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American Masterpieces

American Masterpieces

Singular Expressions of National Genius

by John Wilmerding
Preface by Eric Gibson

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Product Details


ISBN: 978-1-56792-640-8
Pages: 128
Size: 11" x 9"
Published: June 2019
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Twenty-five essays on great works of American art and design. John Wilmerding’s “Masterpiece” column in The Wall Street Journal is one of the newspaper's most popular features. This book gathers those essays, each one integrating a detailed visual analysis with insights not only into the art and its creator, but also into the national context at the time of its execution.

American Masterpieces features a full-sized reproduction of each sculpture, painting, piece of architecture, and photograph discussed. Some such as Mary Cassatt’s “Little Girl in a Blue Armchair” are well known while others (such as Henry H. Richardson’s Crane Memorial Library in Quincy, Massachusetts) are largely unregarded. This broad, representative, and eclectic selection of the best this country has produced is for anyone who with a taste for American art and history.

PRAISE for American Masterpieces

The pieces here assembled cover the full spectrum of American art, both in terms of genre – painting, sculpture, architecture, public monuments – and time period, ranging from the Colonial era through America's Gilded Age to modernism and the current moment. To be sure, boldface names like Thomas Eakins and Andrew Wyeth are here, but there are also less well-known figures such as Robert S. Duncanson and Richard Caton Woodville... Besides John's encyclopedic knowledge of American art and culture what unites these essays is his ability to take readers to the heart of a work of art or an artist's intention in the most succinct yet penetrating prose. —Eric Gibson | Arts in Review Editor | The Wall Street Journal

The Boston publisher David R. Godine has long championed fine bookmaking. Witness John Wilmerding’s American Masterpieces: Singular Expressions of National Genius, a gathering of essays contributed to the Wall Street Journal by this distinguished former curator of American art at the National Gallery. —Michael Dirda | Book Critic | The Washington Post

Author: John Wilmerding
John Wilmerding is currently a Professor Emeritus at Princeton University, a member of the Board of Trustees at the Guggenheim Museum in New York, and serves on advisory boards for committees for Smithsonian Studies in American Art and Harvard University Art Museums. Wilmerding was a visiting curator in the department of American Art at the Met, and is also the author of many books and catalogues on American art.

Author: Eric Gibson

Eric Gibson is the editor of Leisure & Arts for The Wall Street Journal.