Cloth $50.00 ISBN: 9781780233550 Published June 2015 For sale in North and South America only

The Work of Art

Plein Air Painting and Artistic Identity in Nineteenth-Century France

Anthea Callen

Anthea Callen

Distributed for Reaktion Books

256 pages | 120 color plates, 60 halftones | 7 1/2 x 9 4/5
Cloth $50.00 ISBN: 9781780233550 Published June 2015 For sale in North and South America only
In The Work of Art, Anthea Callen analyzes the self-portraits, portraits of fellow artists, photographs, prints, and studio images of prominent nineteenth-century French Impressionist painters, exploring the emergence of modern artistic identity and its relation to the idea of creative work. Landscape painting in general, she argues, and the “plein air” oil sketch in particular were the key drivers of change in artistic practice in the nineteenth century—leading to the Impressionist revolution.
Putting the work of artists from Courbet and Cézanne to Pissaro under a microscope, Callen examines modes of self-representation and painting methods, paying particular attention to the painters’ touch and mark-making. Using innovative methods of analysis, she provides new and intriguing ways of understanding material practice within its historical moment and the cultural meanings it generates. Richly illustrated with 180 color and black-and-white images, The Work of Art offers fresh insights into the development of avant-garde French painting and the concept of the modern artist.
Richard Shiff, University of Texas at Austin
“Callen, probably more than anyone else working on nineteenth-century painting today, is able to combine an artist’s experience of studio practice with an art historian’s rigorous use of documentation. Her work is immensely valuable for its combination of sensitive visual observation and scrupulous attention to details of historical fact. . . . This book is a major accomplishment.”
1. The Origins of Plein-air Painting to 1850
2. Maître Courbet: The Worker—Painter
3. Cézanne, Pissarro and Knife Painting
4. Colour: The Material and the Ephemeral
Photo Acknowledgements
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