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Orientalism in Art [Hardcover]

Christine Peltre
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

Feb. 1 2005 Culture
Nineteenth-century Europe was fascinated by the Orient. Napoleon's Egyptian campaign of 1798 initiated this phenomenon, and its history included the Greek uprising against the Turks in 1821 and the French taking of Algiers in 1830. Artists of the period, too, were captivated by these events, and the rich body of imagery they produced is the subject of this volume.Author Christine Peltre's elegant text retraces Orientalism's artistic history, in which the French and British schools predominated. The high poetry of the Romantics' Orient strove for dramatic effect, as the works of David Roberts, Alexandre-Gabriel Decamps, and Eugene Delacroix attest. A different brand of imagery was produced by the ethnographic gaze of the century's middle years, practiced by artists such as John Frederick Lewis, Eugene Fromentin, Jean-Leon Gerome, A. D. Ingres, and Adolphe Monticelli. Work of this kind was eventually superseded by a third style, a fusion of European and Eastern elements, as seen in the work of August Macke, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, and Henri Matisse.Witnesses to a history that they influenced in subtle ways through their imagery, the Orientalist painters also produced a history of their own, that of a spiritual and formal quest to find in the East the ideal of primitive purity. Orientalism in Art covers all these facets, making it an indispensable volume for art historians and anyone with a passion for Orientalist art.

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From Library Journal

Among the more remarkable crosscurrents affecting the development of European painting in the 19th and early 20th centuries was the influence of the exotic cultures of the Middle East and North Africa. Initiated by Napoleon's incursion into Egypt in 1798, European artists (both visitors and stay-at-homes) seized on this non-European world to enrich their imaginations and palettes. Peltre's (history of contemporary art, Universite des Sciences Humaines, Strasbourg, France) scintillating overview of Orientalism concentrates largely on the French response but also reaches out to an equally telling but briefer consideration of English, German, Italian, and American work. Without slighting the impact of European imperial ventures, political events, and literary influences, the author convincingly structures her historical synthesis within the broader contours and conventions of European painting. In addition, there are vivid characterizations of works by acknowledged masters like Delacroix, Ingres, and Matisse as well as due consideration of almost innumerable lesser lights like Lewis, Fromentin, and Gerome. Although the sculptural and architectural ramifications of Orientalism are neglected, the excellent text and the plethora of exquisitely reproduced but unfamiliar images are reason enough to acquire this splendid volume.?Robert Cahn, Fashion Inst. of Technology, New York
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Exquisite Exploration of the Genre Feb. 8 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a magnificent volume that explores the fascination that 'Western' artists have had with the exotic imagery of the Middle East for several hundred years. The book is large format and the artwork is beautifully printed (also in refreshingly large format) with some choice 'detail' views of key pieces to further one's appreciation of the skills of the artist's included in the work. The text by noted art historian Christine Peltre is well written and informative. The images included cover the full range of subject matter associated with the Orientalist genre - including battle scenes, harem scenes, dramatic landscapes & street life, and the often surreal depictions of the archaelogical wonders of ancient Egypt that fired the imaginations of countless Europeans & North Americans from the 17th century right up till the present day. I would higly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in the subject.
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Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
55 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful coffee table book July 12 1999
By Angel Lee - Published on Amazon.com
This lavish volume shows the strong influence of Oriental themes on Nineteenth Century European art. The European fascination with everything Oriental is evident in the wide range of paintings in this book. The author explains how and why the Oriental subjects became so pervasive. She draws extensively on the writings of the artists themselves and their critics to provide the background for this movement. The book is thoroughly illustrated in full color of the highest quality. Subject matter includes striking landscapes & architecturals, historical scenes, native peoples, sensual women & harem scenes. This book is appealing on different levels. As a coffee table book it is beautiful to browse. As a scholarly work it brings together and makes sense of many artists' work within a common cultural theme.
24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Cursory Introduction to Orientalism Feb. 2 2010
By Marco Antonio Abarca - Published on Amazon.com
My review pertains to a paperback entitled "Orientalism" by Christine Peltre published in 2004 by Editions Terrail. I assume this is the same book as "Orientalism in Art". Christine Peltre is a French academic who has written a cursory introduction to the theme of Orientalism in Western Art. Peltre's chapters present different themes in Orientalism which she illustrates with a representative pictures. These themes include such topics as "The Invention of the Meditteranean","From Decoration to Collection" and "Serving Colonialism". The topics are interesting but she only covers them briefly.

"Orientalism" the paperback, can be purchased for around twenty dollars and is a good value. The pictures are well reproduced and the writing is decent. I would have given it five stars but there is a better value out there for the money. For someone new to Orientalism, I would first recommend "The Orient in Western Art" by Gerard Georges Lemaire. It costs about the same as Peltre's "Orientalism" and is a much larger book with more paintings and better written chapters. Finally, if you can find a copy of Kristian Davies, "The Orientalists" at a reasonable price, pick it up. It is probably the best single source in English for the topic of Orientalism in Western Art.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fabulous Sept. 25 2009
By Jewel Shepard - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is an exquisite reference text. The plates are beautiful. I was very pleased with the range of artists and their respective works. I wholeheartedly recommend this book.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Resource Book April 27 2011
By Grady Harp - Published on Amazon.com
Fads in art come and go but one rather consistently recurring fascination among artists is the influence of Orientalism - in painting, sculpture, garden, design and architecture. Christine Peltre has written a fine history of the 'discovery' of Oriental art in the 19th century by traveling artists and artists who observed the influx of Oriental or Eastern objets d'art. She weaves a fine story, much like a novel, explaining the influences on various artists and how they incorporated the Oriental feeling into their work.

Peltre includes among the artists well known for their use of Orientalsim - Jean-Léon Gérôme, Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, Jacques-Louis David, and Eugène Fromentin, Eugène Delacroix - along with other artists whose names may not be as well known, eg the Scottish painter David Roberts, and British painter John Frederick Lewis. The emphasis in this book is on the French School, but Peltre goes on to include more contemporary-style painters such as Kandinsky, Klee, Matisse and August Macke. Her commentary is rich in information and she offers fine references for additional information about this flow of Orientalism into art. The reproductions are generous and of very high quality. Very worthwhile resource book. Grady Harp, April 11
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