Saturday, May 14, 2011

My current reading list

Cryptoprocta Ferox or Malgasy Fossa, undoubtedly bites.

The following is an e-mail I recently received and its answer.

Hey Stape,
I've got a couple of ideas for your blog posts.
You mentioned your reading list, I would love to see what you have on there! Historical, instructional or cotton candy(tastes great, gone quick, no substance). It's not that easy to find well written history books. Most of them read like history books.
Also, I'm taking a quick trip to the NE, and I would love to see a post on area galleries. Anywhere between Boston and Hanover would fit my bill, but any in general would be great to see.
Thanks! ............. Tupak Saday

The latter part of your question I cannot answer, if I list some galleries the others will complain at their exclusion. So I avoid that question. I will however give you a list of the books that I have recently acquired, some are in my studio and others are spilling from my bedside table.

1) The Judgement of Paris, is a history of the French salon painters Manet and Messionier. I am enjoying this and learning more about two of the great painters of the French 19th century.

2) de Lazlo A Brush with Grandeur, a monograph on the successful portrait painter who painted the swells of Europe at about the time of Sargent. I love this guys stuff. He is not the equal of Sargent, but he was real good. I am enjoying studying the clear exposition of the planar structure in his heads. This is a recently renovated artist who should be better known. Great book!

3) Thomas Moran; by Nancy K. Anderson. This 1997 book seems to be the best Moran book. I am enamored with Moran lately, an artist to whom I had previously paid little attention thinking his work too colored for my Presbyterian taste. I had always liked and clipped from magazines reproductions of his Long Island paintings but never really was sold on his theatrical western art for which he is fart better known.
I still like the East coast paintings better but I am certainly going to use some Moran ideas in the Texas paintings I am assembling for Kornye galleries in Fort Worth.

4) Thomas Moran, The Field Sketches. Crammed with reproductions of his location studies for the paintings. It is very useful to see the drawings from which the artist made the paintings. A great landscape draftsman, a little reminiscent of Constable of all people, seeing the drawings explains much about how the paintings were made.

5) The Hudson River School, Nature and the American Vision. The catalogue from the show I saw at the Amon Carter Museum. This contains many excellent reproductions and I have yet to read the text, I probably will but I have so many books going and I am often searching for pictures of paintings. Nicely illustrated and contains some excellent detail shots that are helpful to someone trying to actually paint landscapes. Social history of art is cool but I first of all am out to study these things to improve my own painting.

6) Raeburn, by Duncan Thomson, another monograph on a great portrait painter. This catalogue from a show at the Scottish National Gallery is full of good reproductions of beautifully painted heads from one of the greatest portrait painters. This is a big softcover book with lots of good reproductions. This guy was really fluid, I think him the equal of Sargent at portraiture but that's all he did, Sargent was good at so many other things too.

7) Soviet Impressionist Painting, a great big picture book of Russian 20th century realist painting. Far better art than you might expect, although some of the boy loves tractor stuff is well painted and colored but silly in its subject matter. These guys often had great color. The Russians kept alive their realist painting after the rest of the world went modern. Lots of ideas here for the landscape painter and for those interested in convincing society that communism is a good lifestyle choice.

8) George Inness and the Science of Landscape. A somewhat scholarly exposition of the thought processes of Inness. George was a bizarre man, this is an attempt to understand his perspective on designing paintings. It was not written by a painter but I am finding it useful anyway. I am only about halfway through this volume but expect I will walk away with some useful ideas. Very interesting ideas here, some so obvious to me that I get impatient with the author, but I am not a casual reader who just happened upon Inness, and others that are eyeopening. Perhaps I will do a book report on this one at a later date. I have often stared at an Inness and wondered "how does this thing work?" something I seldom have to do with other landscape painters.

9) Vicksburg 1863 I can't read about art all of the time and I read history also. I visited the Vicksburg battle field lately and am enjoying this history of the campaign by Grant to cut the Confederacy in two at the Mississippi. The western campaigns receive less attention than those in the east, but this was probably the turning point in the war between the states. Grant laid siege to Vicksburg until its fall, the revetments and landmarks of the battle are still there along with a huge and impressive ironclad raised from the waters of the Mississippi.


T Arthur Smith said...

I've posted it. Here's my blog:

Jesse said...

That is a great list. Most of those books are new to me. That is that basis for a good summers reading.
The more Russian painting I see, the more I am impressed. It's like finding a brand new candy store with all new flavors.
I love to see working progress as well, so the Moran book will be at the top of the list.

Deborah Paris said...

Great list! The Inness book is a favorite of mine. I have the Moran book too and have been rereading this past week after seeing the HRS show in Ft Worth. The Painted Sketch is another great book for study of the working methods of the HRS painters.

I just downloaded the Judgment of Paris to my Kindle. I really enjoyed his books on Michelangelo and Brunelleschi so I'm looking forward to a good read!