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Three Hundred Years of American Painting: the Montclair Art Museum Collection.

Three Hundred Years of American Painting: The Montclair Art Museum Collection. Marilyn S. Kushner, Alejandro Anrcus, Marion Grzesiak, and Virginia Wageman. New York: Hudson Hills Press, 1989. 199 pps., illustrated, hardbound, $50.00.

The Montclair (New Jersey) Art Museum, one of America's leading small museums, has focused its founding on the collecting of American paintings. In 1945 its trustees formally endorsed the building of a collection that would document the development of American painting from its beginnings to contemporary movements. Significant among Montclair's holdings of more than five-hundred American works are eighteenth and nineteenth-century landscapes, especially of the Hudson River and Tonalist schools and early twentieth-century Modernist works. These groupings are studded with master pieces by Joseph Blackburn, Asher B. Durand, George Innes, William Merritt Chase, Robert Motherwell and others.

This important collection is documented in detail and discussed in several essays in a beautifully produced volume that is a must for any secondary library or university study collection. It features essays by four prominent critics and art historians on significant aspects of the collection: "American Portraits, 1720-1920: The Taste of the People," "American Landscapes," "American Paintings, 1900-1939" and "Abstract Expressionism in Context." To highlight works from the collection, thirty-two paintings are reproduced in vivid full color opposite individual essays about the artist, the work and its social, historical and aesthetic contexts.

The work and essays included in this book are essential additions to resources needed for curricula that stress art history and criticism. It is especially valuable for students and teachers who are interested in the critical area of American art. It is highly recommended for secondary students, teachers and those in higher education who are interested in the visual arts in America.
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Title Annotation:Resource Center
Author:Baker, David
Publication:School Arts
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Feb 1, 1990
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