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American Painters on Technique Vol 1: The Colonial Period to 1860 Hardcover – October 11, 2011

4 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Highly recommended.”—Choice 



"Written to be accessible to curators, art historians, and painters as well as conservators, it offers a procession of fascinating personalities woven into a cohesive narrative that intertwines with American history." —Fine Art Connoisseur



“[The authors] have researched the topic for three decades, consulting sources as obscure as shopkeepers’ bills and paint still encrusted on artists’ palettes.”—New York Times


“Conservators Lance Mayer and Gay Myers present a wealth of technical information amid amusing anecdotes and eccentric artistic profiles. Relying on primary sources, they uncover the creative processes and wide-ranging materials used by renowned American artists such as Benjamin West and Rembrandt Peale.”—Nineteenth-Century Art Worldwide

About the Author

Lance Mayer and Gay Myers work at the Lyman Allyn Art Museum in New London, Connecticut, and as independent conservators.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 260 pages
  • Publisher: J. Paul Getty Museum; 1 edition (October 11, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1606060775
  • ISBN-13: 978-1606060773
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #947,543 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Some may find the subject somewhat dry inasmuch as it deals with fine arts painting within a narrow range of history and geographical influence, as well as the subject in relation to technical conservation, but I enjoyed the book and the details of United States and English artists of the period in search of technical heritage.

The subject has been thoroughly researched and the footnotes are extensive. This is a Getty Publication.

What I found particularly interesting was the search for a magic elixir, an artist's talisman, a touchstone which would, somehow, enable one to paint as the revered Old Masters -- particularly Titian. The search for a better megilp and secret formulary, experiments which turned many painters of the time into backroom alchemists. The result was a misguided quest for something bestowed by time itself. The consequences of such experiments were often dire: fugitive colours, uncertain materials, flaking and delaminated pigments, additives such as asphaltum, mummy brown, waxes, heavy mastics, and toning effects which have considerably darkened over time leaving paintings murky, muddied and illegible. These experiments are not only a disaster to the various paintings produced, but to the conservator/restorer attempting to salvage the work from total ruin.

Interesting too was the historical rise of Benjamin West and his influence. I always felt the characters in his historical paintings all looked the same, so his influence at the time has always astounded me. Then there are the intrigues, the rivalries, formularies, the early colourmen and the wide range of pigments both good and bad. Also interesting were the Americans abroad, such as Mary Merrifield.
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The book is solid and well-made, but perhaps I should have checked the dimensions of this book before buying it, as it was much smaller that I thought it would be. What I found most disappointing, however, is the very limited amount of painting images. If one is discussing a painter's technique, it would seem prudent to include some examples of his (her) work for review. One discussion about Thomas Cole didn't even have one of his paintings in the book, but instead a portrait by another painter of Thomas Cole was presented. Not very impressive.
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