This inexpensive new series is aimed at the large audience of art lovers and museum goers who wish to build up a personal art library. The publisher expects to issue an average of 12 new titles a year until the series contains over 100 titles. Future subjects have not been disclosed, but the artists selected will represent work popular with the American public. Each volume has only 24 pages, and large color plates make up two-thirds of the content. These plates represent the best-known works of each artist (for example, Rembrandt's ``Aristotle Contemplating the Bust of Homer'' and Seurat's ``A Sunday Afternoon on La Grande Jatte''), and the publisher stresses their suitability for framing. Unfortunately, as library books, these volumes fall short. Although each consists of one signature whose leaves are saddle stitched (sewn together), the large format (1014 x 14) and paper covers make its survival in a public library unlikely. For a high school or college library, eight pages of text on a given artist might be adequate, but the reading level is more demanding than most teenagers are accustomed to. The bibliographies are usually quite brief, consisting of about ten references with no annotations. All the books reviewed here are reasonably well written, but Broude (the series editor) describes her subject's techniques and motivation more clearly than the others do. How up to date is the series? The book on Lawrence provides coverage of the mural, ``Events in the Life of Harold Washington,'' commissioned for the new central public library in Chicago, which opened in 1991.-- Margarete Gross, Chicago P.L.
Gr 9-12-- These titles are noteworthy because they have 15 large, full-color reproductions representative of the title artist's work, and because the discussions of criticism and interpretations are excellent. The text in Jasper Johns will be a little difficult for newcomers to modern art because Johns is complex and enigmatic. He opposes simplicity, and this is quite evident in Bernstein's highly compact, erudite analysis that focuses on roughly four decades. In Seurat, Broude shows that there is no agreement among art critics about what the artist was expressing in his paintings in regard to both content and technique. She gives a clear outline of the historical interpretations and highlights critical points. Silver discusses Rembrandt's ability to express emotion in his paintings of historical, mythological, and religious subjects, and discusses briefly several works to show how the artist manipulated mood through the use of light and shadow. While limited in scope, these titles do well what they do. --Barbara Peklo Abrahams, Oneida City Schools, Manlius, NY