- Paperback: 240 pages
- Publisher: Phaidon Press; New edition edition (March 1, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0714845183
- ISBN-13: 978-0714845180
- Product Dimensions: 10 x 1 x 11.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 3.5 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 51 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #749,081 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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J.W. Waterhouse Paperback – March 1, 2005
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"A fresh and absorbing analysis."-Antiques Trade Gazette "Scholarly and detailed book."-Times Literary Supplement "A must for Pre-Raphaelite fans."-The Argus "This is good social art history in a sumptuous format."-Independent) "Until I read this meticulously researched, cogently argued and handsomely illustrated book, all I knew about Waterhouse could have been written on the back of a postage stamp."-World of Interiors) "While the book places the artist within his era, it is Trippi's sensitive descriptions of the works and his attention to technique and the painted surface that give his method innovation and insight. The handsome colour plates, including double-page spreads of such monumental works as St Cecilia (1895) and Hylas and the Nymphs (1896) as well as the hitherto unreproduced Gather Ye Rosebuds While Ye May (1909), substantiate Trippi's assertion that Waterhouse's complex aesthetic still compels audiences today."-Art Quarterly "Beautifully designed, sumptuously illustrated and reasonably priced... Trippi has produced a book which will appeal to a wide variety of readers."-Colin Cruise, Staffordshire University, The Art Book
About the Author
Peter Trippi is Director of the Dahesh Museum of Art, New York.
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The book is a combination of biography and critical analysis of Waterhouse's art. I am amazed at how many blank spots there are in his biography. He lived from 1840-1917, and the book includes much speculation, for example, as to whether or not he was in Italy at a particular time. One would have thought that someone as well known (as his career developed) would have had few such blanks in his life story. That also, of course, makes this book more intriguing still. The author of this book, Peter Trippi, speculates that Waterhouse's widow, after his death, may have destroyed his records and correspondence, but I'm not sure Trippi has much conviction on that point. And, indeed, if the author is correct, we know very little about Waterhouse's wife, Esther Kenworthy Waterhouse, outside of scraps of information.
I am not an artist nor am I an expert on art, so I cannot speak with great insight about his oeuvre. But I am surely impressed with the growth and development of his art over time. Some of his best work is most affecting to me.
He begins by painting, using classical themes (e.g., "The Death of [Horatius] Cocles"), fairy tales/folklore (e.g., "Undine") , images (so the author suggests), and females (e.g., "The Slave"). As his work evolved, his art became more subtle and telling (e.g., with the classical themes, see the progression from "The Death of Cocles" to "The Remorse of Nero" and "Diogenes" and "The Favourites of the Emperor Honorius").
The next phase of his career was a major step forward in his work. Some of the major works (which I find stunning and powerful, as one juxtaposes the story with his paintings): "The Lady of Shalott," "Saint Eulalia," "Mariamne," and "Ophelia" (different versions are powerful in their own right). This review is already too long. Suffice it to say that his work continued to evolve. Section 3 focuses on "Myth, Poetry, and Nature," and contains some stunning works. And so on.
The point: This volume traces the evolution of his work. The final chapter tries to place Waterhouse in context and make some judgments about his body of work. If, like me, you are not an expert in the work of J. W. Waterhouse, this book is a wonderful resource. Even if you know quite a bit, this would appear also to be most useful, pulling many of his works into one volume while providing a sense of who he was and what his life was like. From my perspective, this is an enchanting volume.
I was inclined to buy it following the path of excellent reviews at Amazon.com and I am not disappointed.
I love boks on painting that give a good balance between the artists' lives and their works, which is something not so common as you would think it should be.