The New Path: Ruskin and the American Pre-Raphaelites

By: Ferber, Linda S.; Gerdts, William H.

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Book Condition: Near Fine

Spine head and spine base lightly bumped. 1985 Large Softcover. 288 pp. An exhibition of 128 drawings, watercolors and oil paintings by the American Pre-Raphaelites and their contemporaries, will open at The Brooklyn Museum on March 29 and be on view through June 10, 1985. The New Path rediscovers a little-known and fascinating chapter of 19th century American art history. Organized by Linda S. Ferber, Chief Curator and Curator of American Paintings and Sculpture, The Brooklyn Museum; and William H. Gerdts, Executive Officer of the Ph.D. Program in Art History at the City University of New York, the exhibition and catalog will trace the brief but lively existence of the Association f or the Advancement of Truth in Art. Founded in New York early in 1863 by a small company, including a group of artists, the Associations agenda was nothing less than the complete reform of American art and architecture, as they made clear in their pugnacious little magazine The New Path. The proposed reform of American art was based upon principles of truth to nature expounded by the influential English art critic John Ruskin and--in the opinion of the Association--demonstrated in the brilliantly colored and highly detailed paintings of the English Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. The English movement was a model for these American Pre-Raphalites, as they were known, who included expatriate English painter Thomas C. Farrer, John Henry Hill, John William Hill, Charles Herbert Moore, Henry R. Newman and William T. Richards. They practiced a compulsively detailed manner of drawing and painting landscape and still life that was radical even by current standards of truth to nature in the contemporaneous paintings of Durand, Church and others and which generated a good deal of critical controversy fueled by the fiery prose of The New Path. This exhibition brings together for the first time in this century the drawings, watercolors and paintings of this little-known circle. Painted primarily in the 1860s and 1870s, American Pre-Raphaelite landscapes and still life paintings are immediately distinguishable by a peculiar brilliance in combination with a linear precision of treatment producing a pristine, nearly surreal vision. The works by the artist-members of the Association and their circle are complemented in the exhibition by a selection of still life, landscape and figure paintings by artists generally better known today such as Durand, Church, Bierstadt, Heade and John G. Brown, whose work was demonstrably touched by some of these same Ruskinian impulses although their paintings did not satisfy the stringent criteria of The New Path. From the perspective of historical distance a visual survey of all these works nevertheless will reveal a strong correspondence which suggests that the botanical and geological specificity, brilliant palette and sharp focus associated with the Ruskinian approach had a wider influence on mid-19th century American painting than the American Pre-Raphaelites or their opponents might have recognized or acknowledged. While their heyday was short and their numbers small, a distinctive body of work was created by the American Pre-Raphaelites--a body of work which was both a part of and apart from the mainstream of mid-19th century American painting and which attracted both champions and critics.--Brooklyn Museum

Title: The New Path: Ruskin and the American Pre-Raphaelites

Author: Ferber, Linda S.; Gerdts, William H.

Categories: Art, American, Americana,

Publisher: New York, Schocken Books: 1985

ISBN Number: 0805207805

ISBN Number 13: 9780805207804

Binding: Large Softcover

Book Condition: Near Fine

Seller ID: 2305950