Orientalism in Art Hardcover – Feb 1 2005
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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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"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.
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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