JOHN SINGLETON COPLEY by James Thomas Flexner


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A thoughtful and comprehensive study of the life and work of one of America's early great artists by the author of American Painting, America's Old Masters. From a Boston waterfront slum, Copley started painting in his early teens, married into society, arbitrated between the Whigs and the Tories to prevent the revolution, and finally went to Europe in his middle thirties to study European art and settle in London. But whereas he had been first among the painters in America, he did not occupy the same place in England, and homesickness, unhappiness and dislocation began to prey on his mind in his later years, led to his tragic decline. The crude realism of Copley's American portraits gave them greater power than most of the English portraiture of that era with its veneer of sophistication, and his approach to narrative painting placed him a generation ahead of the then popular neo-classicists. This story of a brilliant career and its gradual disintegration, with the thirty odd illustrations of his work, will find its place among art students and lovers.

ISBN: 0823215237
Publisher: Houghton, Mifflin