Cover image for American art : 1908-1947, from Winslow Homer to Jackson Pollock
American art : 1908-1947, from Winslow Homer to Jackson Pollock
Chassey, Éric de.
Publication Information:
Paris : Reunion des Musees Nationaux ; New York : distributed by Harry N. Abrams, 2002.

Physical Description:
254 pages : illustrations (chiefly color) ; 28 cm
General Note:
Catalogue of an exhibition held at Musee des Beaux-Arts, Bordeaux, from October 10 - December 31, 2001 and two other museums through June 23, 2002.
Why has there been no great American art (before the triumph of abstract expressionism)? / by Éric de Chassey -- The great traditions of early modern American art / by Henry Adams -- The 1913 Armory Show : stakes, strategies, and reception of a media event / by Charlotte Laubard -- The art of light : colors, sounds, and technologies of light in the art of the synchromists / by Pascal Rousseau -- The machine between cult object and merchandise : photography and the industrial aesthetic in the United States during the interwar years / by Olivier Lugon -- Harlem Renaissance : the making of a black identity / by Elvan Zabunyan -- Jean Hélion and Albert E. Gallatin : one aspect of the exchanges between Europe and the United States / by Arnauld Pierre -- Transferal and synthesis : American biomorphism of the 1930s / by Guitemie Maldonado.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
N6512 .A57 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area-Oversize

On Order



Offering a fresh perspective on American art from the first half of the 20th century, this elegant book presents approximately 200 paintings, works on paper, photographs, and sculpture by such artists as Ansel Adams, Milton Avery, Walker Evans, Edward Hopper, Georgia O'Keeffe, Ben Shahn, Paul Strand, and Grant Wood, along with works by other well-known and less-familiar artists. All the works are reproduced in stunning full-color and duotone plates. These works have been brought together for a traveling exhibition organized through F.R.A.M.E., a major artistic exchange program between the United States and France. This book, published to accompany the inaugural exhibition of the program, includes texts by French and American art historians that place the works in art-historical context.

Author Notes

Eric de Chassey is a specialist in twentieth-century American art and abstraction. Professor of twentieth-century art at the Universite Francois Rabelais in Tours, France
Henry Adams is curator of American painting at the Cleveland Museum of Art. He teaches at Case Western Reserve University, also in Cleveland
Charlotte Laubard is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Nanterre, France, writing about the reception of Constructivism in the United States
Pascal Rousseau is associate professor of twentieth-century art at Universite Francois Rabelais in Tours. He was the curator of the Robert Delaunay retrospective at the Centre Pompidou, Paris, and has published extensively on twentieth-century art
Olivier Lugon is an art historian based in Berlin. He is the author of a forthcoming book on photography in the 1920s
Elvan Zabunyan is associate professor of twentieth-century art at the University of Rennes. She is the author of a forthcoming book on African-American artists in the 1960s and 70s
Arnauld Pierre is associate professor of photography at the Sorbonne in Paris. He is an expert on Calder and Picabia, as well as on abstract art from the 1920s to the present day
Guitemie Maldonado is associate professor of twentieth-century art at the Pantheon-Sorbonne, Paris. A specialist in Surrealism and Biomorphism, she is also an art critic

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

American Art, 1908-1947offers fresh interpretations of diverse modern American artworks by a cast of mostly French art historians, an unusual perspective given the stupendous influence of French artists on American artists during that era, and the disconcerting fact that this essential period of American art has been little known in France. American readers will be piqued by the provocative title of editor de Chassey's introductory essay, "Why Has There Been No Great American Art (Before the Triumph of Abstract Expressionism)?" And what follows is a series of mind-stretching, sometimes goading discussions that trace the emergence of a genuine American aesthetic accompanied by paintings, photographs, and some sculpture by the likes of Alfred Stieglitz, John Marin, Paul Strand, Charles Demuth, and Thomas Hart Benton, as well as less familiar artists. This is a skewed but intriguing overview of a dynamic and globally influential chapter in the increasingly complex history of art. Donna Seaman.

Library Journal Review

The past ten years have seen a wealth of good publications devoted to American art and, in particular, the formation of a uniquely American artistic identity. Expanding that list are two new publications, one from that bastion of American art, the Whitney Museum, and one from an unlikely source: an exhibition created and shown solely in France. Fresh, intelligent, informative, and wide-ranging, the Whitney's American Visionaries illuminates the work and careers of over 280 artists in the collection, from its earliest exhibitors to the big names of postwar American art to contemporary new media artists. Each entry includes a full-color reproduction of a work and a short text that considers both the specific work and the artist's larger role in American art. The introductory essay by Maxwell L. Anderson, the Whitney's director, traces the growth and evolution of this premier collection. This handbook adds nicely to the array of focused collection catalogs recently produced by the museum. Beginning in the early 20th century, American Art surveys its subject through the often-critical eyes of European (primarily French) art historians. The exhibition itself, one in a proposed series, was organized by FRAME (French Regional & American Museums Exchange), a loose organization of 18 French and American museums. The catalog presents 200 works (paintings, sculptures, prints, and photographs), with essays that provide important viewpoints on the development of a unique American art form as seen from a distinctly European perspective. Although the translation is a little awkward at times, the essays are beautifully and liberally illustrated with images from the exhibition. Both books are recommended for all libraries with American art historical collections, though American Art is best for academic and museum libraries, and American Visionaries will be most valued by libraries that do not have other recent collection catalogs from the Whitney. Kraig A. Binkowski, Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

This richly illustrated catalog for an exhibition of early modernism in the US was presented in three major French regional museums--Bordeaux, Rennes, and Montpellier. A series of relatively brief but provocative essays, each accompanied by well-rendered color plates and halftones, addresses major such issues as the contributions of the Pioneers of Modernism in America, the Machine Age, and the ensuing "searches" for cultural identity and "community." Biographical notes and a list of works shown but not reproduced follow. American readers may find some of the biases expressed by the contributors a bit patronizing in tone, especially in view of the swamping banality of most European production of the same period. Granted, it is healthy for exhibitions to be animated by ideas. Their catalogs, now so prominent a part of current scholarly literature, are perhaps a mixed blessing, however, for they may suffer as vehicles of scholarly discourse from the inherent limitations of the enterprises they recall, for the choice or availability of the most apt examples in fact can color the balance and thrust of the whole presentation. Some curious inclusions and exclusions are observable, with that effect. And ironically, certain critical opinions advanced as fresh may seem, on the contrary, rather stale to experienced readers. All levels. F. A. Trapp emeritus, Amherst College

Table of Contents

Eric de ChasseyHenry AdamsCharlotte LaubardPascal RousseauOlivier LugonElvan ZabunyanArnauld PierreGuitemie Maldonado
Why Has There Been No Great American Art (Before the Triumph of Abstract Expressionism)?p. 20
The Revival of Naturalismp. 30
The Great Traditions of Early Modern American Artp. 32
The Pioneers of Modernismp. 60
The 1913 Armory Show Stakes, Strategies and Reception of a Media Eventp. 62
The Art of Light Colors, Sounds, and Technologies of Light in the Art of the Synchromistsp. 69
The Machine Agep. 104
The Machine Between Cult Object and Merchandise Photography and the Industrial Aesthetic in the United States during the Interwar Yearsp. 106
The Search for Identitiesp. 142
Harlem Renaissance The Making of a Black Identityp. 144
The Search for Community: Abstractions and Automatismsp. 196
Jean Helion and Albert E. Gallatin One Aspect of the Exchanges Between Europe and the United Statesp. 198
Transferal and Synthesis American Biomorphism of the 1930sp. 208
Biographical Notesp. 243
List of exhibited works not reproducedp. 253