• Used Book in Good Condition
During the 1920s and 1930s, Alfred Stieglitz's stylish New York galleries were a mecca to artistic innovators and avant garde thinkers, those struggling to cast off the burden of American puritanical thought and the fixed idea among the intellectual elite that important art, art that was real and would last, was being made only in Europe.
At the same time Duncan Phillips, a determined art collector and heir to a steel fortune, opened two rooms of his Washington, D.C., home to begin a museum of modern art. Although he collected some of the world's masterpieces, especially French Impressionism, he kept a diligent eye on the work being done in his own country.
That Stieglitz and Phillips would meet was destiny. Their long friendship, sometimes an uneasy alliance, brought forth a reevaluation of art in American culture. Their combined vision and resources invigorated a movement and prepared the way for public acceptance of American modernism.
The uniquely American style of the artists in the Stieglitz circle - Arthur Dove, Marsden Hartley, John Marin, and Georgia O'Keeffe - defied European tradition and opened the door for artistic experimentation. In the American Grain gathers the Stieglitz circle as acquired by Phillips: paintings by all four artists, watercolors by Dove and Marin, assemblages by Dove, and Stieglitz's "Equivalents," his acclaimed photographs of clouds and sky. The bold, original style of the works included here stand together to signal a shift in the development of art - its coming of age in America.
Alfred Stieglitz exhibited, defended, and promoted the most revolutionary artists he could find, especially the four painters showcased in this volume: Arthur Dove, John Marin, Marsden Hartley, and Georgia O'Keeffe. Their work, along with Stieglitz's own stunning cloud photographs, is at the core of the famous Phillips Collection housed in Washington, D.C. Duncan Phillips, an intrepid collector, forged a complicated alliance with Stieglitz, one that survived serious conflicts and led to the creation of the first modern art museum in the country. Both Stieglitz and Phillips were avid about art that was genuinely American in its spirit, innovation, and connection to the land. All five artists meet and exceed these criteria as they merge mindscape and landscape. Dove tops the list both in number of works and in the daring of his organic yet mystical compositions. Marin's translucent yet energetic watercolors stand in strong contrast to Hartley's saturated, heavily worked oils; O'Keeffe contributes a distilled sensuality; and Stieglitz captures the abstract beauty of sky and cloud. Curator Turner has chosen well both in terms of colorplates and text, which contains a lively history of Phillips' collecting venture. Donna Seaman