Picasso and American Art

Michael FitzGerald, Author, Julia May Boddewyn, Other Yale University Press $65 (400p) ISBN 978-0-300-11452-2
This work is a marvelous, carefully-researched study of Picasso's influence on some of the most significant American artists of the 20th century. Fitzgerald moves chronologically, from the earliest Americans who engaged cubism in the teens (Max Weber, Mardsen Hartley, Man Ray, Stuart Davis), through the modernist investigations of Arshile Gorky, Willem De Kooning and Jackson Pollack, and winds up with Roy Lichtenstien's pop-art and Jasper Johns' postmodern responses to Picasso. Fitzgerald takes great pains to triangulate exhibition specifics with the work and words of each artist to document the precise nature and extent of the influence in each case. And because the story of Picasso's influence is intertwined with the gradual acceptance of modern art in America, the book also touches on events leading to the foundation of MoMA and the Whitney Museum of American Art, as well as their development during the decades during and after WWII. The essays here are excellent, filled with rich detail and sustained consideration of each artist; and despite the sophistication of the analysis, Fitzgerald avoids overly-technical or hyper-academic prose, which will make the book accessible to more than just art historians and cultural critics. There is a generous supply of images presented with the text, and they are as successful as Fitzgerald's prose in illuminating the complexities of Picasso's influence on these artists. Both as an exhibition guide and a coffee table book, this volume is outstanding and will appeal to those looking to learn more about these artists or who simply wish have a handsome volume to look at and display.
Reviewed on: 10/01/2006
Release date: 10/01/2006
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 400 pages - 978-0-87427-154-6
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