Art Inc: American Paintings from Corporate Collections

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  • Leonardo

    Art Inc: American Paintings from Corporate CollectionsReview by: Elena CanavierLeonardo, Vol. 15, No. 2 (Spring, 1982), p. 167Published by: The MIT PressStable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1574580 .Accessed: 12/06/2014 22:55

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  • Poussin's drawings are not a spectacular tour de force of virtuoso draughtsmanship. They do not give up their secrets readily, nor lend themselves to presentation in the form of glossy colour reproductions. Yet, as documents of the creative processes of the most noble and profound of classical artists of the 17th-century, they are of extraordinary interest, although for the lay eye they need the careful and loving exegesis of a great scholar.

    This has been provided by this book, the distillation of the author's lifelong devotion to the cause of Poussin studies. He was led to write it by a desire to provide an introduction to the monumental five-volume catalogue raisonne of Poussin draw- ings on which he collaborated with Walter Friedlander from 1939 to 1974. He realised that such an introduction could not rely on the reader turning from volume to volume to find each illustration.

    The resultant book for once matches in its design (by Faith Brabenec Hart) the quality of its prose. It is beautifully produced with exceptionally fine reproductions, yet is not big and cumbersome, and is easy to hold in the hand, a rare occurrence nowadays. Its illustrations, and their accompanying explanatory notes, are well integrated with the text, making it possible to follow the author's developed argument with the minimum of page turning.

    The chronology of the drawings and the description of the artist's technique (which could almost be used by art students as instructions) are separated from the discussion of the 'purpose' of the drawings themselves, which makes for great lucidity of treatment. Throughout the work Blunt's style, remarkable for its clarity, vicariously conveys the real excitement of looking at a fine drawing in the company of a deeply informed connoisseur. The chapter devoted to Poussin's studio, in particular, is an object lesson in discriminative judgement, with its nicely contrasted comparisons of original and copy, the subtle difference that enable us to distinguish between the master's hand and that of a highly skilled emulator.

    Felicitously, this elegant volume provides an excellent introduction to Poussin as artist and thinker for any reader daunted by the full critical apparatus of the five volumes of collected drawings and three volumes of paintings. It succeeds in communicating the pleasure described by the author in the final sentence of the book: '(Poussin's) drawings ... are for holding in the hand and enjoying in the privacy of the study ... looked at this way they give very deep satisfaction.'

    George Eliot and the Visual Arts. Hugh Witemeyer. Yale Univ. Press, London, 1979. 238 pp., illus. ?14.00. Reviewed by Richard Brown*

    It is well known that George Eliot was a knowledgeable and enthusiastic amateur of the visual arts and that she included discussions of pictures in her novels. It is perhaps best known in relation to the 17th chapter of her novel 'Adam Bede' where she interrupts her narrative to present her views on the ordered depiction of lowly subjects in Dutch genre paintings. Witemeyer, however, goes far beyond such well-known examples to provide a wide-ranging examination of the relationship between Eliot and the visual arts.

    He begins by giving an account of the art books she read, personalities she met and galleries she visited (he calls her 'a consciencious tourist') during her travels in European countries. He shows that her ideas about literary works were securely rooted in the Horatian notion that they should be like representational pictures: ut pictura poesis. Her belief in the importance of representing the outward physical appearance of her characters was so strong that it led her to an interest in phrenology and physiognomy. However, such interests, and her devotion to the pictorial arts, were tempered by her belief that literary works afforded more possibilities for an understanding of an individual's character by means of narrative development and dramatic exchanges.

    Witemeyer explains Eliot's extensive, though sometimes ironic, uses of figurative and typological portraiture and

    Poussin's drawings are not a spectacular tour de force of virtuoso draughtsmanship. They do not give up their secrets readily, nor lend themselves to presentation in the form of glossy colour reproductions. Yet, as documents of the creative processes of the most noble and profound of classical artists of the 17th-century, they are of extraordinary interest, although for the lay eye they need the careful and loving exegesis of a great scholar.

    This has been provided by this book, the distillation of the author's lifelong devotion to the cause of Poussin studies. He was led to write it by a desire to provide an introduction to the monumental five-volume catalogue raisonne of Poussin draw- ings on which he collaborated with Walter Friedlander from 1939 to 1974. He realised that such an introduction could not rely on the reader turning from volume to volume to find each illustration.

    The resultant book for once matches in its design (by Faith Brabenec Hart) the quality of its prose. It is beautifully produced with exceptionally fine reproductions, yet is not big and cumbersome, and is easy to hold in the hand, a rare occurrence nowadays. Its illustrations, and their accompanying explanatory notes, are well integrated with the text, making it possible to follow the author's developed argument with the minimum of page turning.

    The chronology of the drawings and the description of the artist's technique (which could almost be used by art students as instructions) are separated from the discussion of the 'purpose' of the drawings themselves, which makes for great lucidity of treatment. Throughout the work Blunt's style, remarkable for its clarity, vicariously conveys the real excitement of looking at a fine drawing in the company of a deeply informed connoisseur. The chapter devoted to Poussin's studio, in particular, is an object lesson in discriminative judgement, with its nicely contrasted comparisons of original and copy, the subtle difference that enable us to distinguish between the master's hand and that of a highly skilled emulator.

    Felicitously, this elegant volume provides an excellent introduction to Poussin as artist and thinker for any reader daunted by the full critical apparatus of the five volumes of collected drawings and three volumes of paintings. It succeeds in communicating the pleasure described by the author in the final sentence of the book: '(Poussin's) drawings ... are for holding in the hand and enjoying in the privacy of the study ... looked at this way they give very deep satisfaction.'

    George Eliot and the Visual Arts. Hugh Witemeyer. Yale Univ. Press, London, 1979. 238 pp., illus. ?14.00. Reviewed by Richard Brown*

    It is well known that George Eliot was a knowledgeable and enthusiastic amateur of the visual arts and that she included discussions of pictures in her novels. It is perhaps best known in relation to the 17th chapter of her novel 'Adam Bede' where she interrupts her narrative to present her views on the ordered depiction of lowly subjects in Dutch genre paintings. Witemeyer, however, goes far beyond such well-known examples to provide a wide-ranging examination of the relationship between Eliot and the visual arts.

    He begins by giving an account of the art books she read, personalities she met and galleries she visited (he calls her 'a consciencious tourist') during her travels in European countries. He shows that her ideas about literary works were securely rooted in the Horatian notion that they should be like representational pictures: ut pictura poesis. Her belief in the importance of representing the outward physical appearance of her characters was so strong that it led her to an interest in phrenology and physiognomy. However, such interests, and her devotion to the pictorial arts, were tempered by her belief that literary works afforded more possibilities for an understanding of an individual's character by means of narrative development and dramatic exchanges.

    Witemeyer explains Eliot's extensive, though sometimes ironic, uses of figurative and typological portraiture and

    Poussin's drawings are not a spectacular tour de force of virtuoso draughtsmanship. They do not give up their secrets readily, nor lend themselves to presentation in the form of glossy colour reproductions. Yet, as documents of the creative processes of the most noble and profound of classical artists of the 17th-century, they are of extraordinary interest, although for the lay eye they need the careful and loving exegesis of a great scholar.

    This has been provided by this book, the distillation of the author's lifelong devotion to the cause of Poussin studies. He was led to write it by a desire to provide an introduction to the monumental five-volume catalogue raisonne of Poussin draw- ings on which he collaborated with Walter Friedlander from 1939 to 1974. He realised that such an introduction could not rely on the reader turning from volume to volume to find each illustration.

    The resultant book for once matches in its design (by Faith Brabenec Hart) the quality of its prose. It is beautifully produced with exceptionally fine reproductions, yet is not big and cumbersome, and is easy to hold in the hand, a rare occurrence nowadays. Its illustrations, and their accompanying explanatory notes, are well integrated with the text, making it possible to follow the author's developed argument with the minimum of page turning.

    The chronology of the drawings and the description of the artist's technique (which could almost be used by art students as instructions) are separated from the discussion of the 'purpose' of the drawings themselves, which makes for great lucidity of treatment. Throughout the work Blunt's style, remarkable for its clarity, vicariously conveys the real excitement of looking at a fine drawing in the company of a deeply informed connoisseur. The chapter devoted to Poussin's studio, in particular, is an object lesson in discriminative judgement, with its nicely contrasted comparisons of original and copy, the subtle difference that enable us to distinguish between the master's hand and that of a highly skilled emulator.

    Felicitously, this elegant volume provides an excellent introduction to Poussin as artist and thinker for any reader daunted by the full critical apparatus of the five volumes of collected drawings and three volumes of paintings. It succeeds in communicating the pleasure described by the author in the final sentence of the book: '(Poussin's) drawings ... are for holding in the hand and enjoying in the privacy of the study ... looked at this way they give very deep satisfaction.'

    George Eliot and the Visual Arts. Hugh Witemeyer. Yale Univ. Press, London, 1979. 238 pp., illus. ?14.00. Reviewed by Richard Brown*

    It is well known that George Eliot was a knowledgeable and enthusiastic amateur of the visual arts and that she included discussions of pictures in her novels. It is perhaps best known in relation to the 17th chapter of her novel 'Adam Bede' where she interrupts her narrative to present her views on the ordered depiction of lowly subjects in Dutch genre paintings. Witemeyer, however, goes far beyond such well-known examples to provide a wide-ranging examination of the relationship between Eliot and the visual arts.

    He begins by giving an account of the art books she read, personalities she met and galleries she visited (he calls her 'a consciencious tourist') during her travels in European countries. He shows that her ideas about literary works were securely rooted in the Horatian notion that they should be like representational pictures: ut pictura poesis. Her belief in the importance of representing the outward physical appearance of her characters was so strong that it led her to an interest in phrenology and physiognomy. However, such interests, and her devotion to the pictorial arts, were tempered by her belief that literary works afforded more possibilities for an understanding of an individual's character by means of narrative development and dramatic exchanges.

    Witemeyer explains Eliot's extensive, though sometimes ironic, uses of figurative and typological portraiture and

    Poussin's drawings are not a spectacular tour de force of virtuoso draughtsmanship. They do not give up their secrets readily, nor lend themselves to presentation in the form of glossy colour reproductions. Yet, as documents of the creative processes of the most noble and profound of classical artists of the 17th-century, they are of extraordinary interest, although for the lay eye they need the careful and loving exegesis of a great scholar.

    This has been provided by this book, the distillation of the author's lifelong devotion to the cause of Poussin studies. He was led to write it by a desire to provide an introduction to the monumental five-volume catalogue raisonne of Poussin draw- ings on which he collaborated with Walter Friedlander from 1939 to 1974. He realised that such an introduction could not rely on the reader turning from volume to volume to find each illustration.

    The resultant book for once matches in its design (by Faith Brabenec Hart) the quality of its prose. It is beautifully produced with exceptionally fine reproductions, yet is not big and cumbersome, and is easy to hold in the hand, a rare occurrence nowadays. Its illustrations, and their accompanying explanatory notes, are well integrated with the text, making it possible to follow the author's developed argument with the minimum of page turning.

    The chronology of the drawings and the description of the artist's technique (which could almost be used by art students as instructions) ar...