New additions to the Fine Art collection

There are those who would argue the inclusion of this title  under the heading “Fine Art.” Dating back to the Crusades and 14th century Kashmir, black velvet painting usually evokes images of an uber-kitsch world. Whatever the origin, this book, Black Velvet Art  provides a good history of the subject while providing images of Elvis, matadors, Native Americans, Jesus, cowboys, and portraits of celebrities. Is black velvet painting really the “anti-art of the art world? Take a look at his book and decide for yourself.

The American Tonalist movement is a part of American art history yet little is known about the movement. Dating back to the late 1880s and the early part of the 20th century the movement began with Whistler and then went on to include Rothko and Gottlieb, finally culminating with postmodern artist Wolf Kahn. A History of American Tonalism,1880-1920, is the fist definitive monograph on this important American art movement.

Norton Simon kept collecting art until he finally realized he had no place to keep his collection of more than 8,000 pieces. He purchased his first piece for $300.00 and kept continually hunting for the best most impeccable pieces of art to add to his collection. In 1966 he began his “museum without walls,” where he lent works to American museums. This continued until 1974 when his collection finally was housed in Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena. Collector without Walls: Norton Simon and His Hunt for the Best, is a fascinating look at how he began astonishing collection his art collection.

Kruger is an American conceptual artist. Most of her work incorporates large black and white photographs stamped with confrontational phrases. Criticism of sexism, consumerism, government, and philosophical themes dominate her work often in large letters stamped on images taken from newspapers, fashion magazines, and popular culture. Her work makes the viewer question power and control, and makes them question their own place in the world. Barbara Kruger is a new monograph that looks at the artist’s still images and video installations.

Georgia O’Keeffe is best known for her representational subjects such as flowers, animal skulls, bones, and other things she viewed in the desert in Northern New Mexico where she lived.  Although not known for abstraction, she did many abstract works beginning with the charcoal drawings she did in the fall of 1915. This book Georgia O’Keeffe: Abstraction, is the accompanying volume to the show held at the Whitney in September 2009. This catalog examines O’Keeffe’s contribution to American abstraction. Supplementing the text are letters written by O’Keeffe to photographer Alfred Stieglitz and many color plates that offer a glimpse into her work that is rarely seen.

John Singer Sargent is an American painter best known for his glorious portraits like Madame X. The volume covers his work from 1883-1899 where he produced not portraits but pastoral scenes and landscapes. Included in this book, John Singer Sargent: Figures and Landscapes, 1883-1899: The Complete Paintings, Volume 5, are his lush landscapes and boating paintings. Also included is the first detailed account of his personal and professional relationship with French Impressionist painter Claude Monet. Many of their letters can be read here.

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