Catalogue


Thomas Eakins and the cultures of modernity /
Alan C. Braddock.
imprint
Berkeley, Calif. : University of California Press, 2009.
description
x, 291 p. : ill. (some col.)
ISBN
0520255208 (cloth : alk. paper), 9780520255203 (cloth : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Berkeley, Calif. : University of California Press, 2009.
isbn
0520255208 (cloth : alk. paper)
9780520255203 (cloth : alk. paper)
catalogue key
6779396
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Excerpts
Flap Copy
"In this fascinating study, Alan Braddock considers how recent work dating the emergence of cultural pluralism to the early twentieth century changes the way we understand an important artist like Thomas Eakins. It argues that in championing Eakins as a keen sympathizer with minority 'cultures' in the United States, art historians fall prey to a serious anachronism. Braddock presents a major revision not only of Eakins, but of the intellectual and geographic contours of 'American' realism's encounter with the modern world."--Brad Evans, Rutgers University "Braddock's book searches out a number of fresh historical contexts for understanding Eakins's work and his sense of himself in relation to his perceptions of the shifting world around him. The author's unflinching appraisal of how Eakins's major paintings participate in the late nineteenth-century discourse of race and culture is richly supported as he evokes the social and intellectual terrain of Eakins's Philadelphia."--Kathleen Pyne, author ofModernism and the Feminine Voice "Alan Braddock's sensitive, intelligent, and probing book is a breath of fresh air. It looks closely at Eakins's paintings and situates them in the material world of late-nineteenth-century Philadelphia, where demographic changes were making the variety of human aspects and customs increasingly conspicuous, and in the intellectual world of the time, where a shift in thinking about race and culture was underway. This book brings nagging, heretofore inchoate problems into focus, and resolves them convincingly. It is stimulating and gratifying reading."--Michael Leja, author ofLooking Askance: Skepticism and American Art from Eakins to Duchamp
Flap Copy
"In this fascinating study, Alan Braddock considers how recent work dating the emergence of cultural pluralism to the early twentieth century changes the way we understand an important artist like Thomas Eakins. It argues that in championing Eakins as a keen sympathizer with minority 'cultures' in the United States, art historians fall prey to a serious anachronism. Braddock presents a major revision not only of Eakins, but of the intellectual and geographic contours of 'American' realism's encounter with the modern world."--Brad Evans, Rutgers University "Braddock's book searches out a number of fresh historical contexts for understanding Eakins's work and his sense of himself in relation to his perceptions of the shifting world around him. The author's unflinching appraisal of how Eakins's major paintings participate in the late nineteenth-century discourse of race and culture is richly supported as he evokes the social and intellectual terrain of Eakins's Philadelphia."--Kathleen Pyne, author of Modernism and the Feminine Voice "Alan Braddock's sensitive, intelligent, and probing book is a breath of fresh air. It looks closely at Eakins's paintings and situates them in the material world of late-nineteenth-century Philadelphia, where demographic changes were making the variety of human aspects and customs increasingly conspicuous, and in the intellectual world of the time, where a shift in thinking about race and culture was underway. This book brings nagging, heretofore inchoate problems into focus, and resolves them convincingly. It is stimulating and gratifying reading."--Michael Leja, author of Looking Askance: Skepticism and American Art from Eakins to Duchamp
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2009-11-01:
Many high-quality publications have been written about Eakins, e.g., Henry Adams's Eakins Revealed (CH, Nov'05, 43-1352). Braddock's penetrating study fits well within the universe of "new" art histories, as his title clearly indicates, and the book's sections reinforce this. Following an introduction titled "'This Current Confusion': Thomas Eakins before Cultures" are the three main chapters--"'Amongst Strangers': Studies in Character Abroad," "'What Kind of People Art There': Local Color, Cosmopolitanism, and the Limits of Civic Realism," and "'To Learn Their Ways That I Might Paint Some': Cowboys, Indians, and Evolutionary Aesthetics"--followed by a coda. Braddock (Temple Univ.) clears away the misconceptions that have assigned to Eakins anthropological perceptions of "culture" that, in fact, did not become current in American culture until after Eakins's death. He discusses how Eakins's realistic images do embody a premodern worldview, simultaneously exploring and revealing the turn-of-the-century "culture concept" promulgated by Franz Boas and other modern anthropologists. Braddock lifts Eakins out of the perspective that would lock him into a parochial, Philadelphia city-view and shifts one's viewpoint to seeing him as a truly modern artist with a world sensibility. Included are 89 black-and-white figures and ten color plates. A fine, challenging book. Summing Up: Recommended. Collections of American art/American studies supporting upper-level undergraduates through faculty/researchers. J. Weidman Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
Reviews
Review Quotes
"[An] exceptional work of scholarship and interpretation."
"[An] exceptional work of scholarship and interpretation."-- Caa Reviews
"[Braddock's] cogent considerations of the artist's understanding of 'the cultural concept' provide a welcome corrective to anachronistic readings of the artist's work."
"[Braddock's] cogent considerations of the artist's understanding of 'the cultural concept' provide a welcome corrective to anachronistic readings of the artist's work."-- Art Newspaper
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, November 2009
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
In this work, Alan C. Braddock reveals that modern anthropological perceptions of 'culture', attributed to Eakins by many art historians, did not become current until after the artist's death, in 1916.
Main Description
Thomas Eakins and the Cultures of Modernityis the first book to situate Philadelphia's greatest realist painter in relation to the historical discourse of cultural difference. Alan C. Braddock reveals that modern anthropological perceptions of "culture," attributed to Eakins by many art historians, did not become current until after the artist's death, in 1916. Braddock demonstrates that Eakins's realistic portrayals of Spanish street performers, African Americans, and southern European immigrants embodied a premodern worldview. Yet by exploring Eakins's struggle to visualize diversity amid the dislocating forces of his day--mass immigration, orientalism, tourism, commercial publishing, and the international circulation of ethnographic objects--this book illuminates American art on the threshold of the twentieth-century "culture concept" promulgated by Franz Boas and other modern anthropologists.
Main Description
Thomas Eakins and the Cultures of Modernity is the first book to situate Philadelphia's greatest realist painter in relation to the historical discourse of cultural difference. Alan C. Braddock reveals that modern anthropological perceptions of "culture," attributed to Eakins by many art historians, did not become current until after the artist's death, in 1916. Braddock demonstrates that Eakins's realistic portrayals of Spanish street performers, African Americans, and southern European immigrants embodied a premodern worldview. Yet by exploring Eakins's struggle to visualize diversity amid the dislocating forces of his day--mass immigration, orientalism, tourism, commercial publishing, and the international circulation of ethnographic objects--this book illuminates American art on the threshold of the twentieth-century "culture concept" promulgated by Franz Boas and other modern anthropologists.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgments
Introduction: "This Current Confusion": Thomas Eakins before Cultures
"Amongst Strangers": Studies in Character Abroad
"What Kind of People Are There": Local Color, Cosmopolitanism, and the Limits of Realism
"To Learn Their Ways That I Might Paint Some": Cowboys, Indians, and Evolutionary Aesthetics
Coda: "Distinctly American Art": Thomas Eakins, National Genius
Notes
Selected Bibliography
List of Illustrations
Index
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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