The West of the Imagination / Edition 2

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For many people, “western art” immediately conjures images by Frederic Remington or Georgia O’Keeffe—but there’s so much more. From early explorers’ first sketches of the Rockies to the modern earth sculptures of Michael Heizer, images of the American West are as multifaceted as its cultures. This remarkable book embraces them all.

A landmark overview of western American art, the original edition of The West of the Imagination brought the region to wide public attention as a companion to a popular PBS series of the same name. This book, significantly expanded and updated, shows that the West is a vibrant mirror of American cultural diversity. Through 450 illustrations—more than 300 in color—the authors trace the visual evolution of the myth of the American West, from unknown frontier to repository of American values, covering popular and high arts alike.

An unrivaled survey, The West of the Imagination is an immensely informative and pleasurable volume for anyone with an interest in the region’s creative legacy.

The artists who made the West known to the rest of the country, and then to the world, have been America's myth makers. In this handsome volume, the dramatic story of the American West unfolds through text and full-color reproductions of these artists' works. 400 illustrations, 150 in color.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The explorer-artists who documented the American West were obsessed and determined. George Catlin lived on borrowed money and sales of ``souvenir albums'' while fulfilling his dream of recording vanishing Native American cultures. ``Blond giant'' Frederic Remington, a failed Kansas sheepherder, became the primary mythmaker of the Old West, portraying its trappers, punchers and vaqueros and elevating the cowboy to an epic hero. Swiss view-painter Karl Bodmer, in search of a ``savage America,'' risked his life to paint bloody Indian battles and explore Mississippi steamboat culture. With 370 plates, nearly half in color, this companion volume to an upcoming PBS-TV series glorifies the legends of the Wild West even as it dissects them. Artists of European descent who recorded Hispanic settlements in the Southwest are highlighted. The authorsWilliam H. Goetzmann is a Pulitzer Prizewinning historian; William N. Goetzmann is a museum curatoralso trace the role of filmmakers in shaping the popular image of the frontier. October 13
Library Journal
This handsome volume by the Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and his son complements the recent PBS series of the same name. In relating the lives of the artists of the American West, the social and cultural climate during which they worked, and their individual thoughts and feelings, the authors reveal the fascinating dynamic which exists between artist and subject. From the early 1800s to the present, they recount the lives of both major and minor artists in an entertaining style. Strict aesthetic judgments are kept to a minimum; the focus is on how these men and women influenced and were influenced by the times in which they lived, continually shaping and defining the public's perception of the American West. For general collections. Frank Schroth, Technology Training Assocs., Cambridge, Mass.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780806135335
  • Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 640
  • Sales rank: 1,524,208
  • Product dimensions: 8.90 (w) x 11.10 (h) x 1.80 (d)

Meet the Author

William H. Goetzmann is a Pulitzer Prize–winning historian who has authored and edited more than a dozen volumes. Before his retirement he was the Jack S. Blanton Chair in American Studies and History at the University of Texas, Austin.

William N. Goetzmann is Edwin J. Beinecke Professor of Finance and Management Studies and Director of the International Center for Finance at the Yale School of Management. A former museum director, he has published scores of articles on finance, real estate, and the economics of art.

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Table of Contents

Pt. 1 The Romantic Horizon

1 The View from Peale's Museum 3

2 George Catlin: Saving the Memory of a Vanishing Race 15

3 European Science and the Noble Savage 33

4 The Vogue for Galleries and Compendia: Stanley, Kane, and Eastman 47

5 "In All their Savage Glory" 54

6 The Mountain Man: A Fair Likeness 73

7 Painting the Perils of the West 83

8 Currier and Ives and the West 99

Pt. 2 The Golden Land

9 Destiny and Democracy 115

10 Shattering the Rim of Christendom 123

11 Picturing Manifest Destiny 135

12 The Great Reconnaissance 145

13 Overland to an Empire: Dream, Nightmare and Reality 169

14 The El Dorado Vision 180

15 Dreaming in San Francisco 190

Pt. 3 Images of Glory

16 Bierstadt's Mighty Mountains 199

17 The Wonders of Yosemite 211

18 Artist and Photographer in Wonderland 221

19 The Grandest Canyon of Them All 233

20 Images of Progress 241

21 Episodes of Glory 255

22 Views of Tragedy 265

23 The Resurrection of the Vanishing American 276

Pt. 4 The Wild Riders

24 Frederic Remington: No Teacup Tragedies 287

25 C. M. Russell: The Cowboy Genius 308

Pt. 5 Play the Legend

26 The American Scout Triumphant 335

27 Cowboys and Cameramen 345

28 Pictures Tell and Story 356

29 Cowboys Create History 367

30 Westerns Make History 377

Pt. 6 Other Voices, Others Wests

31 The Mysterious Artist of the West 401

32 Escape to Taos 409

33 Left Bank of the Rio Hondo 425

34 What Have You Done with Your Land? 435

35 The Indian Renaissance 454

36 Montezuma's Return 473

37 The Transcendent West of Georgia O'Keeffe 485

38 The West of Jackson Pollock 495

39 Photographing the Postmodern West 506

40 From theOld West to the New West: A Paradox of Perception 522

41 We Follow the Sun: Temples and Tumuli in the Western Landscape 544

Notes 561

Index 587

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