Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Art & Culture: Ary Stillman: from Impressionism to Abstract Expressionism

If you spend any time at all studying his work, you wonder at how completely absent his name is from the lists of important artists of his era. Certainly in his own time, Russian/American artist Ary Stillman was considered influential. These days, if his name comes up at all -- which it seldom does -- he is most often compared to Jackson Pollock, something I’ve never understood. Compare him to Mark Rothko. Compare him -- if comparisons must be made -- to Picasso, who worked in a similar era and whose work over time shows similar seismic upheavals of change, but Pollock? No, not that.

Whatever your impressions of Ary Stillman (1891-1967) a new book from Merrell offers an appropriate overview of the life and work of this remarkable artist. Merrell’s books are always well thought out and beautifully executed and Ary Stillman: from Impressionism to Abstract Expressionism is no exception. Essays by seven important experts on Stillman’s work offer a written view that, accompanied as they are by reproductions of the artist’s work, offer a full color glimpse into the life of an artist whose work you probably don’t know enough about.

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