Sunday, February 15, 2009

Whistler: Landscapes and Seascapes

The author, Donald Holden is a painter, educated at Columbia and Ohio State Universities, the Art Student League of New York and the Parsons School of Design. He brings the perspective of a practicing artist to this volume on Whistler’s landscapes and seascapes.

“Whistler’s radically simplified paintings, with their flat planes of color, free brushwork, and elimination of detail, became potent weapons in the guerrilla war which the avant-garde waged against the pompous, literary salon pieces which dominated nineteenth century art. In an era of story-telling pictures, Whistler declared war on subject matter and insisted that the painter’s subject is painting. Like Turner and Monet, he gradually evolved an art in which outlines of the visible world began to melt away and the language of painting emerged as an end in itself.”

Of particular interest to plein air painters in this book will be the reproductions of the seldom exhibited modest “thumb box” paintings (mentioned above), which represent the ultimate experimental works of one of the most influential artists of the 19th Century.

– Carl Judson

Whistler Landscapes and Seascapes Donald Holden, Watson-Guptill, New York, 1976, (88 pages, 11 x 10 1/4, 32 color plates, paperback)

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