Hardcover; 336 pages; $65.00.
“Motherwell: 100 Years”
Published on the 100th anniversary of Robert Motherwell’s birth, this book presents a comprehensive view of his artistic achievement and historical importance. Each chapter focuses on an important aspect or phase of the artist’s life in relation to his art. “Motherwell: 100 years” explores the many ways in which his activities as an artist, writer, and theorist helped to shape American culture during the second half of the twentieth century. The book contains many unpublished documentary photographs and writings, as well as vivid color illustrations of many of Motherwell’s most significant works.
BASIC FACTS: “Motherwell: 100 Years” is written by Jack Flam, Katy Rogers and Tim Clifford. Published by Skira. Release Date: March 29, 2016. Hardcover; 320 pages; $70.00.
“Barbara Hepworth: Sculpture for a Modern World”
Renowned for her elegantly sleek sculptures in stone, wood, and bronze, Barbara Hepworth (1903–1975) is among Britain’s most important modern artists. This new publication focuses on the spaces and contexts, physical and conceptual, in which the artist is positioned. It examines her interest in staging and presenting work—indoors and out—in studio, film, garden, stage, architecture, photography, and print. As well as placing her work alongside her British and international contemporaries, a broad range of contributors also consider wider technical and intellectual concerns.
Illustrated with more than 200 color images drawn from her entire career, the catalog represents some of Hepworth’s best-known works in addition to introducing some of her less familiar pieces. The book features previously unseen documentary material, including photographs and film stills that cast new light on this 20th century artist.
BASIC FACTS: “Barbara Hepworth: Sculpture for a Modern World” is written by Penelope Curtis (Editor) and Chris Stephens (Editor). Published by Tate Publishing. Release Date: March 29, 2016. Hardcover; 208 pages; $55.00.
“Dance: American Art, 1830-1960”
As an enduring wellspring of creativity for many artists throughout history, dance has provided a visual language to express such themes as the bonds of community, the allure of the exotic, and the pleasures of the body. This book is the first major investigation of the visual arts related to American dance, offering an unprecedented, interdisciplinary overview of dance-inspired works from 1830 to 1960.
Fourteen essays by historians of art and dance analyze the ways dance influenced many of America’s most prominent artists, including George Caleb Bingham, William Sidney Mount, Winslow Homer, John Singer Sargent, Cecilia Beaux, Isamu Noguchi, Aaron Douglas, Malvina Hoffman, Edward Steichen, Arthur Davies, William Johnson, and Joseph Cornell. The artists did not merely represent dance, they were inspired to think about how Americans move, present themselves to one another, and experience time. Their artwork, in turn, affords insights into the cultural, social, and political moments in which it was created. For some artists, dance informed even the way they applied paint to canvas, carved a sculpture, or framed a photograph.
BASIC FACTS: “Dance: American Art, 1830-1960” is written by Thomas F. DeFantz, Ms. Lynn Garafola, Dakin Hart, Constance Valis Hill, Analisa Leppanen-Guerra, Valerie J. Mercer, Jacqueline Shea Murphy, Kenneth John Myers, E. Bruce Robertson, and Sharyn Rohlfsen Udall. Published by Detroit Institute of Arts. Release Date: March 29, 2016. Hardcover; 304 pages; $55.00.
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