EVERYONE ON THIS BLOG MUST READ THIS BOOK

nancy sharon collins's picture

Everyone in the "allied arts" as they used to be called must read the book,

THE CULTIVATION OF ARTISTS IN NINETEENTH-CENTURY AMERICA edited by Georgia B Barnhill.

It explains how trade schools trained anyone who could draw with skills to job the burgeoning industries that hallmarked the era about which it is written.

Artists where taught to cut images onto copper plates and lithography stones to illustrate the newspapers, periodicals and publishing house flourishing in that time. Think about it, who drew all those lovely cross-hatched scenes, portraits and products before photography was used in print? Commercial artists. And how did they get trained? Through the apprentice system, until it was compromised by bigger and bigger industry.

So, you think you’re so special? Read this book.

Comments

j_polo9's picture

Looks interesting, Thanks!

Sharon Van Lieu's picture

It reminds me of De Kooning's beginnings.

nancy sharon collins's picture

Dear Sharon,

I didn't know this about de Kooning's beginnings but just "googled" him. Wow!

One of the many interesting points in this book is that it posits the thought that commercial training informs and inspires (or gives confidence and the tools) to commercial artists to become fine artists.

Many young people from Europe emigrated to the U.S. to avoid and or as a result of the horrors between WWI and II and made their living in the commercial art field:

Ben Shawn, Horst P.Horst, Van Dongen, Man Ray and Hoyningen-Hueneto name but a few. America was the safe have to which so many of the world's oppressed came. There was work here and a future.

I have a stack of old fashion magazines from the mid-30s and the names of now famous visual artists, art directors and writers got their start in the industrial arts. Think of Alexey Brodovich, for example.

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