Book review: Painting America’s portrait

Not exactly what I expected, the book is readable in a couple of hours, being richly illustrated but with very little text. The format remembers me the slideshows – presentations where the images are accompanied with synthesizing phrases. So it is not entertaining but useful to understand the most important facts.

The book shows the revolution complied in illustration in the second half of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century, thanks to the industrialization, the social changes, the arrival of modern art tendencies, more sophisticated and more economical printing techniques, the growing need for information, the birth of mass communication and of the consumer as target of advertisement. and the increasing power of the press. It shows also the backside of it, when the papers in their fight to sell better use questionable or actually condemnable tactics, putting apart moral questions.

I’d have liked more information about the illustration school of Howard Pyle, and more examples of works of his and his students (especially Wyeth), and I wish the few Pyle paintings in the book were at least reproduced in color. Also I’d have liked to read about Norman Rockwell, Harvey Dunn, and see some of their fabulous works.

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