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Composition: A Series of Exercises in Art…
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Composition: A Series of Exercises in Art Structure for the Use of… (1899)

by Arthur Wesley Dow

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A workbook dated 1912, first published 1899, the author was a Georgia O'Keeffe mentor. Because it was written in the language of a century ago and it is a workbook, it required considerable concentration. I tried to compare and contrast the current day photographic thought with this. The author considers color in one of the characteristics of composition; however, the book is all black and white. Gotta say I learned something about composition. ( )
  buffalogr | Sep 12, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Dow, Arthur WesleyAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Masheck, JosephIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0520207491, Paperback)

First published in 1899, Arthur Wesley Dow's Composition has probably influenced more Americans than any other text to think of visual form and composition in relation to artistic modernity. While Dow is known as the mentor of Georgia O'Keeffe and Max Weber, his legacy as a proponent of modern art has suffered undeserved neglect by recent artists and art historians.
In Composition Dow develops a system for teaching students to create freely constructed images on the basis of harmonic relations between lines, colors, and dark and light patterns. Greatly influenced by Japanese art, he expounds a theory of "flat" formal equilibrium as an essential component of telling pictorial creation. Generations of teachers and their public school pupils learned from Dow's orientalism and adopted basic postimpressionist principles without even knowing the term. The reappearance of Dow's practical, well-illustrated guide, enhanced by Joseph Masheck's discussion of its historical ramifications, is an important event for all concerned with the visual arts and the intellectual antecedents of American modernism.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:46 -0400)

At the turn of the twentieth century, Arthur Wesley Dow literally "wrote the book" on composition-and this is it! Dow's Composition exercised an enormous influence on emerging modern artists of a century ago. A thought-provoking examination of the nature of visual representation, it remains ever-relevant to all the visual arts. A well-known painter and printmaker, Dow taught for many years at Columbia University and acted as a mentor to countless young artists, including Georgia O'Keeffe. His text, presented in a workbook format, offers teachers and students a systematic approach to composition. It explores the creation of freely constructed images based on harmonic relations between lines, colors, and dark and light patterns. The author draws upon the traditions of Japanese art to discuss a theory of "flat" formal equilibrium as an essential component of pictorial creation. Practical and well-illustrated, this classic guide offers valuable insights into modern design.… (more)

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