As usual Glubok relates the paintings and other works she shows in black and white to concurrent historical developments:...

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THE ART OF AMERICA IN THE GILDED AGE

As usual Glubok relates the paintings and other works she shows in black and white to concurrent historical developments: progress in rail and steam travel made it easier for artists like Whistler and Mary Cassatt to get to Paris, Thomas Moran's The Grand Canyon at Yellowstone helped convince the government to preserve the area as a national park, and Eastman's process enabled Thomas Eakins to photograph athletes in motion. At times though the line between art and background becomes blurred and the nature of an object's importance (aesthetic, historical, or as commentary on some other item) uncertain. Glubok shows us so many different kinds and levels of achievements that none stand out, and so many unrelated names are paraded by with little or no commentary that it is difficult to remember any. If as John Canaday maintains engineering works will be remembered as the significant art form of our time, then there is no reason why the Brooklyn Bridge should not be included here along with Sullivan's skyscrapers and industrial exhibits at the Philadelphia World's Fair, but when such monuments are scattered among the paintings of Tarbel and Remington, Ryder and Winslow Homer (he alone rates two examples) and many others -- and interspersed with commemorative statues, a quilt and an anonymous painting of a quilting bee, Tiffany glass and two views of the Vanderbilt mansion at Newport -- one wishes that the author had either limited her definition of art or her view of her series or better integrated the examples with her theme (if such it can be called) of the age's opulence and energy.

Pub Date: April 1, 1974

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1974