- Hardcover: 640 pages
- Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press; 2 edition (April 15, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0806135336
- ISBN-13: 978-0806135335
- Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 1.6 x 11 inches
- Shipping Weight: 5.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,271,225 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The West of the Imagination 2nd Edition
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From Publishers Weekly
The explorer-artists who documented the American West were obsessed and determined. George Catlin lived on borrowed money and sales of "souvenir albums" while fulfilling his dream of recording vanishing Native American cultures. "Blond giant" Frederic Remington, a failed Kansas sheepherder, became the primary mythmaker of the Old West, portraying its trappers, punchers and vaqueros and elevating the cowboy to an epic hero. Swiss view-painter Karl Bodmer, in search of a "savage America," risked his life to paint bloody Indian battles and explore Mississippi steamboat culture. With 370 plates, nearly half in color, this companion volume to an upcoming PBS-TV series glorifies the legends of the Wild West even as it dissects them. Artists of European descent who recorded Hispanic settlements in the Southwest are highlighted. The authorsWilliam H. Goetzmann is a Pulitzer Prizewinning historian; William N. Goetzmann is a museum curatoralso trace the role of filmmakers in shaping the popular image of the frontier.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
This handsome volume by the Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and his son complements the recent PBS series of the same name. In relating the lives of the artists of the American West, the social and cultural climate during which they worked, and their individual thoughts and feelings, the authors reveal the fascinating dynamic which exists between artist and subject. From the early 1800s to the present, they recount the lives of both major and minor artists in an entertaining style. Strict aesthetic judgments are kept to a minimum; the focus is on how these men and women influenced and were influenced by the times in which they lived, continually shaping and defining the public's perception of the American West. For general collections. Frank Schroth, Technology Training Assocs., Cambridge, Mass.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Since my original review above I have been reading some more from this book. Did you know that the Wounded Knee massacre occurred in December 1891? Did you know that Sitting Bull was killed by the Seventh Cavalry? Did you know that Cody killed Yellow Hand? I have too many books yet to read to waste more time with this one. Yes, all books, even by the best of authors have an error here and there. It is hard to write a perfect book. But this book, from the little I have read, is just filled with errors. And considering that it is a "revised" edition, most of them should have been corrected.
Art and painting represent the legends of the West. Most paintings were not made in the West. Early on painters traveled and sketched but painted in the off-season in the East. OR, paintings were made long after the incident in a studio: Custer's Last Stand. Indeed, Anheuser Busch commissioned a painting which it put into a marketing campaign. Beer drinkers could speculate on this or that about Custer.
How many U.S. Army soldiers did Native Americans kill after 1865? From another history the answer is fewer than 1000.But I did not know that forts west of the Mississippi were not attacked by Native Americans. The Goetzmanns' book mentioned one of the last attacks was circa 1770, Booneville, Kentucky, the settlement of Daniel Boone. Yet film has grossly misrepresented violence and casualties.
There are excellent chapters on Buffalo Bill, Remington and Russell and his business-savey wife, Nancy. What Remington and Russell show in paintings was motion in their world. Viewers can know what happened before the painted scene; the viewer can anticipate what will happen. Viewing Remington's A DASH FOR THE TIMBER horses and riders are coming at the viewer; Russell's SMOKE OF A .45 the viewer is in a gun battle and men are getting on horses to get away.
There is something exact and genuine about these artists e.g. they knew the animals they painted - at rest, at peace, cold, warm, running, off balance. At art schools in the eastern US horses were dissected in art classes to demonstrate motion of a horse.
In many ways the paintings depict reality, despite decades separating event from the first pigment on canvass.
This book is fun to read; it gives a lot of energy and feeds the imagination.
Because of my interest in the mythology that developed around the cowboy, I found the chapters on Frederic Remington, Charley Russell, and Buffalo Bill Cody especially absorbing. Magazine illustrators who further developed imagery of the "wild west" are represented here in discussions of N. C. Wyeth and Maynard Dixon.
On a parallel track, the authors give a chapter to the early silent Westerns, highlighting the careers and contributions of Tom Mix and William S. Hart (a precursor of Clint Eastwood). Another chapter is devoted to the Hollywood Western during the sound era noting similarities between Remington's imagery and that of director John Ford. There's also a discussion of the evolution of western movie themes from "The Virginian" (1929) to "The Ballad of Cable Hogue" (1969).
This book is a rewarding study of the American West as its visual artists inspired the imaginations of people around the world. Definitely worth having.