Friday, December 30, 2011

Should We Try to Repaint History?

Open any American history textbook and you’ll find it there—Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze’s 1851 painting Washington Crossing the Delaware. George Washington’s steely profile cutting through the wind as he stands in the rowboat, the multicultural crew (including Scotsmen, Native Americans, and even an African-American) pushing away the jagged ice, and the Stars and Stripes flapping proudly in the wind—all very inspirational, and all wholly inaccurate. Now, historical painter Mort Künstler offers his own take on the events of December 25, 1776 with his Washington’s Crossing at McKonkey’s Ferry (shown above). Künstler corrects all of Leutze’s wrongs, but will his historically accurate rendition replace Leutze’s image in the history books and, more importantly, the hearts of Americans young and old? Can we repaint history? Should we? Please come over to Picture This at Big Think to read more of "Should We Try to Repaint History?"

[Image: Mort Künstler, Washington’s Crossing at McKonkey’s Ferry. 2011. Copyright Künstler Enterprises Inc. 2011.]

[Many thanks to Mort Künstler for providing the image above.]

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

How Helen Frankenthaler Blossomed Into a Great Artist

News that Helen Frankenthaler died yesterday at the age of 83 after a long illness is making a lot of people recall just how important a figure the self-described “saddle-shoed girl a year out of Bennington” was in the history of 20th century American art. Schooled in Cezanne and Cubism during her college days, Frankenthaler found her way in the rough and tumble art world of Abstract Expressionism with a combination of personal beauty and brains that boys club couldn’t ignore. Often ignored for being too soft, too feminine in her art, Helen Frankenthaler’s death’s reminding us that a lady can be a painter, too, and a great one. Please come over to Picture This at Big Think to read more of "How Helen Frankenthaler Blossomed Into a Great Artist."

Monday, December 26, 2011

What Were the Best Art Books of 2011?

Continuing a tradition I started last year, here’s a very personal, very subjective, “I can’t read everything, so I probably left out something, so mention it in the comments, OK?” list of the best art books of 2012 in no particular order, along with links to my reviews. Please come over to Picture This at Big Think to read more of "What Were the Best Art Books of 2011?"

[Image source:]

[Many thanks to all the publishers and museums that provided me with review copies and other press materials in 2011. You all make my job so much easier with your kindness, generosity, and professionalism.]