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on December 6, 2000
Having read the earlier review, I felt it necessary to chime in. The introduction, which I skipped, was lengthy, but there's a lot of information in the main text of the book- enough to warrant the price. It's as much a workbook as a text since there are suggested exercises to follow. There are also lots of pictures of examples which I found very helpful. Dow "wrote the book" on composition, and this is it!
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on July 27, 2003
Dow's book is a classic of pictoral composition. Yes, there is a long forward, but so what? Dow didn't write the forward. The book is a workbook format, and many may not find the exercises useful, but the information sandwiched inbetween is priceless. Not an easy book to read, but well worth the effort. If you're looking for a quick fix with pretty pictures and easy formulas, don't buy this.
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on July 2, 2009
The Arthur Dow book published by Dover under a slightly different title is the same main text - minus the intro - at less than half the price.Composition: Understanding Line, Notan and Color
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on February 23, 2008
Joseph Masheck's review has no place in this book.

Get the new Dover edition *without* the intro.
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on September 3, 2000
I've never chucked a book out before in my life, but this one I did. The basic writings by Arthur Wesley Dow are very good, however the introduction written by Joseph Masheck occupied most of the books pages in a stilted language that was obviously written to put a check in one of this person's achedemic requirements boxes. It got me so riled that I had paid considerably for Dows comments and got Mashecks voluminous dribble, that I cut out the introduction with a razor blade and kept the small informative portion by Dow. If you're impressed with disjointed, convoluted, achedemic banter, buy it, you'll love it.
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on January 28, 2011
This particular version of the classic on Composition is reduced in size and therefore very hard to read. Picture examples, essential to the text, are fuzzy and of poor quality; no color for the color section. Spend a bit more money and get the
"Composition: Understanding Line, Notan and Color", by the same author. It is the same book with a different title.
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on May 23, 2006
This is a wonderful approach to design and very valuable to the artist, photographer or anyone interested in the over arching principle " to fill a space in a beautiful way"

Unfortunately the bookbinding I received through Amazon and from the publisher is falling apart. The pages began falling out when I first opened the book. The binding loses more pages with each reading.

The worst binding I have ever seen!!! Buyer beware
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on February 15, 2008
This version of the vintage text on composition--that the artist Georgia O'Keefe, and no doubt many other artists of note studied in their day--comes with an amazingly well written and profoundly useful lengthly Introduction by the multi-gifted philosophizing art historian Joseph Masheck.

After reading only the first few pages of Masheck's fast-paced concisely intelligent writing, I was hooked, and ordered his book on Cezanne--titled *C's Aesthetics* --which I have now completed reading, and am working on re-reading the section specific to certain of Cezanne's paintings so as to compare Macheck's analysis with repro's of the specified paintings by *C*.

So, I am very glad that I bought this version of the Dow Composition book, for that Macheck Intro alone.

Also, Macheck states, in his Intro, reasons for recommending artists & art students revisit this older written work on Composition by Dow--to the effect that those from younger generations were born into abstraction and do not understand how it came about--that there once was a time when only in the work of Cezanne was anything like the current (and past Cubism) styles of abstraction even suggested and made possible--and so a study of Dow's *Composition* is a way of revisiting those times so as to expand one's understanding, appreciation.... and output as a working artist...

After completing the Macheck Intro to Dow's *Composition*, I began to read the vintage text portion and do the exercises---and right away, with the first exercise, felt amazed at how much the ink line brushwork helped me on many levels. I had never done Asia style ink brushwork before--it was not something taught in the California art school where I studied for my degree (perhaps considered old-fashioned) and though I have seen many examples of Japanese & Chinese painting & brush style calligraphy in museums in those countries and in the USA-- seeing, studying, thinking about something does not replace doing, as Dow reminds in Section III of his *Composition* book---"artistic skill cannot be given by dictation or acquired by reading."

And so it may be beyond words to explain exactly how doing the exercises benefits and how those benefits come about--such as in using the exercises and new understandings as *jumping off points* in creating studies and fully realized art works...
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on April 14, 2006
Having just read some of the past scathing reviews I thought I needed to comment. I started looking for information on Dow about 10 years ago. It was limited. I found an old library copy of "Composition" from the 1930s at a used book store($3) It was an excellent find. Crumbled edges and bug eaten pages and all. I did some research about Dow and realized the influence of his teaching on the design principles that we use today. All in all the current book is a good representation of the original, even if you skip over the introduction.
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on January 16, 2008
This book has a lengthy rambling introduction!!!!!! The content by autor is good but when I got both this book and composition - understanding line, notan and color --- guess what it's the same content. The other book (by the same author) is much cheaper and without the rambling introduction.
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