Artists on the Edge

The Rise of Coastal Artists' Colonies, 1880-1920

Brian Dudley Barrett

Artists on the Edge
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Brian Dudley Barrett

Distributed for Amsterdam University Press

408 pages | 42 color plates, 116 halftones | 7 1/2 x 9 3/4 | © 2010
Paper $64.95 ISBN: 9789089642516 Published March 2011 For sale only in the United States, its dependencies, the Philippines, and Canada

By the close of the nineteenth century, the European countryside was dotted with artists’ colonies in landscapes as varied as the artists and hosts who inhabited them. The most valuable and fruitful of these colonies were established along the coasts, and as they grew, traditional, stoic fishermen watched as their seaside villages were transformed into communities of art and leisure. Though idyllic in setting, these were not merely rustic retreats, but highly motivated international forums for experiment and debate, populated by those at the cutting edge of artistic change.


The movement, driven by ideological decisions and sustained by practical considerations, was shaped by a confluence of innovations in technology, transportation, hospitality, and publishing. In turn, it shaped the modern art market and inspired generations of painters. With this incisive study, Brian Dudley Barrett makes a major contribution to the geography of art, chronicling a time when living on the edge yielded fresh works and radical new perspectives.

1. Introduction—Setting the Scene
2. The Geo-Politics of Pleinairism
3. Barbizon as a Prototype
4. The Financial Imperatives
5. The Vital Role of Village Innkeepers
6. Themes and Variations
7. Conclusion
Illustration Credits
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