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Customer reviews

5.0 out of 5 stars

on January 31, 2009
The articles in this multi-volume dictionary of art, artists, schools, and art centers offer a place to begin further research into individual topics and artists. Those I have used, dealing mainly with 16th-18th century European artists, have been written by experts who have generally published in the specific area about which they write and come with a brief bibliography of current works for further research. This set has saved me hours of random searches and led me to many interesting art historians and critics very economically. Essential for advanced students and art appraisers.
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on December 28, 2013
This is a 34 volume Dictionary of Art published in 1996
You can by the more up to date electronic version from Oxford University Press at an annual subscription -when I bought my new copy for around $1000 to 1200 Us Dollars that would only have covered a 6 or so year subscription. The cost of getting it to New Zealand was high but I think it was one of the best buys I ever made
A dictionary of this size and this depth of learning only comes out very rarely.I can not think of a similar dictionary in English-yes some run from 5 to 15volumes but not 34
The initial issue price was much higher- it was $ 8,800 dollars see the reprint of Eugene Thaw's Wall Street Journal review October 1996 reprinted in his excellent book of essays and other writings on art
"Reflections of an Independ Mind" Eugene Victor Thaw see page129 third paragraph
Pierpont Morgan Library 1997 mine is one of 500 - I think it is the only edition as I had to hunt fairly hard for my copy
Reflections of an Independent Mind: Eugene Victor Thaw
You will find several challengers in German
My own interests are in Master Drawings, Dutch Art and a number of Dutch artists, art collectors, painting in general
If you are keen on art then this is a great investment for building your knowledge

When I got interested in prints there was a solid article on Prints
There are extensive articles on countries
To give you an idea of the riches of the work
Modern Egypt covers introduction,architecture,painting and sculpture,decorative arts,art education ,museums and galleries in 6 pages with a helpful bibliography
Ancient Egypt is massive, it has a 7 page detailed lay out to the article -this gives you quick access to the 200 plus page article on all things related to Ancient Egypt.
There is a useful map at the start of the article which also guides you to separate articles on various sites so in all the article is quite a lot bigger
The same holds true for the large articlesf on China Japan, England the United States or any other country
Cities have comprehensive entries
As an example I have chosen London which covers
Urban development dived by time period-extensive section
Art life and organization by time period
Centre of production (furniture,metalwork,ceramic,glass,objects of vertu. And tapestry
Building and gardens
Royal Academy of Arts
Each section and many subsections are written by experts in the field, .the bibliographaphies are current up to the time of publication. The are a number of maps and BW pictures but little colour

Using Rembrandt as an example of an artist
Life and work by time period eg
Period 3 early established career in Amsterdam 1631 to c 1640 covers life then separate sections on Paintings ,etchings and Drawings
The paintings is further divided up into Portraits,History Subjects and landscapes
One could add more detail but I think this gives you a good idea
Most articles on artists also have a section on Critical Reception and posthumous reputation
The bibliographies are excellent
There are good articles on art historical periods. This dictionary is just crammed with information you will want to know about sometime in your like. It is well worth buying before it goes out of print. One cannot predict what will happen as we move from print based reference works but putting a work like this together ( 34 volumes) is very expensive and it is hard to see when the. Next lager Dictionary of Art will be produced

This is a large work at 34 volumes
Art is one of my hobbies and I think
This is one of the best investments I ever made. I don't live next to a large public library that has a copy and over the years it has continued to give me more and more insight as my various interests in art continue to expand.
Many alas will not be able to afford it in this post economic collapse period

The 34 volume Grove Dictionary of Art has spawned a whole series of derivative Dictionaries and Encyclopedias
The give the full text of the relevant articles from the Grove 34 volume work
The smaller paperbacks can be good value for money
The larger Encyclopedias range from two to 4 volumes
Some of the Encyclopedias have some revision. This is helpful but the cost seems to be that these articles are unsigned. One of the benefits of the huge encyclopedias is the signed article. That way you know which expert is writing the article
My guess is the editorial staff didn't find an easy way to include the updated data,so they couldn't attribute the article to the original author ( as that person may not have been responsible for the update). It can be disruptive to bracket off new information
This is the problem of our computer age where ongoing revision of the electronic version of the 34 volume works relates real hassles for sorting out the authority of each statement

I have listed the various derivative single volume focused dictionaries and the Larger more broadly based Encyclopedias that can out of the massive 34 volume Grove Dictionary of Art Progect
See my Listmania. "Art Reference Works- a small selection
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on August 14, 2014
If you can afford 100,000 for this book you probably don't need this review
As the binding is of the essence one would have liked some book seller photos
Checking the bookseller's Amazon page all the books carry high price tags and many are illustrated
Checking Google this appears to be the only copy on the web. A few very high end art book sellers may carry it in stock , or it may be very rare in which case one is paying a premium for rarity
This dictionary is truly superb and certainly deserves being beautifully bound in Leather
For those with time on there hands these are my thoughts

The book dealer tells us that it is one of of 250 leather copies bound by one of Britain's leading binders. Without pictures of the binding it is difficult to estimate initial issue price
If you are a wealthy art collector or art buff this may be just what you want
If you can afford $100,000 you probably already know about this book from friend's , museums or galleries or dealers etc
If you want to check on price I would check Ursus Books Limited New York City -- T Peter Kraus President etc
Google them for there current New York address and for there web page. They seem to have moved to a different Madison Avenue address
They sell a wide range of excellent art books and produce many excellent art catalogues. They service the high end of the market so they may be of help
If you are building an art library they are well worth knowing about but you probably know that as well
And you will no doubt know the other high end booksellers you could call to get an general guide to price
As I am a New Zealander living in rural New Zealand I don't have a feel for the prices of this book. If most leather bound copies are on wealthily collectors shelves then there may be few copies around , and a beautifully bound copy of this excellent dictionary on your shelves may be an excellent choice ( if copies are few it will command a stiff premium)
The issue price of the Hardback was $ 8,800. I don't know what the issue price of the leather version was but my guess would be $ 20,000-40,000 ( I would think price was about 25,000. If I wasn't allowed a range ) that a guess from the bottom of the world
Some knowledgeable person can no doubt tell me how wrong I was in the leave comment section

I don't own this limited edition leather bound copy of the Dictionary of Art
At $100,000 I think the price excessive. I do own a few major leather bound limited edition art works in a various number of volumes that are numbered and signed by the author ( often 50 copies in leather of edition of 1000-2000 or so)

Every book seller is every right to ask what he feels the book is worth
Every buyer is free to choice whatever copy he

Is the dictionary worth it ?
It is truly superb. It is by far the largest art dictionary in English and is coverage is global.
The articles are very well written, and very helpful for the art collector, art scholar,and general reader
I have reviewed this 34 volume work here -- where copies are a lot lot cheaper . If you know about the dictionary you can skip this
The Grove Dictionary of Art: 34 Volumes
Part of the review is about the Dictionary iitself
The other half is that I think it is a great investment for those who love art

Do I need the Electronic version as well-- it has updated information ?
Are any problems-- I don't know but in the update print versions you don't seem to be able to tell what is the original text and what is the update
Is that a problem-- it is to some of us
The explanation is rather complex
( one benefit of the update should be ongoing updates of bibliography-- the dictionary is a great place of first call along with some books on guides to the art literature. I get selected Ursus catalogues via Amazon third party sales

The electronic version is being constantly updated.
I haven't really looked at the electronic version but other noted that some of the articles were unsigned in some of the derivative volumes ( hardback ) that came out of the massive Grove Dictionary project
See my Listmania offering on Some Art reference works that is mainly devoted to the Grove project
I got a number of the derivatives as I found them useful ( it is very helpful having all the articles on Dutch art -- Rembrandt to Vermeer in a compact volume)

The early derivative volumes follow the Grove 1996 text with no revision paperbacks single volume topics ) hard
The newer hardback multivolume sets of which there are quite a few have revisions
I have the Renaissance set which uses the 1996 text
I also have the 3 volume Northern Renaissance set -- this contains revisions

So what's the problem ( sorry it sounds long winded but it has to do with the quality of the information
Briefly stated the original version was done by a number of major scholars and some younger scholars. All had very deep understandings of the topics they wrote on
The newer Hardback derivative volumes ( see my Listmania --Some major art references ) and the electronic version contain updating
A great help -- yes
The problem
Telling the original material contributed by the original-scholar from new additions and knowing who made the new editions and what there qualifications were ( do the have a matching technical depth to the original author and how major is the revision. Does it change a major point in the origin article or even major section or is a more minor updating.). Many of us want to know whose scholarship we are trusting
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