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California Art: 450 Years of Painting & Other Media Hardcover – November 15, 1998

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From Library Journal

As California approaches its sesquicentennial in 2000, here is the first "comprehensive" survey of its art. Unfortunately, freelance curator Moure does not make a clear case here for what makes a work of art distinctly "Californian" and further fails to define the book's scope. Still, she has done a creditable job. Her focus includes all two- and three-dimensional media created (by Californians and non-Californians) within the state, as well as work done abroad by prominent Golden Staters. Her bias in favor of "high" vs. "low" art is problematic, since it leads her to exclude filmmaking (the state's most powerful aesthetic contribution) while finding space for "Hollywood Glamour Photography." Similarly, Moure omits California's vernacular architecture in favor of recent, well-publicized museum buildings. On the other hand, she lucidly distinguishes between art's separate evolution in Northern and Southern California. Moure's extensive knowledge and trenchant commentary relieves what could have been a tedious approach. A de rigueur purchase for West Coast libraries and larger collections nationwide?Douglas F. Smith, Oakland P.L., CA
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

Nancy Dustin Wall Moure is an art historian who specializes in historic (pre-1945) California art. M.A. from UCLA; 15 years as Assistant Curator with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Independent curator and author since 1989. (For more complete information see

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Dustin Publications; 1 edition (November 15, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0961462248
  • ISBN-13: 978-0961462246
  • Product Dimensions: 12.5 x 9.4 x 1.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,784,528 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 26, 1999
Format: Hardcover
"Moure is the dean of California art historians... Here is her magnum opus. There is no single volume that even approaches this work in scope, depth and scholarship. Every high school, college and university in the State needs this book. Every serious collector of California art, the humanities and material culture needs this book." West Coast Peddler, Sept. 1999, p. 60
"California Art fills a vast cultural void in art history that has created a general lack of awareness concerning the development of art in this region. It may well be instrumental in changing long-held notions in New York that characterize California as an artistic backwater. In covering such a broad topic, author Nancy Dustin Wall Moure has taken on a daunting task, and has risen to the occasion..." Artweek, July/Aug., 1999, pp. 26-7.
"this volume is the authoritative record of left coast visual history...Miraculously...Moure has...recognized the underdogs of the realm with objectivity and democracy, including members of the school of Mexican barrio muralism." Juxtapoz, January/February, 1999.
"A de rigueur purchase for West Coast libraries and larger collections nationwide." Library Journal, February 1999.
"Her prose is serviceable and clear, the breadth of information impressive." San Diego Union-Tribune, Friday, Dec. 11, 1998, p. E-3.
Winner of Special Mention, George Wittenborn Memorial Book Award, 1999, ARLIS/NA, Art Libraries Society of North America.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By albarino on June 2, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Moure has given us a solid and traditional one-volume take on notable art from California. Readers should consider this overview their starting point in reckoning with the art history of California. Then, they should dig into the huge bibliography at the back of California Art for deeper study.

As art history became a more wide-ranging and multi-level discipline in the late 20th century, one-volume surveys have become more difficult to write ... and edit. You cannot help but leaving many important artists and movements out in order to produce a readable and marketable synthesis. i.e., producing a text that can be carried under one arm without fatiguing one's muscles. There is so much to consider and the challenge of page limitations daunting!

For a basic beginner's serious library on California art and culture, I recommend Moure's "Cal Art", LACMA's "Made in California," and Kevin Starr's multi-volume history of the state. With these (and their bibliographies) under your belt, you can chart your own interests after that.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By S. A. Pleydell-pearce on January 6, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Beautiful,big book. Covering a wide and expansive area of Californian art. I love this book, heaps of paintings, good quality photos and excellent writing. [...]
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