One of the great things about working in a Library like this is the almost constant voyage of discovery it takes us on as new material arrives on the shelves!
An American artist new to me, Maynard Dixon was one of that remarkable crowd of illustrators at work in the early years of the 20th century (a golden age!) whose work would come to transcend its prosaic surroundings. He eventually spent many years in the American West, transforming its landscape and inhabitants into astonishingly luminous paintings.
This book has caught out more than one reviewer since its publication, appearing as it does to be a scholarly examination/exhumation of a little known but striking early 20th century gay artist; complete I might add with complex biographical details, correspondence, photographs, etc. The only problem is that the entire story is a fiction created by New York artist Mark Beard, who created Sargeant (and other identities) in order to playfully explore different genres and painting styles; and I suspect, cause a bit of havoc in the art community!
From shadow to light : the life and art of Mort Meskin by Steven Brower, with Peter and Philip Meskin
Yet another great discovery from Fantagraphic Books, this time the legacy of comic book artist Mort Meskin whose work covered a golden age of American comics from the 1940s through to the 60s. Counting among his many admirers iconic figures such as Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, Meskin’s style was intensely cinematic with more than a hint of film-noir in his shadow-laden panels.
When we think about the Middle East and its arts I suspect that many of us head straight to ancient Egypt (hard not to!) or at least recall the wonderful calligraphy and pattern making that defines so much Islamic art. Which is why this beautiful book by Saeb Eigner comes as such a surprise, demonstrating as it does the ways in which contemporary artists are redefining these traditions while creating new ones of their own.