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History of Modern Art (Paper cover) (6th Edition) [Paperback]

H. H. Arnason , Elizabeth C. Mansfield
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

July 27 2009 0136062067 978-0136062066 6

Long considered the survey of modern art, this engrossing and liberally illustrated text traces the development of trends and influences in painting, sculpture, photography and architecture from the mid-nineteenth century to the present day. Retaining its comprehensive nature and chronological approach, it now comes thoroughly reworked by Elizabeth Mansfield, an experienced art historian and writer, with refreshing new analyses, a considerably expanded picture program, and a more absorbing and unified narrative.

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Product Description


For over four decades, H. H. Arnason's History of Modern Art has been an indispensible guide to a large and complex subject.  Revised and expanded by co-author Elizabeth C. Mansfield, the sixth edition presents a comprehensive overview of modern art with fascinating new material on such topics as Postmodernism, globalization, and art institutions in the twenty-first century.

Alan Wallach, William and Mary College


Elizabeth Mansfield’s revised History of Modern Art is as expansive as modernism itself. Beginning at 19th-century realism in France and ending with contemporary globalization, her survey embraces an impressive range of aesthetic developments across numerous media, I especially admire how she organizes modernism’s great diversity under a clear interpretative framework maintained through all 27 chapters. Her book will prove an invaluable tool for educators.

Andrés Mario Zervigón, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Art History, Rutgers University.


Bravo. Most thorough and useful revision of a textbook I have seen in more than four decades of teaching.

Carl Goldstein, University of North Carolina at Greensboro      


I will definitely adopt this revised edition as it is tremendously improved in organization and structure.

Elizabeth Mix (formerly Elizabeth Menon), Butler University  


The revisions to Arnason’s History of Modern Art broaden the overall historical contexts of modernism and address more fully the implications of modernism in art and their relationship with the history of the modern Western world.  The rewritten edition attempts to include more non-Western European and North American artists and is much more sophisticated in its handling of the historiography of art history.

Damon Willick, Loyola Marymount University


Exciting, more comprehensive and inclusive rather than exclusive! Mansfield’s revisions make the text far more accessible.

Barbara L. Miller, Western Washington University

About the Author

Elizabeth C. Mansfield is Associate Professor of art history at New York University. A scholar of modern European art and art historiography, her publications include books and articles on topics ranging from the origins of modernism to Picasso’s Demoiselles d’Avignon to the contemporary performance and body art of Orlan. A fellow at the National Humanities Center in 2008-09, she received the College Art Association’s Charles Rufus Morey book award in 2008 for Too Beautiful to Picture: Zeus, Myth, and Mimesis. (http://arthistory.as.nyu.edu/object/ElizabethMansfield.html)


The late H.H. Arnason was a distinguished art historian, educator, and museum administrator who for many years was Vice President for Art Administration of the Solomon Guggenheim Museum in New York. He began his professional life in academia, teaching at Northwestern University, University of Chicago, and the University of Hawaii. From 1947 to 1961, Arnason was Professor and Chairman of the Department of Art at the University of Minnesota.

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Lots of pictures Oct. 30 2010
By Cassie
I got this book for my art history class - I thought it would be just heavy and boring, but no way! It's got a lot of pictures and even if you don't like reading you can enjoy flipping through the pages and looking at all the photos.
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Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  30 reviews
25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent and interesting introduction to Modern Art with hundreds of photos Jan. 30 2010
By Nessander - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I saw this book in a museum (the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, GA) and had the chance to peruse the museum's copy (which was of the previous edition) before buying it. After just spending 15-20 minutes with it in the museum, I became convinced that it was worth the hefty price. Now, having purchased the most recent edition, I am glad I did. It is an expensive book, but worth the price, in my opinion, as it contains a wealth of information and a wealth of art.

The book was originally written by H.H. Arnason, who, as the book's Preface explains, was Professor and Chairman of the University of Minnesota's Art Department from 1947 to 1961. He also held other posts and was affiliated with the Guggenheim Museum. Since Arnason passed away some time ago, recent editions of the book have been updated by Elizabeth C. Mansfield (Associate Professor of Art at NYU), who has brought the book up to the present (as recent as 2006) with sections on globalization and postcolonial theory.

Both Arnason and Mansfield are clearly intelligent scholars who place the art within its historical context to help us to see what it did, where the innovations were, and what conflicts and issues were live at that time. For example, the opening chapter deals with the legal case between Ruskin and Whistler, in which Whistler sued Ruskin for libel when Ruskin defamed Whistler's painting "Nocturne in Black and Gold." The battle was over whether Whistler could charge such a large amount of money for something that, in Ruskin's eyes, was not art. The (his)story is told in a very readable way, with the painting shown, and it is a perfect and intelligent way to open the book, since a crucial issue involved in modern art is, what makes it art and who decides?

I have not had time to work my way through the whole book (it is 830 pages), but I have liked very much what I have read so far. The index is handy for finding the artists one is interested in, if you don't want to wade through the book, since the chapters are organized thematically. The book may be intended for College textbook use, but I think it is definitely interesting enough to be read by anyone interested in art and painting. It's probably a bit too large and intimidating to work well as a real "introductory" book for someone who knows nothing about art or modern art (unless you have a seriously scholarly mind), but otherwise, I think it is as accessible as it can be given its size and scope, it makes for some great reading and it also passes as a good reference work. I recommend it.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent source of 20th century artists Nov. 28 2009
By Thompson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I bought this book for a class and it has certainly come in handy. It covers a large selection of 20th century artists such as Klimt, Kandinsky, Cezanne, Matisse, Demuth, and much much more. The book is very large (has a lot of pages) so it truly is stock full of pictures and information about artists and art movements of this time period. There does seem to be a focus more on European artists but there are still pleanty of American artists as well as other countries (Japan, Mexico...)being represented. Although it may be a little expensive, it is a great book for anyone who wants a well organized compilation of 20th century art. I also like the way it is written. It is easy to understand but written in a sophisticated manner. It also discusses a wide variety of art including oil, printmaking, sculpture, ceramics, mixed media, photography, performance art, and more.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MODERN ART HISTORY Dec 31 2011
By W. L. Bailey - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Great Book!!! I bought this book for my art history class. I thought about renting it at first, but as an art major, I figured I'd probably want to keep it. I was right. I will have this book and reference it for many years to come. The only thing better than the book, was the class that required it!!!
6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The book was in wonderful condition June 15 2013
By Kristina Smatrakaleva - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
and has a ton of info. Also written very well. If you don't like reading, though, you can use it to kill giant spiders. Or knock people into unconsciousness with it. 10/10 would recommend as a zombie-killing weapon.
5.0 out of 5 stars on time and as expected July 4 2014
By V. Foster - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
on time and as expected
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