Pre-Columbian Art and the Post-Columbian World: Ancient Sources of Modern Art

Overview

While much attention has been given to the connection between modern art and primitive African forms, the impact of ancient American sources on the work of modern artists has been left largely unexplored. For example, Henry Moore's Reclining Figure, in a dozen variations, adorns museum galleries, corporate headquarters, and public malls around the world, yet how many people are aware that its acknowledged source is the Toltec-Maya chacmool, a Mesoamerican temple guardian and repository of sacrificial offerings? ...
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1993 Hardcover New C8.9780810937239.

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Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A. 1993 Hardcover First Edition New in New jacket Book. 4to-over 9?"-12" tall. This is a Very Fine and Unread copy of the first edition. In the ... publisher's shrink wrap as issued and unopened. NOT a remainder copy. Read more Show Less

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1993 Hardcover New 0810937239. Flawless copy, brand new, pristine, never opened--340 pp. With 320 ills. (98 col. ). 31 x 24 cm.

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Overview

While much attention has been given to the connection between modern art and primitive African forms, the impact of ancient American sources on the work of modern artists has been left largely unexplored. For example, Henry Moore's Reclining Figure, in a dozen variations, adorns museum galleries, corporate headquarters, and public malls around the world, yet how many people are aware that its acknowledged source is the Toltec-Maya chacmool, a Mesoamerican temple guardian and repository of sacrificial offerings? Or that Frank Lloyd Wright, America's premier modern architect, learned as much about structural design and ornamentation from a close study of Maya temples and Mixtec palaces as he did from Japanese structures? Author Barbara Braun explores these connections and more in this fascinating, in-depth study of five seminal modern artists and the Pre-Columbian forms that provided inspiration for their work. In addition to the Moore and Wright comparisons, Braun examines the ceramics of Paul Gauguin and their debt to ancient Peruvian plastic and pictorial formulas; the revolutionary murals of Diego Rivera and their ideological and visual relation to Aztec imagery; as well as the Constructivist paintings of Joaquin Torres-Garcia and their connection to ancient Peruvian textiles, ceramics, and architecture. Braun begins her discussion with a summary of the introduction and reception of Pre-Columbian images and artifacts in Europe and the United States from the sixteenth century forward, and she closes with a look at how the work of more recent artists, such as Color Field painter Alfred Jensen, Minimalist sculptor Tony Smith, earth artist Robert Smithson, and ceramists Kenneth Price and David Gilhooly, continues to be indebted to ancient American forms and ideas. Visual confirmation of these connections is given in more than 300 striking illustrations, 97 of them in color. An illustrated time chart and historical map provide the reader with easy reference points
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
"Braun's penetrating study illuminates the confluence of aesthetic, intellectual, and social concerns underlying the appropriation of ancient American art by several key artistic personalities of the past century," said LJ's reviewer, summarizing this study of the influence of ancient cultures on 19th- and 20th-century artists (LJ 9/15/93). When first released, the profusely illustrated book unfortunately carried a price tag of $75, putting it outside the reach of many libraries. This beautiful paperback reprint, however, offers all the quality of the original at roughly half the price. If you had to pass on it before, now's the time to pounce. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Among the several strands of ``primitive'' art that have influenced the development of modernism, the least understood has been that of pre-Columbian America. Braun's penetrating study now illuminates the confluence of aesthetic, intellectual, and social concerns underlying the appropriation of ancient American art by several key artistic personalities of the past century. Carefully argued and beautifully illustrated studies clarify the formal and expressive influences of Andean ceramics on the work of Gauguin, the profound impact of Mesoamerican models on the sculpture of Henry Moore, and the effect of Maya and Mixtec structural shapes and decoration on the buildings of Frank Lloyd Wright. Similarly, there are thoughtful considerations of the role of Central Mexican forms and ideology in shaping the work of Diego Rivera and the use of Peruvian art in the muddled occultism of the painter Torres-Garcia. George Kubler's Esthetic Recognition of Ancient Amerindian Art (Yale Univ. Pr., 1991) is an important scholarly complement to Braun's excellent work.-- Robert Cahn, Fashion Inst. of Technology, New York
Donna Seaman
Like many things, the link between the sculpture, architecture, and ceramics of pre-Columbian cultures and works of modern art becomes obvious as soon as someone points it out to us. While other instances of ancient or "primitive" art's motivating nineteenth- and twentieth- century artists, such as the influence of African sculpture on Picasso, are well documented, the profound influence of pre-Columbian art on modern masters has not been widely recognized, or clearly articulated. Art historian Braun rectifies that situation in this lucid and effectively illustrated study. She has chosen, with great discernment, five diverse modern artists who were unquestionably inspired by the ancient art of the Olmec, Maya, Inca, Aztec, and Moche. The French symbolist Paul Gauguin, actually of Peruvian descent, was deeply affected by ancient Peruvian ceramics. The source of English sculptor Henry Moore's figures is found in the monumental sculpture of Mesoamerica, while the American architect Frank Lloyd Wright was just as stimulated by Mayan temples as he was by the structures of Japan. For Mexican muralist Diego Rivera and Uruguayan constructivist Joaquin Torres-Garcia, incorporation of pre-Columbian images in their work was an affirmation of cultural identity, although from different perspectives and resulting in radically different styles. Braun's fresh aesthetic and contextual examinations of pre-Columbian art and fine comparative analyses of the work of each of the selected modern artists teach us to perceive both worlds with keener vision and a deeper understanding.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780810937239
  • Publisher: Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/1/1993
  • Pages: 340
  • Product dimensions: 9.39 (w) x 12.09 (h) x 1.35 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments 6
Preface 10
Maps 14
Time Chart 16
Pre-Columbian Art in the Post-Columbian World 19
Paul Gauguin: Searching for Ancestors 51
Henry Moore: The Chacmool in the Garden 93
Frank Lloyd Wright: A Vision of Maya Temples 137
Diego Rivera: Heritage and Politics 185
Joaquin Torres-Garcia: The Alchemical Grid 251
Pre-Columbian Art and Modernism: The Shifting Ground 293
Selected Bibliography 323
Index 331
Photograph Credits 340
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