Cecilia Beaux: American Figure Painter / Edition 1

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At the turn of the twentieth century, the celebrated American artist William Merritt Chase named Cecilia Beaux “not only the greatest living woman painter, but the best that has ever lived.” While Beaux—unlike her contemporaries John Singer Sargent and Mary Cassatt—has not fared well in modernist-driven art history, her work has become the subject of renewed interest on the part of art historians, collectors, and general viewers on both sides of the Atlantic, and her forty-year career represents a compelling and under-examined chapter in the history of American art. Cecilia Beaux: American Figure Painter is the most comprehensive appraisal of Beaux’s talent in more than three decades. This handsomely illustrated book presents a range of the artist’s strongest work and offers a fresh understanding of her career by examining critical questions of gender, class, and the importance of place. It features substantive essays which examine Beaux’s participation in the international portrait market of the 1890s, explore the artist’s professional identity and changing fortunes through a close reading of key images, investigate Beaux’s sensitivity to the framing and display of her work. An illustrated chronology of Beaux’s life and work, compiled by Alison Bechtel Wexler, completes the study.

Copub: High Museum

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

In his foreword to this catalog of an exhibition showing at Washington State's Tacoma Art Museum (through 1/6/08) and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (through 4/13/08), Michael E. Shapiro (director, High Museum of Art, Atlanta) observes that since her death in 1942, Beaux's reputation has been eclipsed by more 'modern' women artists, such as her fellow Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts alumna Mary Cassatt and Georgia O'Keeffe." In her lifetime, Beaux's work was often compared to that of John Singer Sargent, and the 87 color plates and many other black-and-white and color illustrations here will bear out the comparison: both artists painted memorable and virtuosic portraits of the social elite. Yount (curator, High Museum), Kevin Sharp (visual arts, Cedarhurst Ctr. for the Arts, IL), Nina Auerbach (history & literature, Univ. of Pennsylvania), and Mark Bockrath (paintings conservator, Barbara A. Buckley & Associates, West Chester, PA) examine Beaux's most acclaimed works in the context of her public profile and social sphere, the rise of American portraiture in the 1900s, and the distinctive frames Beaux used to present her art to her public. A beautiful and intriguing study; highly recommended for public and academic libraries.
—Marcia Welsh

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520253186
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 8/1/2007
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 195
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Sylvia Yount is the Louise B. and J. Harwood Cochrane Curator of American Art at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Kevin Sharp is Director of the Dixon Gallery and Gardens, Memphis, Tennessee. Nina Auerbach is John Welsh Centennial Professor of History and Literature at the University of Pennsylvania. Mark Bockrath is Paintings Conservator at Barbara A. Buckley & Associates, West Chester, Pennsylvania.
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Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments, by Sylvia Yount
Lenders to the Exhibition
Director's Foreword, by Michael E. Shapiro

Family Pictures, by Sylvia Yount
Cecilia Beaux and the Rise of American Portraiture in the 1890s, by Kevin Sharp
The Queen Stands Alone, by Nina Auerbach
Framing Beaux, by Mark Bockrath
Catalogue of the Exhibition

Cecilia Beaux: A Chronology, by Alison Bechtel Wexler

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