Cover image for The Prestel dictionary of art and artists in the 20th century
The Prestel dictionary of art and artists in the 20th century
Zöllner, Frank.
Publication Information:
Munich ; London : Prestel, 2000.
Physical Description:
383 pages : color illustrations ; 28 cm
Added Title:
Art and artists in the 20th century.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
N6490 .P72 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize Non-Circ

On Order



This full-color, one-volume dictionary provides an authoritative and up-to-date guide through the maze of twentieth-century artists, movements, photographers, techniques, styles, and turn-of-the-century precursors.

Author Notes

Wieland Schmied is an art critic and essayist. He was director of the Kestner Gesellschaft in Hanover, where he organized the first big Hundertwasser retrospective in 1964, with an accompanying catalogue raisonne. From 1974 to 1975 he was chief curator at the Berliner Nationalgalerie, from 1978 to 1986 the director of the German Artist Exchange Program (DAAD), Berlin and afterwards director of the Munich Academy of Fine Arts. He is currently president of the Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts, Munich.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

With 501 illustrations and 1,309 entries written by more than 60 art historians, this alphabetically arranged dictionary provides an authoritative and up-to-date guide to twentieth-century art, including "artists, movements, photographers, techniques, styles, and turn-of-the-century precursors." Written for both art professionals and the interested general reader, the articles are clear and concise. Biographical entries (the majority) briefly list the artists' biographical data, main exhibitions, and characteristics of their work. The artists who were selected for inclusion "have made a particular impact and brought innovation to their field" and range from Henri Matisse, Auguste Rodin, and Alfred Stieglitz to Jeff Koons, Maya Lin, and Cindy Sherman. Artistic groups and movements are included, as are significant exhibitions such as the Documenta (held in Kassel, Germany, every four or five years) and biennales (held in various cities every two years). Concepts are reviewed when "they are exclusively and immediately connected to twentieth-century art." Ample cross-references are indicated by a small arrow preceding the term in the body of the text, a device that interrupts the flow of reading more than the standard bold type or small caps but that nonetheless gets the job done. Titles of works have been translated when possible. The copious (though mostly very small) illustrations generally appear on the same page as the articles they illustrate. When this is not the case, the location of the plate in noted within the entry. Short bibliographic references are given at the end of each entry and refer to an extensive list of more than 3,000 full references at the end of the volume. There is no index, though the alphabetical entry format and cross-references generally obviate the need for one. This dictionary is more current than The Dictionary of Twentieth Century Art (McGraw-Hill, 1974), which is excerpted from the five-volume McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Art (1969). Good for quick general information on contemporary artists and movements, it is suitable for college and university libraries, as well as for high schools with a strong visual and plastic arts programs.

Library Journal Review

This very handsome publication includes 501 illustrations (over 400 in color) and 1300 concise yet informative and detailed entries in an attractive and artful layout. The entries are signed by the over 62 authors, and the editorial committee is made up of three world-renowned art historians: the Munich-based Wieland Schmied, a prolific author who lectures internationally; Frank Whitford, who has taught at the Slade School of Art and the Royal College of Art in London; and Frank Zllner (Univ. of Leipzig). The entries, which are mainly Western in scope, cover 20th-century art movements and forms, including painting, sculpture, photography, graphic arts, and video art. Historical background and critical analysis are incorporated, and cross references are indicated by an arrow . This scholarly text is clearly intended for those already versed in the arts. For example, the entry for "performance art" reads "Oppositional movement, emerging in the 1960's, to stem the tide towards Art Informel and Abstract Expressionism, both of which were felt to have become sclerotic in approach." Original language is maintained when appropriate, as in the entry for "Robert Wilson": "His productions are characterized by lavish lighting and scenery, turning them into tableaux vivants, which address issues of visual perception." This source is not a substitute for Oxford's A Dictionary of Twentieth-Century Art (LJ 8/98) but is instead complementary. The Oxford title, for instance, has no illustrations, and the two sources include different entries. For example, the Oxford title has entries for "The Canadian Art Club" and "Canadian Group of Painters," while the Prestel title mentions merely the "Group of Seven." However, the Prestel title includes terms such as "Grattage" and entries for "Dale Chihuly" and "William Wegman," which the Oxford title does not. Highly recommended for academic and special reference collections.DJennifer L.S. Moldwin, Detroit Inst. of Arts (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

This English translation of Prestel Lexikon, Kunst und K"unstler im 20 Jahrhundert (Munich, 1999) deserves space in academic and larger public library reference collections. Edited by German and English art historians and written by 62 scholars (primarily German), this attractive resource treats 1,309 artists (Abakanowicz to Zush), movements, and terms. Approximately 80 percent of the detail-laden entries, which run to three paragraphs in length, cover artists born from the mid-19th century to the 1970s. International in scope and intent, the stated emphasis is on western European and US artists. The short entries are models of consistency and conciseness. They generally cite an additional source, 3,000 of which are cited fully in the bibliography. Cross-references are noted by unobtrusive arrows. For artists, entries include biographical data, main exhibitions, and characteristics of their work. The dictionary's small typeface is crisp and readable against the heavy white paper. Every page displays one or more color thumbnail reproductions, over 500 in all. Full-page color reproductions introduce each alphabetic section. Altogether, a well-conceived and finely wrought new reference work and a bargain for the price. R. T. Clement; Northwestern University