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Painters Eleven: The Wild Ones of Canadian Art [Hardcover]

Iris Nowell
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Sept. 11 2010

A visually stunning portrayal of the turbulent rise of Abstract Expressionism in Canada.

Eleven Abstract Expressionist artists banded together in 1953 to break through the barricades of traditional art at a time when Canadian and European landscapes were about the only paintings collectors were buying. Hungry for recognition, raging against the art establishment that was shutting them out, they decided to form Painters Eleven, expecting they would gain attention as a group, rather than going solo. Following their first group exhibition in February 1954, the public response echoed the sentiments that Abstract Expressionism had elicited worldwide-largely mockery and bewilderment. Nevertheless, the exhibition attracted wide public interest, and after two or three more Painters Eleven exhibitions, the criticism transformed to a crescendo of acclaim from critics and collectors alike. Although the group disbanded in 19 6 0, many of the Painters Eleven became icons of Canadian contemporary art. Their dynamic works are held in Canada's main public art galleries and in prestigious galleries around the world and are still avidly sought after by public institutions and private and corporate art collectors. Expertly researched by Iris Nowell, an acclaimed biographer with extensive knowledge of the Canadian art world, and featuring more than 290 full-colour reproductions, Painters Eleven brings readers and art lovers face to face with one of Canada's most exciting periods of art history.

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Painters Eleven: The Wild Ones of Canadian Art + The Art of Richard Diebenkorn
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"The many fans of the group will feel vindicated by the overdue appearance of a book about them and will admire this work's beautiful reproductions." (Journal of Canadian Art History 2010-12-01)

"Nowell may be the best-placed writer in the country to get us inside Painters Eleven given her time spent with Hodgson and her many years as Harold Town's companion." (Toronto Star 2010-09-15)

"Painters Eleven is the perfect gift. At a hefty 364 pages, it is packed with what easily could be magazine cover features on each of the 11 abstract artists who helped hoe conservative 'Toronto the Good' into fertile land for contemporary art to grow." (Telegraph Journal 2010-09-18)

"Painters Eleven, a loosely coherent organization only from 1953 to 1958, may have been the last chapter of modernism in western art, soon to be swept aside by Pop Art. This book will...remain definitive." (Times Colonist 2010-09-26)

"Painters Eleven works beautifully as a traditional art book. It has more than 200 admirable colour reproductions...[and expresses the] dream of a society brought to life by artists." (National Post 2010-09-28)

"It's about time that the talented and daring artists of Painters Eleven have their lives and work celebrated. You do not want to miss this book; even the cover is a work of art." (Arabella Magazine 2010-10-01)

"Nowell has given us a coffee table book with benefits...she peppers the text with chatty anecdotes, biographic details and telling character descriptions." (Maclean's 2010-10-11)

"In Painters Eleven: The Wild Ones of Canadian Art, author Iris Nowell brings to life the turbulent rise of an often overlooked period of Canadian art history -- Abstract Expressionism...Painters Eleven is an intimate look at a previously unexplored subject matter." (International Architecture & Design 2010-12-01)

About the Author

Iris Nowell is the author of six books as well as countless newspaper and magazine articles on topics ranging from sports to social issues. She was the first of the new generation of women to write on the sports pages of The Globe and Mail. Her subsequent work includes the well-received Women Who Give Away Millions: Portraits of Canadian Philanthropists and the artist biography Joyce Wieland: A Life in Art and her memoir Hot Breakfast for Sparrows: My Life with Harold Town. Nowell lives in Toronto.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificant Production Nov. 3 2010
By Michael
The book is magnificent....in content, fluid, descriptive writing and physical production by Douglas & McIntyre
I obtained an excellent "feel" for each artist...his or her character, lifestyle, temperament, strengths and weaknesses, living environment and background. One obvious strength of the book is the credible nature of the information presented as Ms Nowell had intimate personal knowledge of the artists. It all rings true.
The writing is colourful but not exaggerated, spirited, articulate and suffused with bonhomie and appropriate restraint when indicated. Each artist would be pleased and proud of their respective descriptions and honesty in their depictions.
The footnotes are helpfully explanatory when necessary, the "Selected Exhibitions" history adds to the scholarly standing and the bibliography and index establish the substantial worth of the enterprise.
The brilliance of an art book must be the works of art. Their glorious reproductions is unsurpassed. Superb editing, meticulous proof reading, gorgeous graphic layout and the superior quality of paper are just some of the wonderful features that set this book apart.
The overwhelming feeling one gets is the excitement these artists brought to the scene during their lifetimes. Their presence today may be even greater and will continue to resonate in the history of Canadian and world art, for as long as there is art. Perhaps my best summation is "joyous"......for the lives lived, for Nowell's exhaustive research and revelations to the wider world and the thrilling works of art brought to the attention of art lovers everywhere.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Filled with insights Sept. 29 2010
By David O
This book on the Painters Eleven makes an effort to fill in a serious gap in Canadian art history. Anyone who has read the author''s Hot Breakfast for Sparrows knows what to expect from this new work. The book is highly readable, never dry, filled with insights into the artists that only a person who actually knew the subjects could produce. Ms. Nowell has put human faces on eleven very important Canadian artists. And the illustrations! You feel immersed in their powerful and colourful world as you read this wonderful book. Long anticipated, this work does not disappoint. Congratulations Ms. Nowell.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth twice the price! Oct. 15 2010
A "must have" for anyone interested in this mid century rise in Abstract Expressionism. A beautiful book, with just enough insite into each P11 artist to make viewing the excellent colourful reproductions of their work even more remarkable!! Finally some recognition in print for these Canadian artists.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Read Sept. 2 2010
By Angela
This book is a must read for students of art history and for those who missed out on a great decade of abstract Canadian art.

Iris introduces us to 11 amazing artists who have largely been forgotten by the general public - tres triste.

A beautiful book to look at and read. Amazing photos of great art.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A STUNNING BOOK June 8 2012
Iris Nowell's PAINTERS ELEVEN manages to excite the eye and at the same time to vividly engage the mind. This is a book that collectors will be clamouring for... not just today but for years to come.
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