Discovering Child Art
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Discovering Child Art : Essays on Childhood, Primitivism and Modernism

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This book brings together thirteen distinguished critics and scholars to explore children's art and its profound but rarely documented influence on the evolution of modern art. It shows that children's art and childhood have inspired major works of art, served as central metaphors for artistic spontaneity and honesty, and provided a window into the fundamental human qualities explored by modern artists. The volume complements editor Jonathan Fineberg's groundbreaking new book, The Innocent Eye (Princeton, 1997), in which he showed how many of the greatest masters of modern art collected and were directly influenced by children's drawings. Contributors here both expand on Fineberg's themes and take the study of children's art in new directions. They examine, for example, the influence of child art on such artists as Kandinsky, Klee, Larionov, and Miro; the diverse styles of children's art; the influence of Romantic ideas on perceptions of children's art; the conception of giftedness versus education in children's drawings; and the relationship between children's art and primitivism. The book offers unique glimpses into the working processes of great modern artists, presenting, for example, Dora Vallier's personal recollections of Miro and his creative process, and new documentation about the works of the Russian avant-garde. The essays draw on art theory, psychology, and the close study of individual works of art and written texts. Discovering Child Art will appeal to a wide range of readers, including art historians, psychologists, and art educators. Contributors to the book are Troels Andersen, Rudolf Arnheim, John Carlin, Marcel Franciscono, Ernst Gombrich, Christopher Green, Josef Helfenstein, Werner Hofmann, Yuri Molok, G. G. Pospelov, Richard Shiff, Dora Vallier, and Barbara Wurwag.

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  • Paperback | 296 pages
  • 187.96 x 251.46 x 15.24mm | 725.74g
  • 23 Jan 2001
  • Princeton University Press
  • New Jersey
  • English
  • Revised ed.
  • 0691086826
  • 9780691086828
  • 1,703,363

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Author Information

Jonathan Fineberg is Professor of Art History and University Scholar at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. He has won the Pultzer Fellowship in Critical Writing and the Art Critic's Fellowship of the National Endowment for the Arts. He has curated major exhibitions in the United States and Europe. His recent books include The Innocent Eye (Princeton) and Art since 1940: Strotegies of Being.

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Review quote

"The breadth of the contributions, the eminence of the authors, and the new perspectives brought to light help clarify dramatically the seminal role children's art played in paintings, drawing, and aesthetic theories of many of this century's most innovative artists." - Steven Monsbach, Pratt Institute "The premise that many of the great masters of twentieth-century art collected children's drawings in depth, and that these drawings directly influenced some of their most celebrated works, is extended and explored [in Discovering Child Art] by a diverse group of museum directors and curators, art historians, psychologists, philosophers, and critics.... This book is recommended for both art history and art education university resource sheives." - Kent Anderson, School Arts"

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Back cover copy

"The breadth of contributions, the eminence of the authors, and the new perspectives brought to light help clarify dramatically the seminal role children's art played in paintings, drawings, and aesthetic theories of many of this century's most innovative artists."--Steven Mansbach, Pratt Institute "The premise that many of the great masters of twentieth-century art collected children's drawings in depth, and that these drawings directly influenced some of their most celebrated works, is extended and explored [in Discovering Child Art] by a diverse group of museum directors and curators, art historians, psychologists, philosophers, and critics. . . . This book is recommended for both art history and art education university resource shelves."--Kent Anderson, School Arts

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