Modern Masters:American Abstraction


This brand new volume presents, in stunning color, over seventy postwar artworks from the collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and looks at the rise to prominence of New York as the center of the modern art scene in the two decades following World War II.

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This brand new volume presents, in stunning color, over seventy postwar artworks from the collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and looks at the rise to prominence of New York as the center of the modern art scene in the two decades following World War II.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781904832591
  • Publisher: D Giles Limited
  • Publication date: 3/15/2009
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 963,351
  • Product dimensions: 10.20 (w) x 12.20 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Virginia M. Mecklenburg is senior curator, painting and sculpture, Smithsonian American Art Museum. She is co-author of Edward Hopper: The Watercolors(1999), and co-author of Metropolitan Lives: The Ashcan Artists and their New York(1996)
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Table of Contents

Foreword 10

Acknowledgements 13

Abstract Roundup: Making and Marketing Postwar Modernism 17

Optics and Order 71

Significant Gestures 115

New Images of Man 191

For Further Reading 246

Index 250

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2010

    A Modern Art Must

    For someone wanting to learn about modern art, this is a great place to start. Very comprehensive and complete, although I would have loved to have seen Cy Twombly included in the masters collection.

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  • Posted January 26, 2009

    overview of the best of American abstract art

    Thirty American artists rising after World War II to make the field of abstract art are featured. Most are painters, with a few sculptors. During the latter 1940s and the 1950s, with the rest of the world recovering from the devastation of the War and the United States at the peak of its power, American art overtly gained influence and commercial success over European art. Abstract art remained in the fore until it was gradually superseded by pop art and minimalism starting in the 1960s.<BR/><BR/>While retaining their individuality with biographical and career profiles and one (in a few cases, two) outstanding representative work, the artists are divided into three major areas within abstract art--Optics and Order, Significant Gestures, and New Images of Man. The names given to the three areas connote the industrialism and technology, the elevation of imagery, and the gropings toward a new modernist conception of humankind after the extremisms of Nazism and Communism. Ones sees also in these names intimations of the Andy Warhol and the postmodernism to come. The artist profiles are brief and compact; and followed by up to 15 or so notes for further study if desired. Art students, historians, and biographers especially will want to take in the notes as they cite not simply most widely-recognized sources, but invaluable lesser-known sources such as letters or periodical articles.<BR/><BR/>With its format of photograph of artist followed by profile and illustration of work of art, the book imitates the experience of the exhibition it is tied with. From now until January 2012, the exhibition will be touring six cities of Midwest and Eastern seaboard states. (for the schedule, see The expected major artists of abstract art are found--Robert Motherwell, Helen Frankenthaler, Richard Diebenkorn, Josef Albers, and others. For many readers, however, the art book/exhibition catalog will be of most interest for including significant secondary abstract-art artists, not only men, but also women artists and ones from minority-groups. Especially for these secondary artists, Modern Masters serves as a noteworthy introduction to this important field of modernist and American art. Also, Mecklenburg's introductory essay titled Abstract Roundup - making and marketing postwar modernism (followed by 120 notes) offers as good an outline of the origins, rise, success, and demise of American abstract art as one could find.

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