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Yosemite: Art of an American Icon Paperback – October 30, 2006

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Yosemite: Art of an American Icon + Archive Style: Photographs and Illustrations for U.S. Surveys, 1850-1890 + All the Pretty Horses (The Border Trilogy, Book 1)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 232 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; 1 edition (October 30, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520249224
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520249226
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 0.8 x 11.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,462,352 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

The Yosemite Valley has accumulated a body of work ranging from Edenic to camp. Yosemite artwork is on generous display in this album, which includes color reproductions encompassing Albert Bierstadt paintings, Ansel Adams photographs, and numerous works by less-famed artists, all organized according to era and medium. Associated with a current exhibition on tour to Los Angeles, Oakland, Reno, and Indianapolis, this book features eight art-history specialists uniformly wrestling with the paradox that confronts any artist setting up in Yosemite: the inner response to its spectacular scenery versus awareness of the gigantic tourist attraction it has become. The human presence is furtive in the romantic landscapes captured by Bierstadt, Thomas Hill, and their wet-plate photography contemporaries but becomes inescapable in the work of their successors, some of whom seemingly vie for the most satirical image possible. Half Dome yet rises above the parking lots, recalling its summons to John Muir and the native Miwoks, chapters about whom contribute to this beautiful, comprehensive display of the sublime and the ridiculous, as inspired by Yosemite. Gilbert Taylor
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From the Inside Flap

"For Americans of the nineteenth century, Yosemite, like Niagara Falls, offered a defining natural symbol of American possibilities. Here, in image and text, is the record of how the painters and photographers of that era-poised on California peaks in silent awe-celebrated the Yosemite as place and icon."—Kevin Starr, Professor of History, University of Southern California

“For 150 years Yosemite Valley has captured the American imagination through literary description, the photographer’s lens, and the artist’s palate. Yosemite: Art of an American Icon is a wonderful, multilayered cultural history of a spectacular American landscape. This is a story of the beauty of Nature melded with human perceptions, which tells us much about ourselves as well as the ‘incomparable valley.’ It is a spectacular, entertaining read.”—Robert Righter, author of The Battle over Hetch Hetchy

"Tracing the dynamic interconnections between art, nature, and commerce that transformed Yosemite into one of the most powerful and popular icons of wilderness in American culture, Yosemite: Art of an American Icon is a one-of-a-kind volume that graphically probes and exposes our ambivalent cultural love affair with pristine wilderness. Not only does it provide a nuanced and comprehensive survey of the art of Yosemite, but it also encourages us to critically examine our contradictory desire for Yosemite to be both untouched natural preserve and sought-after tourist destination."—Marguerite S. Shaffer, Director of American Studies, Associate Professor of American Studies and History, Miami University, Oxford Ohio

“As Amy Scott puts it in her introduction: “In Yosemite, visitors encounter nature but see a work of art.” For us to see nature it must be turned into a landscape, a work of art, but always then what we see is the work of art. It is this paradox that the book so skillfully elucidates, in a major contribution that places the visual creation of Yosemite at the heart of western studies, American art, and the role of wilderness in modern urban society. Scott and her colleagues do a magnificent job of capturing Yosemite’s significance and its hard realities and complexities, synthesizing current research on the development of Yosemite, and extending that research in many fruitful directions. And the book is beautifully written and illustrated.”—Bruce Robertson, University of California, Santa Barbara, and Consulting Curator, Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ref Lindmark on February 18, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book and I assume the exhibit it is based on does an excellent job documenting the special way Yosemite makes an impression on all who have been there. Artists, photographers, and regular people all have tried to capture the essence and uniqueness of the Valley, the waterfalls, the vistas, and the people of Yosemite. I have boxes of slides, pages of sketches, books of poems and writing that try the same. But mostly I have memories and stories and this book brought them back to me in a way only a photo or a grand painting can. The writing is excellent in placing the works in context of history and of the humans that interacted in the park. So now go read John Muir again be thankful for what he has done and what these artists have preserved.
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By Allibaba51 on January 12, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is very well done, and has some historical photographs that are rarely seen. The pioneers of
this area were tough!! I recommend this book to anyone interested in studying the Yosemite Valley area.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A very nice collection of images and artists who have spent time in Yosemite depicting the natural and human environments of the location.
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6 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Art and Book Lover on May 14, 2007
Format: Paperback
This a an excellent compilation of the history and beauty of Yosemite and it's art. Amy Scott is a bright voice in the art world. I highly recommend it.
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10 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Ghost of Tenaya on June 9, 2007
Format: Paperback
The problem that many Yosemite, Bridgeport, Bishop and Mono Lake Paiutes have with this book is that many of the Yosemite Indians are misidentified tribally. Before the book was published some of our Paiute historians contacted the Autry and Amy Scott with documentation concerning the ancestry of important Mono Lake Paiute people. We adivsed the Autry and gave them the Charlie family's 1928 California Indian Applications. Instead of identifying them correctly they went with Craig Bates book Tradition and Innovation as the source of the Indian ancestry in the Yosemite area. The problem with using Craig D. Bates book, Tradition and Innovation, is that it is full of errors. The book, in the Yosemite American Indian biography section, has Young Charlie as a son of a "Yosemite Miwok chief". In know as a fact this is incorrect. I know many of the Charlies and they are NOT Yosemite Miwoks, but full blooded Paiutes. We Paiutes who are descendant of the Charlie family would like to know where is the original source that states that Young Charlie was a the son of a Yosemite Miwok chief. Every piece of documentation, probates, land sales and 1928 California Indian Applications of the whole family the Charlies are documented as full blooded Mono Lake Paiutes. Daisy Mallory was a full blooded Yosemite Mono Lake Paiute, yet her baskets are not identified on page 109. The George Wharton photo of woman sitting with a gambling tray, page 95, is not identified. She is a Paiute. Helen Coats grandmother is not Lucy Telles, her mother Hazel, was an orphan adopted by Lucy Telles. Where and when was it identified that was a "Miwok family" by Martin Mason Hazeltine on page 93. Who identified it and when was ever noted that this grouping was a Miwok family?Read more ›
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