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Vermeer: The Complete Works Paperback – September 1, 1997

4.4 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 72 pages
  • Publisher: Harry N. Abrams (September 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0810927519
  • ISBN-13: 978-0810927513
  • Product Dimensions: 10.5 x 0.4 x 14.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #533,286 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book offers a wonderful opportunity for those Vermeer lovers who were not fortunate enough to view the National Gallery of Art exhibit in 1995. A brief but informative overview of Vermeer's life is provided, along with large format reproductions of all of his existing works. Inlcuded in each description is the location of each work, along with the dimensions of the original. While my goal is to see all the Vermeers on display, this is a great reference companion. I keep it on my coffee table and refer to it often. It's a treasure.
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Format: Paperback
The print quality though not a perfect color match in the paintings, is better than most. I've yet to find a Veermeer book that closely matches Vermeer's vivid use of color while at the same time closely matching the original colors. It's a well made book, amazing considering the low price.
The writing is rather dry and unemotionally scholarly albeit comprehensive, and can be somewhat boring. I would rather read a more thorough analysis of what each painting was intended to say and how it was made and composed, written with less emotional detachment. At the price though, it's a pretty good book.
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Format: Paperback
ISBN: 0894682199 is a better choice, because it was highly prized and awarded like no other book about Vermeer. Colors here are rendered not very accurately. This book, like others by Harry N Abrams, tends to show the light background in the upper left hand corner of the "Woman in Blue Reading a Letter" painting as light blue. In fact, that background is multicolored in a kind of pinkish summary tone. Similar problems have other pictures, though all Vermeer's paintings are reproduced as plates.
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Format: Paperback
A fine book on Vermeer with brief but to the point commentary on each painting by the author. I've seen Vermeers in the Rijksmuseum in the original, and although no color plate in a book can do justice to them, at least this book has them all. Other reviewers have already commented on several issues with the plates, so I will just say that Vermeer's rich, saturated colors and use of transparent and translucent glazes are impossible to really reproduce in print, at least at a reasonable cost, not to mention his amazing treatment of specular highlights.

The book shows all known Vermeers, of which there are less than forty, usually with several paragraphs of commentary on each painting. The author does a good job of placing each painting in the context of Vermeer's overall oeuvre while discussing the painting's special or unique points. No doubt you'll recognize many of your favorite Vermeers here.

Vermeer's masters are still a mystery although Carel Fabritius, Rembrandt's most famous student, and others have been proposed, but without conclusive proof. We may never know who trained him, but one thing is for sure, early on after being certified as a master of the guild, Vermeer turned from the more dramatic subject of historical paintings to painting the intimate and understated works he's known for, in which people are treated almost like inanimate objects in a still life and the light permeates whole volumes of space with liquid effect. Forever a girl stands in front of a virginal, or pours milk from a pitcher, while the light dances and plays around her.

Someone once noted that Vermeer's spaces are quite empty and uncluttered, but this makes sense if you think about it.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This exceptional work showcases Vermeer's oeuvre with very high quality reproduction. Note especially the clarity of two wondrous Vermeer portraits, the Girl with the Pearl Earring and the Girl with the Red Hat; both have been recently cleaned and restored and are presented here with much of the the subtle values and luminous color characteristic of the originals. The landscapes are beautifully captured to scale: The Little Street shimmers with tincture of bricks and mortar, while The View of Delft generates a sense of lapidary majesty. The Lady Reading, the Milkmaid, the Woman in Blue, and the Woman Holding a Balance are simply splendid, as are the Astronomer and the Geographer.
Arthur Wheelocks's text incisively narrates Vermeer's threadbare story, givng historical context while providing insight about the paintings themselves. I'm not sure he should have included the controversial St. Praxedis, for many scholars have rejected its attribution to Vermeer. But his commentary as well as his methodology for dating the paintings is informed by the best scholarship, for Wheelock has been at the forefront over the last several decades in bringing Vermeer to the public at large.
Given the price, this book is a terrific value. It can be used on the coffee table and as an essentail companion when reading other volumes about Vermeer. Better still, take it with you as you visit personally all the Vermeers in the New York (the Metropolitan and the Frick) and Washington, DC( the National Gallery) museums.
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Format: Paperback
Completely inadequate. Many of the reproductions are too dark, and important details can't be seen. In many pictures there are small white dots, obviously the result of poor printing. In the magnificent "Servant Handing Her Lady a Letter," the dyes have dripped so badly that the reproduction might as well be a comic book. Abrams should be miles above this level of quality. The photo editor, Uta Hoffman, should have an eye exam.
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