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Soviet Impressionist Painting Hardcover – November 13, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Vern G. Swanson, Ph. D. is the author of numerous books, catalogues and articles on Soviet painting, 19th century European classicist artists and American realist art. Swanson is the director of the Springville Museum of Art in Utah, USA, and is a graduate of the Brigham Young University and the Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Antique Collectors Club Dist (November 13, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1851495495
  • ISBN-13: 978-1851495498
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 1.6 x 12.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,115,898 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author


Swanson is now a trustee and representative of the prestigious Art Renewal Center, New Jersey, the world's largest visual fine art website. He was born in the small saw-mill and orchard town of Central Point in southern Oregon in 1945 to working-class parents, Oscar and Mildred Swanson. The youngest of six children he became interested in art by the third grade and studied in art during high school. In 1964 he attended Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah on a football scholarship and majoring in fine art painting and drawing (average artist). Upon graduating in 1969 he moved to Washington D. C. where he worked at the National Gallery of Art for a year as a Museum Aide Supervisor in charge of their store.

Swanson returned to Utah to take a position running an art sales gallery first in Salt Lake City, then in Provo. In Provo he met his wife Elaine Milne, a BYU student from Canada and married in the Cardston Alberta Temple. He later worked almost a year at a sales gallery in San Francisco, and then moved to Calgary, Alberta where Vern worked construction for his father-in-law and coached semi-pro football. After a year they returned to Salt Lake City where he began a master's degree in art history at the University of Utah working under Dr. Robert S. Olpin.

After graduation in 1973 he was hired by Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama as an Assistant Professor of art and art history. There he became a popular teacher. After the tragic deaths of his wife and young son in April of 1975 he taught another year. He returned to Utah in the summer of 1976 met Judy Nielson of Lyndyl, Utah and married that December. They now have two daughters, Amber C. Swanson and Angela R. Swanson Jones and three grandchildren.

Vern enrolled at the Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London in England in 1978 and later received his PhD in art history. He has since authored or co-authored fifteen books on art history, including two on British classical artist Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema and one on John William Godward, four on Russian/Soviet art including Soviet Impressionist Painting, and eight on Utah art, and a religious tome, Dynasty of the Holy Grail. He was twice given the Governor's Award for the Arts.

Utah's oldest and most beautiful art museum, the Springville Museum of Art hired him to be their director in August of 1980 where he served with distinction for thirty-two years before retiring in August of 2012. During his tenure he helped to articulate its mission/vision, supporting objectives and standards. quadrupled the size of the permanent art collection (mostly of Utah and Soviet art), doubled the size of the facilities with a new wing and sculpture garden, and increased the staff size and over all professionalism.

He has now retired to his little Parnassus along the Hobble Creek in Springville to garden with his wife, write books on art (realism), religion (LDS theology) and politics (golden-mean conservative), and to be with his family, especially grandchildren as much as possible. He continues to volunteer (board member) at the Springville Museum of Art and to consult for the world's major auction houses and nineteenth century European and Soviet art collectors. He loves to travel with family and friends, and football.

His mottos are, "Give more than you get and be thankful for what you have," "Treat everybody as though your life depended upon them," and "Failure is never final and success is never ending." His four word mission for life is, "Verdancy, Rusticity, Quality and Nobility." By verdancy he means newness, progress and growth; rusticity to him means a love of tradition and grace aging; while nobility means that life was to be lived with awe and a purity before our fellow men, Heavenly Father and Son.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Benjamin on January 3, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Covering Soviet realist art from the 1930s to the 1980s, this impressive volume Soviet Impressionist Painting is a revelation. The well written and accessible text is both interesting and informative, explaining the prevailing conditions which influenced the artists and their work. The reproductions of the paintings are interspersed with the text, and vary from smaller than postcard size to the double page spread, one quibble here is that the text and the image to which it refers rarely appear on the same page, but usually two or three pages apart; with illustrations on every page this seems an odd arrangement. It concludes with a twenty five page chronology of Soviet art.

Perhaps because of their initial impact, the first impression is that the majority of pictures here depict happy workers off to the field, smiling families and cheerful youths. However this is not strictly the case, there are more pensive portraits and groups, and there is a fair sprinkling of landscapes along with a few still life and some nudes.

What really stands out, regardless of subject matter, is the quality of the painting; vibrant and energetic, with lively brush work and a strong sense of light these pictures cannot fail to appeal. Here the quality of the photography and printing come to the fore, one can sense the texture of paint and the brush work, adding greatly to the vitality of the work. The colour reproduction is superb, rich and at times vivid or even luminous; the paintings truly come to life on the page.

This is genuinely a sumptuous volume, lavishly illustrated almost entirely in colour. Grab a copy while you can before this one goes out of print.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Rico Lebrun on December 2, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I thought I would never own this book as the out of print version was running from $300 up to $800!!!!?!?. That was for a book only a few years old. This one will be the same. This publisher tends toward the lower print runs so I suspect this item will be history (so to speak). As an artist my point of view is all about the images. I read the books that are honest assesments of the work and not deconstructionis bs (read Michael Fried). This book offers a fair assesment of the work being shown with no illusions regarding the setting within which the art work was created. In the introduction we read, "...they (critical western writers) imagined that in a controlled society all art was necessarily bad, because artists can only create in absolute freedom. Yet few in the West could name a single Soviet artist or visualize any of their paintings. What we had were blanket dismissals from the ill-informed." This book is about dispelling those blanket dismissals. Apart from all that, when the artwork is taken at face value, the work presented is a mindblowing celebration of talent. With awe I read artists name after name without any recongnition and realized the treasure this book begins to expose. The images are beautiful. The editors were not afraid to run an image over the gutter to show its best impact within the confines of the book. This is a book that will be read and studied for years. If you are a fan of Sorov, Sorolla, Fechen, etc....this is the mother load. The cover art is a good representation of the quality and kind of work you will find inside.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on May 5, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Bolshevik political ideology held contemporary European art movements such as Cubism and Abstract Modernism in contempt. The Soviet Union authorized, supported and fostered a naturalist oriented art movement from the 1930s through the 1980s. Thanks to the Cold War politics of the Kremlin, Russian artists created a realist school of painting, while the Communist government did what it could to suppress Soviet Impressionist paintings -- many of whose art works still managed to be smuggled out into western markets and find their way into European and American museums. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, scholars and art critics were finally able to appreciate Soviet impressionist art and arts. Now a compilation of the best of that art is showcased, along with an informed and informative commentary, in the 463-pages that comprise "Soviet Impressionist Painting" by Vern G. Swanson and published by the Antique Collectors' Club. Profusely illustrated with superb reproductions throughout, "Soviet Impressionist Painting" is enhanced with the inclusion a Chronology of Soviet Art; a glossary, extensive endnotes, a bibliography, a listing of the illustrations, and a comprehensive index. A seminal contribution to 20th Century Art reference collections and supplemental reading lists, "Soviet Impressionist Painting" is highly recommended for personal, academic, and community library collections.
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By sweech on April 20, 2014
Format: Hardcover
it takes you back to 100 years of soviet art history. many of the not so famous artist, but illustrates the feel of soviet life, history and people, culture. it shows the slow revolution of soviet art history.
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By Michele D. Edwards on December 12, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a really nice book and we were happy to find it at a good price on amazon. I'd recommend it to artist or art lovers that want to learn more about Russian Impressionist the early years.
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