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The 20th Century Art Book

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Covering the international nature of the modern art scene, this title encompasses established, iconic works of art and the classics of the future. It presents 500 artists in an alphabetical order, each represented by a full-page colour plate of a definitive work and an incisive text which sheds light on both image and creator.


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Covering the international nature of the modern art scene, this title encompasses established, iconic works of art and the classics of the future. It presents 500 artists in an alphabetical order, each represented by a full-page colour plate of a definitive work and an incisive text which sheds light on both image and creator.

30 review for The 20th Century Art Book

  1. 5 out of 5

    Alan

    Well... it's a 20th-Century art book, anyway. I read The 20th Century Art Book straight through, from Acconci to Zorio, which is perhaps not the best and certainly not the only way to use this brilliantly-conceived reference work, even though I personally enjoyed going through this book page by page, encountering old favorites and artists new to me in a sequence which owed nothing to schools, or regions, or influences. On equal terms. Precisely equal terms, in fact. Each of the artists considered— Well... it's a 20th-Century art book, anyway. I read The 20th Century Art Book straight through, from Acconci to Zorio, which is perhaps not the best and certainly not the only way to use this brilliantly-conceived reference work, even though I personally enjoyed going through this book page by page, encountering old favorites and artists new to me in a sequence which owed nothing to schools, or regions, or influences. On equal terms. Precisely equal terms, in fact. Each of the artists considered—and there are 500 of them, unified only by having done their most prominent work during the century in question—is given exactly one page to shine. Fascinating as the format is, it's also very restrictive, and does not do service to larger works, to three-dimensional pieces, or to kinetic and video art. Also, for some of the more prolific and versatile artists, the need to pick only a single piece leads to some oddly unrepresentative examples. However, the format also privileges no gender, no race, no level of celebrity or political affiliation. My friend Kim noticed right away, though it took me awhile to tumble to the same realization, that this is a profoundly democratic presentation. Pablo Picasso faces the New Yorker Adrian Piper. The page right after Brazilian sculptor Hélio Oiticica displays Georgia O'Keeffe. The "urban street poetry" of Jenny Holzer (one of my personal favorites) gets juxtaposed with the Abstract Expressionist painter Hans Hofmann. Only the tyranny of alphabetical order holds sway. That, and a certain cultural myopia. The book is British, and there is a definite (possibly-unavoidable) bias towards artists from England, or English-speaking countries, or at least countries somewhere near England. There must have been many artists working during those long hundred years from Africa, India and China, for example... but they go almost entirely unrepresented here. So The 20th Century Art Book must be understood as an overview—very broad, but by no means all-inclusive... and nowhere is it very deep. It is a product of the 20th Century itself, as well, with a copyright date of 1996 (but with updates in this edition up through 2007 or so, mostly in dates of death). The same book created with the perspective of 100 years from now might contain very different choices. The 20th Century Art Book should not be your sole, or even primary, reference for the artists of its chosen period. But despite its flaws I found it to be an impressively broad survey, a beautiful artifact, and a solid springboard for further research.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Amanda O'Kelley

    I love this small book, when Im trying to derive inspiration from something in order to start a piece of my own. It features tons and tons of amazing works from Picasso, to O'Keefe, Matisse, Cezanne, Pollock, Klimt (Big Breath) Brancussi, Boccioni and Rodin. My absolute favorite artist being Frida Kahlo because of her feminism, and weakness to her true love Diego, and beautiful bright colored works boldly portraying brutal agony of living life as a mexican woman in an age that wasn't ready for su I love this small book, when Im trying to derive inspiration from something in order to start a piece of my own. It features tons and tons of amazing works from Picasso, to O'Keefe, Matisse, Cezanne, Pollock, Klimt (Big Breath) Brancussi, Boccioni and Rodin. My absolute favorite artist being Frida Kahlo because of her feminism, and weakness to her true love Diego, and beautiful bright colored works boldly portraying brutal agony of living life as a mexican woman in an age that wasn't ready for such honesty. One piece you have to check out is Chuck Close's "John" Acrylic on Canvas, an astonishingly life like painting that you'd swear at first glance is a photograph of a man wearing glasses, however is in fact a painstakingly accurate dipiction of the subject rendered through true mastery of acrylic medium.

  3. 4 out of 5

    J.C.

    The format's a bit weird, and the selections range from obvious to subpar, but for the most part, this is a good art reference book. It serves its purpose and I enjoyed browsing through the artworks. I wish i could get more than a simple photo of the exhibits that were explained and shown in a single image, however, as most of them require the viewer to actually be there.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Alex

    Well known artists combined with little known artists would make this a confusing book for someone with a limited knowledge of influential 20th century artists.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Solla

    Each page contains a color reproduction of an artwork (500 artworks), and a couple of paragraphs of commentary about the work and its context. There is a note about the date, place, dimensions of the work, and the date of birth and (if applicable) death of the artist. 4 - 6 names of closely related artists are listed for most. It is probably no better and no worse than most other anthologies for including women, but did have one work each for two that are not always included, Kollwitz and Moders Each page contains a color reproduction of an artwork (500 artworks), and a couple of paragraphs of commentary about the work and its context. There is a note about the date, place, dimensions of the work, and the date of birth and (if applicable) death of the artist. 4 - 6 names of closely related artists are listed for most. It is probably no better and no worse than most other anthologies for including women, but did have one work each for two that are not always included, Kollwitz and Modersohn-Becker. It includes the range of works you would expect in the title (western works it seems to me, but I am not familiar with 20th century non-Western works, so don't know the names of artists to look up). I might not always agree on the single work to include, but the works of Kollwitz and Becker, Morandi, O'Keefe and others seemed fairly representative of their work. There's a bit on art terms and movements at the end. Overall it is a good place to scan through artists to find those whose works you might want to explore more.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kayleigh

    It's a good book to dip in and out of, yet even though the size of it is handy for being able to flip through quickly, it means that the images are rather small (but still of a high quality). The best thing about this book is the snippets of information, which makes you want to know more about that artist and their work, so whatever you do don't just pass them by, sometimes they are more interesting than the artwork itself.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Matt Vandegriff

    Short review: I love all of the Phaidon Art books (and music books). The art books are just a wonderful collection from widely different sources and the books themselves are laid out beautifully. They are, of course, introductions to a spectrum of the artworld (time period, artist specific, genre, etc...), but a wonderful starting point for anyone curious in general, or interested in finding a direction to explore further.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Nigel Wilson

    Although some of the art in this book is what I would class a being created by talented and inspiring people ( Bryan Organ for example).... Most of it could be have been created by a nursery school class of 4 year olds... All this is art.?... Really?

  9. 4 out of 5

    lurra

    Had I bought this book 4 years ago, I wouldn't have had to go to art school. Hur hur.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Juan Manuel Wills

    Se nota un buen esfuerzo de presentar una muestra de obras representativas del siglo XX, particularmente en el expresionismo abstracto, clasificadas por autor

  11. 5 out of 5

    Josephine

    Great book! Large photos on each page with limited text (the way like art books).

  12. 5 out of 5

    Stephen

    Excellent book, especially for college students studying art or art history.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Phillip

    Detailed Survey of 20th Century Art by Artist. Short concise descriptions and bio of work and Artist. Ends with helpful Glossaries of Terms and Artistic Movements. Good Quality Pictures.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca Gulotta

    Fantastic reference on modern art.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Marilyn

    I really liked it. each page is a different artist. I discovered kandinsky whom I had not heard of before. It made some names at MoMA familiar.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Christiana Guinle

    ARTE , UMA MARAVILHA ,VALE A pena , recomendo!!!!!!!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Leez Matías

    Quisiera hablar de todos los artistas que se encuentran aquí pero es imposible. Me encanta este libro, saco mucha inspiración.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Crystal

    Colorful, informative and compactly sized, I thoroughly enjoyed it very much.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Paula

    A great overview of 20th century art and well work the read

  20. 5 out of 5

    Steven

    Good selection of pieces and artists. Some of the descriptions were a bit trite and naff.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Mii

    This book was a great read!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    I loved this book so much in high school art class that I had to own it as an adult. Still a flip through favourite.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Zandee Glz

    Increíble como libro de consulta, muy buena calidad y muy completo

  24. 5 out of 5

    Anna Lane

  25. 5 out of 5

    Mikaela Montano

  26. 5 out of 5

    Akira Chinen

  27. 4 out of 5

    GeorgeMarian18

  28. 4 out of 5

    Alejandro

  29. 4 out of 5

    Bethany Womack

  30. 5 out of 5

    Simon Atkinson

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