Cover image for Sister Wendy's Impressionist masterpieces
Sister Wendy's Impressionist masterpieces
Beckett, Wendy.
Personal Author:
First American edition.
Publication Information:
New York : DK Pub., 2000.

Physical Description:
96 pages : color illustrations ; 32 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library ND192.I4 B43 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize
Clearfield Library ND192.I4 B43 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
East Aurora Library ND192.I4 B43 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Oversize
Elma Library ND192.I4 B43 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Kenmore Library ND192.I4 B43 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Kenmore Library ND192.I4 B43 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Oversize
Marilla Free Library ND192.I4 B43 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Riverside Branch Library ND192.I4 B43 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Julia Boyer Reinstein Library ND192.I4 B43 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Audubon Library ND192.I4 B43 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Eggertsville-Snyder Library ND192.I4 B43 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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A beautiful anthology of Impressionist paintings by a dazzling roll-call of artists. One of the world's best-loved art historians, Sister Wendy Beckett combines her deep knowledge of art history with her unique powers of observation to create a personal anthology of over 50 Impressionist masterpieces. Led by visionary artists such as Manet, Monet, and Pissarro, the Impressionists sought to capture the brilliant colors of nature and the ever-changing effects of light on a scene. Sister Wendy invites us to immerse ourselves in the colorful, energizing , and revolutionary paintings of this late 19th-century movement. Gallery of Great Artists: From Bonnard and Cezanne to Toulouse-Lautrec and Vuillard, all the artists are presented alphabetically, and each is represented by one or two key works. Here you will find the leading French Impressionists including Degas, Renoir, and Signac. Also represented are Singer Sarget, and Whistler, American artists who trained in Paris and knew and worked alongside the Impressionists. Sister Wendy also includes Mary Cassatt and Berthe Morisot, female Impressionists whose paintings captured the intimacy of domestic life. Sister Wendy invites us to take a fresh look at Impressionism. Seen through her eyes, each of the paintings in her wide-ranging selection weaves its magic around you when you follow her lead.

Author Notes

Born and raised in England, Sister Wendy Beckett entered the Roman Catholic order of the Sisters of Notre Dame at the age of 16. After her novitiate, she graduated with highest honors from Oxford University. Utilizing her degree in English literature, she moved to South Africa to become a teacher and, later, university lecturer. She was Reverend Mother of her convent when she was stricken with epilepsy. Granting her wish to lead a less hectic life, her order allowed Sister Wendy to return to England to live in seclusion under the protection of the Carmelite Order. From her cloister, Sister Wendy led a life of contemplation and prayer, taking on translation projects to pay the bills. After completing a five-volume collection of translated medieval Latin sermons, she asked to study art with the idea of producing a book which would help bring in some money to the Order. She began her study with library books and postcards of art works donated by various museums, eventually publishing a book of art history. A BBC producer stumbled across her writing and thought her "bizarre wit and contemplative insights" would come across well on television. She was invited to be the art critic for a documentary on London's National Gallery. In Sister Wendy's words, "...from that wretched book, it was downhill all the way." Sister Wendy's Odyssey proved to be a smash hit. There followed a journey to Europe's finest galleries in Sister Wendy's Grand Tour. Finally, her magnum opus, Sister Wendy's Story of Painting, and her companion art book caused a sensation on both sides of the Atlantic. She has since written more than a dozen books on art, prayer, love, and meditation. Sister Wendy currently lives in a trailer on the grounds of a Carmelite monastery in Norfolk, England, where she continues to live a secluded and disciplined life of prayer and contemplation in which art plays a major role.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

This "picture book" is an anthology of images personally selected by well-known writer and commentator Sister Wendy Beckett. The book is alphabetized by the artist's last name and contains readable, brief, but succinct commentary (a little like the famous "thirty-second" sound bite!). The text is accessible to most readers and remarkably free of art history jargon. The images are well chosen and include some provocative and less familiar but valuable material, as well as the "standard" examples of Impressionism. The reader may be troubled by the format of the book, which involves the frequent use of images spread across the book's gutter (thirty-seven of the 50 reproductions are presented in this fashion). The unfortunate aspect of such a design decision is that the quality of the reproductions, which is quite good, is lost as the image bends into the gutter of the book. Large, vertical images are also placed horizontally. Paintings like Degas's Melancholy or Gauguin's The Meal are robbed of their content by these editorial design decisions. General readers; lower-division undergraduates. J. H. Heinicke Simpson College



Chapter One BONNARD, PIERRE 1867-1947 b. France NUDE IN BATHTUB Faced with the glory of a late Bonnard -- drawn in and overwhelmed by the sheer wonder of the colors -- we have to make an effort to withdraw enough to understand the motif. This is the most familiar of Bonnard's motifs: his wife Marthe in the bathtub. Theirs was a strange relationship. He lived with this neurotic and difficult woman for many years before they married, and although to his friends she was bad news, as it were, the relationship between them seemed to have been, artistically, intensely productive. Her need to immerse herself frequently in the bathtub drew from Bonnard a series of magnificent pictures, of which this is the last. Marthe never aged in Bonnard's imagination; she was always that slender, long-legged girl he found so enticing many years before. She has become subsumed into a strange, luminous world. Even the small dachshund on the bath mat is as magical and glittering as the strange lady herself. BONNARD, PIERRE THE ALMOND TREE in BLOSSOM This was Bonnard's last painting. It offers a world of stupendous color, evoking a sense of the warm sweetness of a French garden in spring rather than meticulously documenting it. On his deathbed, Bonnard asked his nephew to bring him this painting because he felt that the green on the lower left needed to be overlaid with yellow. His last act was to make that golden stroke, giving his picture the intellectually satisfying pattern that his mind, so orderly in its lyricism, always sought. BOUDIN, EUGÈNE 1824-98 b. France APPROACHING STORM Boudin was fascinated by the phenomenon of the middle class at play. These are not the peasants or the laborers, these are the wealthy shopkeepers, lawyers, doctors, and their families, who have come to enjoy themselves at the beach resort of Trouville on the Normandy coast. Boudin was criticized for vulgarizing his landscape with these arrays of expensive crinoline, but he insisted that the wealthy had an equal right to their day in the sun, pictorially. He was clearly very taken by the contrast of that great pool of sunlit sand, shadowed to one side, and the immensity of a burgeoning sky on the other -- and between them, the long line of overdressed people. The artist is best known, perhaps, for his influence on Monet, who revered him and was encouraged by him, but a work like this shows that he has an importance in his own right. BOUDIN, EUGÈNE THE BEACH AT TOURGÉVILLE-LES-SABLONS As he grew older (this was painted five years before he died), Boudin became less interested in the visitors to the beach than in the setting itself. There are people here, walking on the sands with their sunshades and their pet dogs, but they are swallowed up in the austere beauty of the landscape. Two thirds of the picture is cloud-filled sky and the rest is the pallor of the sands, with a dash of green to suggest the countryside and a dash of the palest blue to suggest the sea. It is a picture of great silence. CAILLEBOTTE, GUSTAVE, 1848-94 b. France RUE de PARIS, WET WEATHER Caillebotte is an artist whom the social historians would have had to invent had he not already existed. This, his most famous work, represents what a sociologist would perhaps consider the correct subject matter for artists: the real, contemporary world in all its drabness and lack of romance. The Impressionists made token references to this, and in their paintings we see the occasional factory chimney or cityscape. But it was Caillebotte who, despite being more a well-to-do patron and hanger-on of the Impressionist scene, encapsulated the world of 19th-century Paris in this celebration of a wet street on a dull day. Without great visual excitement, it remains a picture of originality and beauty. Copyright © 1999 Dorling Kindersley Limited. All rights reserved.

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