The Modern West: American Landscapes, 1890-1950

The Modern West: American Landscapes, 1890-1950

by Emily Ballew Neff
     
 


Drawing extensively from various disciplines including ethnology, geography, geology, and environmental studies, this groundbreaking book addresses shifting concepts of time, history, and landscape in relation to the work of pioneering American artists during the first half of the 20th century. Paintings, watercolors, and photographs by renowned artists such as… See more details below

Overview


Drawing extensively from various disciplines including ethnology, geography, geology, and environmental studies, this groundbreaking book addresses shifting concepts of time, history, and landscape in relation to the work of pioneering American artists during the first half of the 20th century. Paintings, watercolors, and photographs by renowned artists such as Frederic Remington, Georgia O’Keeffe, Ansel Adams, Thomas Hart Benton, Dorothea Lange, and Jackson Pollock are considered alongside American Indian ledger drawings, tempuras, and Dineh sandpaintings. Taken together, these works document the quest to create a specifically American art in the decades prior to World War II.

The Modern West begins with a captivating meditation on the relationship between human culture and the physical landscape by Barry Lopez, who traveled the West in the artists’ footsteps. Emily Ballew Neff then describes the evolving importance of the West for American artists working out a radically new aesthetic response to space and place, from artist-explorers on the turn-of-the-century frontier, to visionaries of a Californian arcadia, to desert luminaries who found in its stark topography a natural equivalent to abstraction.

Beautifully illustrated and handsomely designed, this book is essential to anyone interested in the West and the history of modernism in American art.  

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
This catalog, published in association with the Museum of Fine Arts (MoFA), Houston, documents the influence of the Western landscape on American modernist art. Neff (curator, American painting & sculpture, MoFA; Frederic Remington), who curated the recent exhibition at MoFA and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, covers a vast territory, from the Mississippi to the Pacific and from the mid-19th century to 1950. Two sections, "Prologue: Landmarking the West" and "The End of the Frontier: Making the West Artistic," present 19th-century art and photographs of the West and its people. "The Many Wests" discusses art inspired by the landscapes of California and the Southwest as well as by the dust bowl era. The final section, "Epilogue: The Abstract West," deals with surrealist and abstract art. It also sheds new light on abstract-expressionist painter Jackson Pollock's work, which it relates directly to Navajo sand painting. More than 200 illustrations (136 in color) document a wide range of paintings, drawings, and photographs. Recommended for libraries with art or Western collections.
—Martha Smith

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780300114485
Publisher:
Yale University Press
Publication date:
12/11/2006
Pages:
315
Product dimensions:
10.10(w) x 12.30(h) x 1.20(d)

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