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American Vanguards: Graham, Davis, Gorky, de Kooning, and Their Circle, 1927-1942by William C. Agee
Synopses & Reviews
The enigmatic and charismatic John Graham (1886-1961) was an important influence on his fellow New York artists in the 1920s through 1940s. Graham and his circle, which included Stuart Davis, Arshile Gorky, and Willem de Kooning, helped redefine ideas of what painting and sculpture could be. They, along with others in Graham's orbit, such as Jackson Pollock and David Smith, played a critical role in developing and defining American modernism. American Vanguards showcases about eighty-seven works of art from this vital period that demonstrate the interconnections, common sources, and shared stimuli among the members of Graham's circle.
Three essays by notable scholars investigate the complex relationships among Graham and his New York artist-colleagues during this formative period. William C. Agee positions Graham and his circle within the movement of New Classicism, which drew upon classical and Renaissance examples in an attempt to overcome the devastation of World War I. Irving Sandler focuses on the social, political, and intellectual dynamics among Davis, Gorky, Graham, and de Kooning in the mid-1930s. Karen Wilkin discusses the circumstances that brought these artists together, their common commitment to modernism, and the fascinating artistic cross-fertilization evident in their work. This critical reconsideration sheds new light on the New York School, Abstract Expressionism, and the vitality of American modernism between the two world wars.
A new examination of the art and influence of artist John Graham and his circle, whose works and ideas contributed to the advancement of American modernism in the interwar period
Nicholas Fox Weber, for thirty-four years head of the Albers Foundation, spent many years with Anni and Josef Albers, the only husband-and-wife artistic pair at the Bauhaus (she was a textile artist; he was a professor and an artist, in glass, metal, wood, and photography). The Alberses told him their own stories and described life at the Bauhaus with their fellow artists and teachers, Walter Gropius, Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, as well as with these figures' lesser-known wives and girlfriends.
In this extraordinary group biography, Weber brilliantly brings to life the pioneering art school in Germany's Weimar and Dessau in the 1920s and early 1930s, and captures the spirit and flair with which these Bauhaus geniuses lived, as well as their consuming goal of making art and architecture.
About the Author
Nicholas Fox Weber is the director of the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation and author of numerous books, including Patron Saints: Five Rebels Who Opened America to a New Art, 1928-1943; Le Corbusier: A Life; and Balthus: A Biography. He lives in Bethany, CT.
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