Womens Worlds Art & Life Mary

Caroline Davidson, Author Random House Value Publishing $1.99 (160p) ISBN 978-0-517-56086-0
Time has not been kind to Best, a 19th century English watercolor painter whose genteel interiors of cottages, houses, churches and markets now look decidedly sentimental and picturesque. Her still lifes resemble illustrations on kitchen placemats, and her clumsy handling of perspective makes many of her human figures look freakish. However, as an almost photographic record of provincial life in England, Holland, Belgium and Germany in the 1830s and 1840s, her minutely detailed paintings have historical interest. She shows us outdoor cafes, card games, folk costumes, servants, wine cellars, print shops. Best traveled much more widely than most women artists of her day, and, in an age when female artists concealed their identities, she openly sought recognition. Yet even her life appears static in this lackluster biography. The 140 color reproductions are accompanied by astute commentaries on the scenes depicted. December 17
Reviewed on: 11/01/1985
Release date: 11/01/1985
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