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The American Art Book Min Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0714841199
ISBN-10: 0714841196
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Accessibility is the code word for Phaidon's new 500-page dictionary of American art. The book values images over words, and its longest text is the introduction, which is printed in large, bold face and hardly fills one page. But it does describe the book's mission well: "Each artist is represented by a full-page color plate of a significant work, accompanied by an informative and engaging text that places the artist in the context of contemporary movements and preceding traditions...."--concise and informative. By arranging the artists alphabetically, the editors set up some odd and amusing juxtapositions. For example, the suited subject of an Alice Neel painting appears to speak and gesticulate excitedly about the overstacked cornucopia of Louise Nevelson's crates found on the opposing page. The caption over each work includes four artists' names in bold print that function as hyperlinks of a sort, allowing readers to skip, for example, from Willem de Kooning's Woman I to Jean Michel Basquiat's Skull to Alfred Maurer's cubist-like painting Woman with Curlers. This way, with each visit to the American Art Book, readers can discover and follow countless narratives throughout the three centuries of American art.

Filled with large, expertly reproduced images, The American Art Book is, like its cousins The Photo Book and The 20th Century Art Book, a high-quality and surprisingly inexpensive volume that would be a worthy addition to any art lover's library. --Loren E. Baldwin --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

This volume continues the immensely popular but critically challenged series that began with 1994's The Art Book. Some 500 artists, organized alphabetically, are each given one page, which is filled by a large-format reproduction of one work, a 150-word essay, cross references to other artists, and rudimentary data on the artist and the work. For those seeking scholarly or even basic reference standards, the problems are manifold. No introductory materials describe how the artists or the representative works were chosen or what parameters were used (what qualifies as "American" art, anyway?). The unsigned essays are too short to define an artist's place in history, and, in any case, the essays are mostly given to descriptions of the single piece at hand. Potentially one of book's best features, the cross references are treated as a half-hearted afterthought. The publisher is largely correct in dismissing these concerns, however. This work is meant as an introduction and as such gets the facts mostly right, presents mostly defensible choices, provides a sweeping scope, and brings it all in at an unbeatable price. For small and medium general collections.AEric Bryant, "Library Journal"
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 520 pages
  • Publisher: Phaidon Press; Min edition (June 13, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0714841196
  • ISBN-13: 978-0714841199
  • Product Dimensions: 4.9 x 1.1 x 6.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #606,428 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I thoroughly enjoy reading The American Art Book. The layout is just wonderful - it is simple, but very informative. I keep it on the coffee table and flip through it all the time. It is so well organized, and keeps my interest. I would recommend this book to anyone from avid art lovers, to book collectors, and to people who just enjoy learning about artists and their work. I especially love the large prints which allows the reader to really SEE the work. So many books overload you with much information that it is easy to lose interest. The American Art Book provides enough text to give the reader a good base understanding of the artist. I don't think I will ever tire of reading this book. A great thanks to Jay Tobler for this work!
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Format: Hardcover
What an incredible collection! An expertly guided tour through the always fascinating spectrum of American art over the centuries. I found the reproductions of works stunning, and the accompanying texts both accessible and stimulating. And kudos to editor Jay Tobler for choosing such a broad representation of artists -- introducing the reader to new and intriguing figures in the midst of celebrating the greats. This book is a must to own for lovers of art or American cultural history -- and for anyone interested in learning more about it. It's so much more than your usual "coffee table" book -- it's like having your own museum of treasures to revisit -- and trust me, you will.
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By A Customer on December 6, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I am not an art critic or claim to have any expertise in art but I do find The American Art Book by Jay Tobler an excellent way to relax and view the world of art in compleley different setting. The compilation of artists is very complete and provides an outstanding cross section of artists within our american culture. As I read the book I can't help but think that each artist sat down with Jay and described to him in the artists words what the piece meant to them. The candor and symmetry of the writings are spendid and truly allow you to understand and relate to, not just the art work but also the artist.
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By A Customer on May 27, 1999
Format: Hardcover
The American Art Book, edited by Jay Tobler and published by Phaidon, is the one BIG American art book that has it all! The bountiful range of entries is astonishing to experience -- and at long last gives us a truly full spectrum three century survey of all of what is American in American art. The reproductions are beautiful, large and representative. We are spared tedious artspeak -- and instead offered just enough text to ground the work and its maker in time, place and space. The carefully selected reproductions, one to a page, are insightfully juxtaposed as page spreads that illustrate work not often seen together in the same building -- much less the same book. In The American Art Book we are finally able to SEE how all the pieces of the tapestry fit together as one. There is, quite simply, no better survey of art in America, and probably never has been.
Rarer still, when was the last time the best book on American art was also the most reasonably priced? This is an art book you can afford to own, without disappointment or apology, no matter your budget. You'll see work you have never seen before by artists you know well. You'll discover artists you never knew existed whose work is pure revelation. And you'll make scores of connections you never knew existed before now. There is nothing bad to say about The American Art Book. Once you see it you'll wonder why no other art book in your library delivers so much.
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Format: Hardcover
Jay Tobler and a well-choosen group of art world insiders have compiled an impressive and definitive survey of American Art over three centuries. Wide-ranging but tightly choosen, this book includes all manner of visual arts (painting, sculpture, photography and more) and establishes the figures who matter most. Wonderful descriptive captions accompany each image. A unique coding system on each entry refers readers to influences and similar works. Most importantly, the often segregated folk artists, who are after all the most "American" of American artists, are accorded full and equal treatment here. This book is also amazingly underpriced considering the number of high quality color photographs within. The carefully selected images establish just what is "American" in American Art.
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By A Customer on December 17, 1999
Format: Hardcover
The American Art Book is an incredible compilation of fantastic art. It is accessible to artists and anyone who can appreciate art. The text which accompanies each piece is wonderfully written and provides detail without being too technical. It feels like the artist is sitting with you and telling you all of the interesting things about the work.
I love that I can just pick up the book and always find something I haven't seen before. Jay Tobler has done a wonderful job choosing interesting and unique art from all genres and providing informative and interesting text.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is amazing for my high school class. I bought 2. One of them I cut up and laminated the pages. The students use it to compare and contrast and have conversations about art. The other one students use as a reference. The short paragraphs that top each page are excellent examples to the students of formal analysis and the cultural and historical context behind the work. Wish I had 30 copies.
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