“British Art” lay at the margins of art history until the 1980s – the very phrase an oxymoron, a Yale colleague told me, since there is no British art to speak of. A certain introspection haunted even brilliant interpretative essays such as The Englishness of English Art (1956), given as
Michael H. Kater— One morning late in October 1938 the Viennese poet Josef Weinheber rose from among 250 of his compatriots assembled in the landmark Elephant hotel in Weimar. Fortified by two bottles of wine he stepped up to the lectern at the front of the hall and gave what
My recent book, Picturing War in France, is ostensibly about war imagery produced during the first half of the nineteenth century in France. It is also a book about questions of taste, quality, and the hallowed canon of art history. The subject of war imagery allowed me to challenge my
Anne Monahan — Horace Pippin (1888-1946) painted two self-portraits in the 1940s on his way to becoming the decade’s most successful black artist. Both evince an indifference to illusionistic perspective in line with modern aesthetics, even as his self-taught pedigree appealed to those wary of avant garde styles and politics.
Art history may have or be an archive (even a canon!), but it is also a process of translation, remediation, and remaking. Here are five nodes in a network: Robert Wood’s Palmyra (1753): a transfer from architecture to print. In 1751, funded and accompanied by slave-owner and planter James “Jamaica”
In thinking about writing that has been important to me, I chose publications that did not simply tell me something previously unknown but rather shaped my conceptual framework by opening new ways of thinking about issues. These stand out: Maurice Merleau-Ponty, “Eye and Mind”, translated by Carleton Dallery, in The
Here is my selection of five books that have defined and redefined urbanism since 1850… Camillo Sitte, City Building according to artistic principles (1889) As an arts and crafts educator in Vienna in the 1880s, concerned about what he saw as the soulless and mechanical extensions of European cities, Sitte
Here are five books that shaped the study of women printmakers active in the twentieth century. James Watrous, A Century of American Printmaking, 1880-1980 (1984) Watrous’s well-researched survey of American printmaking was the first book I accessed on the subject as an undergraduate, when writing my senior thesis at Georgetown.
Books can amuse, provoke, and uplift. The best ones are also, just a bit, like CRISPR technology. That breakthrough allows biochemists to edit genomes. Potent, lasting books reedit our minds. For me, CRISPR works are not the writings that made a difference to Western art historians. Richard Stone and