- Hardcover: 260 pages
- Publisher: J. Paul Getty Museum; 1 edition (October 11, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1606060775
- ISBN-13: 978-1606060773
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,969,747 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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American Painters on Technique Vol 1: The Colonial Period to 1860 1st Edition
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"Written to be accessible to curators, art historians, and painters as well as conservators, it offers a procession of fascinating personalities woven into a cohesive narrative that intertwines with American history." —Fine Art Connoisseur
About the Author
Lance Mayer and Gay Myers work at the Lyman Allyn Art Museum in New London, Connecticut, and as independent conservators.
Top customer reviews
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The subject has been thoroughly researched and the footnotes are extensive. This is a Getty Publication, by which I mean to say the research and analysis are exemplary. The image content may be paltry, but the scholarship is solid.
What I found particularly interesting was the search for a magic elixir, an artist's talisman, a touchstone which would, somehow, enable one to paint as the revered Old Masters -- particularly Titian. The search for a better megilp and secret formulary, experiments which turned many painters of the time into backroom alchemists. The result was a misguided quest for something more often bestowed by time itself. The consequences of such experiments were often dire: fugitive colours, uncertain materials, flaking and delaminated pigments, additives such as asphaltum, mummy brown, waxes, heavy mastics, and toning effects which have considerably darkened over time leaving paintings murky, muddied and illegible -- or worse. These experiments are not only a disaster to the various paintings produced, but to the conservator/restorer attempting to salvage the work from total ruin.
Interesting too was the historical rise of Benjamin West, his leadership and influence which has always confounded me. Then there are the intrigues, the rivalries, formularies, the early colourmen and the wide range of pigments both good and bad. Also interesting were the Americans abroad, such as Mary Merrifield. searching for art 'secrets' and translating early artistic treatises in search of those mysteries.
It is an interesting time in history and also interesting tales in the field of fine art where the early United States and England were closely tied, despite their politics.
The only negative note I might include is the lack of illustrative paintings and photo images. There were only about 17 illustrations/photos in total, and most of them were small, albeit in colour. Sometimes chapters lacked even a representative painting from the artist in review. The book could have been greatly improved not only by the inclusion of more illustrations, but by examples of the ruinous effects wrought upon works by reckless experimentation. Every conservation/restoration effort today requires photographs to be made of the original piece being worked upon. A representative section of these conservation photographs would have certainly been relevant and welcome.
Nonetheless, if the materials and working methods of the artists of this period interest you, as well as artist's history and the problems and issues of conservation, then I recommend this book. It opens an interesting historic window on the artists and their art of this period as it relates to Great Britain, Europe and the United States, especially in consideration of what comes after this period, the rejection of the atelier system and tradition.