Artist and Identity in Twentieth-Century America

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Matthew Baigell examines the work of Edward Hopper, Ben Shahn, Frank Stella, and other artists, relating their art works to the social contexts in which they were created. Identifying important and recurring themes in this body of art, such as the persistence of Emersonian values, the search for national and regional identity, and aspects of alienation, he also explores the personal and religious identities of artists as revealed in their works. Collectively, Baigell's work demonstrates the importance of America as the defining element in American art.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Baigell provides a scholarly and serious book of 17 thought-provoking essays illustrated with 47 black-and-white images...Baigell (Rutgers Univ.) identifies important and recurring themes...His wisdom comes through with much passion. He asks unanswerable question sthat need to be "answered" again and again and deeply pondered anew...Highly recommended." Choice
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521776011
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/2008
  • Series: Contemporary Artists and their Critics Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 308
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.71 (d)

Table of Contents

1. Walt Whitman and early twentieth-century American art; 2. American landscape painting and national identity: the Stieglitz circle and Emerson; 3. The silent witness of Edward Hopper; 4. American art and national identity: the 1920s; 5. The beginnings of 'The American Wave' and the Depression; 6. Grant Wood revisited; 7. The relevancy of Curry's paintings of black freedom; 8. Thomas Hart Benton and the Left; 9. The Emersonian presence in abstract expressionism; 10. American art around 1960 and the loss of self; 11. Pearlstein's people; 12. Robert Morris's latest works: slouching toward Armageddon; 13. A ramble around early earthworks; 14. Reflections on/of Richard Estes; 15. Ben Shahn's Post-War Jewish paintings; 16. Barnett Newman's stripe paintings and Kaballah: a Jewish take; 17: Postscript: another kind of canon.

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