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Art Across America: Plains States and the West

Art Across America: Plains States and the West

by William H. Gerdts

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Library Journal - Library Journal
Gerdts, a respected and prolific art historian at CUNY, has produced not a coffee-table book but the coffee-table itself. His three volumes, adding up to more than 1200 large pages, are roughly comparable in reach, if not structure, to the standard work by George C. Groce and David H. Wallace, New York Historical Society's Dictionary of Artists in America 1564- 1860 (Yale Univ. Pr., 1957) , although Gerdts disregards the few early artists and carries forward to cover those active by 1920. These volumes are not dictionaries, but rather geographically arranged, more selective, narratives. (The author specifically excludes artists chiefly active in New York, Boston, and Philadelphia.) There are very brief introductions to regions and illuminating summaries about art institutions and art activities embedded in the various state-by-state essays; coverage varies according to material, from four pages (Nevada) to 120 (northern and southern California). Gerdts provides no overarching conclusions but rather vast amounts of distilled information on even the smallest art centers. The extensive bibliographies, also geographically arranged, will be an aid to further research. Some 900 of the 1000 artists discussed are illustrated. Typography and layout are generous and helpful; the plates are generally good; a few typographical errors appear in names and dates. Most of the artists are of primarily local interest, and libraries will probably find the volume covering their region heavily used while the other two languish. At this price, recommended for strong art reference collections and local history collections in centers with art traditions.-- Jack Perry Brown, Ryerson & Burnham Libs., Art Inst. of Chicago

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Abbeville Press, Incorporated
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11.27(w) x 13.19(h) x 1.39(d)

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