It may seem eccentric to gather together paintings according to the season they depict, but this large, handsome volume will make readers wonder why no one thought of it before. Winter is different from the other three seasons, with its extraordinary range of color and light--from subtle grays and pinks to deep blues and yellows--and the distinct absence of that difficult color, green. This book, the catalog of an exhibition at the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., is a collection of more than 60 large color plates of impressionist paintings. They form a surprising group that presents each painting--even if it is already familiar--in a new way. The paintings are beautiful--Monet's Magpie
soaking up the sun as he sits on a fence gate; Caillebotte's lacy iron balcony railing overlooking the Mansard roofs of Paris; Renoir's black-cloaked ice skaters in the Bois de Boulogne--but in this frigid season, the impressionists' penchant for working outdoors is arguably what is most impressive. In the introductory essay, Charles S. Moffett, the former director of the Phillips, deftly traces the artistic history of snow imagery from the Limbourg brothers' Les Très Riches Heures du duc de Berry
through Dutch 17th-century snowscapes, Caspar David Friedrich, and Claude Monet "and a few others," as he wryly quotes another historian's "nod" to the impressionists. There are three other essays--on Monet, Pissarro, and Sisley--by three other scholars, as well as lengthy, readable captions filled with quotes from the artists and discussions of their influences. --Peggy Moorman
From Library Journal
This intriguing, beautifully produced volume accompanies an exhibition of the same title currently at the Phillips Collection in Washington, DC, and then moving to the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco. Four major essays by Impressionist scholars trace the manner in which winter weather and light, or "snow effect," were handled by important artists of the period, especially Monet, Pissarro, and Sisley. Briefer essays accompanying the catalog proper also discuss the winter scenes of Renoir, Caillebotte, and Gauguin. While all the essays are excellent, Moffett, former director of the Phillips Collection, does a particularly fine job of placing the snowscapes of the Impressionists in historical perspective, dating back to the work of the 15th-century Limbourg Brothers. This is a refreshing glimpse of one of the most heavily researched periods in modern art. Highly recommended for most collections.?P. Steven Thomas, Central Michigan Univ. Lib., Mt. Pleasant
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.