AMERICAN FOLK PORTRAITS: PAINTINGS AND DRAWINGS FROM THE ABBY ALDRICH ROCKEFELLER FOLK ART CENTER. (The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Center Series General Editor; 1)by Beatrix T. Rumford;THE CONSOLIDATED CATALOG TO THE INDEX OF AMERICAN DESIGNby Sandra Shaffer Tinkham

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  • AMERICAN FOLK PORTRAITS: PAINTINGS AND DRAWINGS FROM THE ABBY ALDRICHROCKEFELLER FOLK ART CENTER. (The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Center SeriesGeneral Editor; 1) by Beatrix T. Rumford; THE CONSOLIDATED CATALOG TO THE INDEX OFAMERICAN DESIGN by Sandra Shaffer TinkhamReview by: Neville ThompsonArt Documentation: Journal of the Art Libraries Society of North America, Vol. 1, No. 2(May 1982), pp. 85-86Published by: The University of Chicago Press on behalf of the Art Libraries Society of NorthAmericaStable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/27946923 .Accessed: 14/06/2014 19:14

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  • Art Documentation, May, 1982 85

    The scope of this undertaking is broad: it incorporates approxi mately 25,000 citations documenting the careers of 3,900 artists, and includes anonymous artists who are dealt with in a separate appendix. "Artists" are defined for inclusion here as those individuals who

    draw, paint, sculpt, and make prints, but with a number of provisos and exclusions. Craftsmen are said to be included, although it is

    apparent that no clear definition of "craftsman" was used. Generally, pottery, weaving, spinning and needlework (especially quilting) are

    included in the book's scope, with heavy emphasis in those areas on

    slave artisans and on a selection of contemporary craftsmen, leaving a

    noticeable void in coverage for the intervening years. Photographers and architects are selectively covered, which seems to mean that

    specific individuals known to the editors have been included, but that no comprehensive effort has been made for broad coverage in these areas. These discrepencies are greatly minimized by the welcome, even endearing effort made by the compilers to spell out the book's

    inclusions, exclusions and irregularities. " Afro-American-ness

    " has been defined for the purposes of this

    book as: "having African ancestry, but having been born in the United

    States, or, to have functioned as an artist in this country." This last

    proviso makes for a pretty murky situation indeed. Appreciable num bers of African nationals who have been active in this country (such as

    Mohammed Omer Bushara, who has had one-man shows in this coun

    try and has been reviewed and discussed in American art journals) have not been included. Yet others, like Frank Bowling who clearly exhibits in the American mainstream but was born in Guyana, have been included. I greatly admire and endorse the completeness and seriousness of the forematter in its earnest explanation of the scope and limitations of the work. I only wish there had not been so many

    exceptions. The book is arranged in three major sections: Basic Bibliography,

    Subject Bibliography, and Artist Bibliography. "Basic Bibliography" is a bit of a misnomer. "General" would be more apt, for it is, in

    essence, the bibliography of the book. All works cited elsewhere

    appear here as well, unless the source relates to only one individual, in which case the citation appears only in the artist's entry. The citations in this section are as comprehensive as one could want, and the annotations are generally lively and complete, although not all titles are annotated. These citations are not duplicated in full elsewhere in the book. Titles of journal articles are listed chronologically under the name of the journal, which is helpful, although there is no indication whether these are the only relevant titles found after comprehensive searching, or whether they were discovered through serendipity. Most titles cited are English language publications, but publications in Italian, French, Spanish, Dutch, Latin, German, Polish and Danish are also given.

    The Subject Bibliography is perhaps the most valuable part of this book. For the first time one can get comprehensive citations to all of the listings for private collection holdings, foreign magazine articles and books, as well as manuscripts and ephemera on a variety of

    subjects ranging from ironwork, grave decoration, art galleries and

    museums, sculpture, racial discrimination in art, to mammoth exposi tions, Blacks in art, cabinetmaking, pottery, artists in Harlem, illustra tion and illustrated books, and so on. This Subject Bibliography opens up a vast unexplored dimension of Afro-American art.

    The bulk of this book (860 pages) is devoted to annotated bibliog raphies on individual artists. These are arranged alphabetically, and

    provide little beyond bibliographic information, except for birth and death dates, and the artist's general field of endeavor. The editors have been assiduous in providing cross-references to variant forms of the artists' names. In form, this section seems in many cases to be redundant. It repeats in entry after entry citations from the Basic

    Bibliography, without the use of symbols or abbreviations. In many cases, little new information has been added to citations for the artists from earlier publications. Given the cost of the book, certain conces sions to brevity might have been appropriate; for clarity however, these citations cannot be surpassed. Citations on individuals are

    alphabetical by names of authors of monographs and by journal titles. Articles within larger publications are listed chronologically under title of larger work. The typographic design further facili tates the book's ease of use. This orderly presentation can be espe cially crucial when dealing with well-documented artists such as

    Horace Pippin whose 439 bibliographic entries and list of 102 art works span 15 pages.

    Perhaps the most welcome addition to this section as far as re

    searchers are concerned is a comprehensive list of each artist's

    artwork which has been illustrated and/or documented in published sources, the citations for each of these sources, and whether the work

    appears in color or black-and-white. Access to this information

    alone makes this book an indispensible tool for the research library, as does the Subject Bibliography by itself. For any library with patrons engaging in research on Afro-American art, this book is an

    essential addition to the collection, and it will undoubtedly become the authoritative bibliography in the field.

    Theresa Cederholm Boston Public Library

    AMERICAN DESIGN AMERICAN FOLK PORTRAITS : PAINTINGS AND DRAW INGS FROM THE ABBY ALDRICH ROCKEFELLER FOLK

    ART CENTER.?Boston : New York Graphic Society in association

    with the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, 1981.?304 p. : ill.

    (some col.).?(The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Center Series / Beatrix T. Rumford, General Editor ; 1).?ISBN 08212-1100 -5 ; LC 81-4990:) $39.95.

    THE CONSOLIDATED CATALOG TO THE INDEX OF AMERICAN DESIGN / Edited by Sandra Shaffer Tinkham.? Cambridge : Chadwyck-Healey ; Teaneck : Somerset House,

    1980.?unpaged.?ISBN 0-914146-95-5 ; LC 7022293 : $80.00. (312 color fiche of the Index itself, $45.00)

    Amid the current flood of publications about folk art, none has

    been more eagerly awaited than the projected series of catalogs from

    the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Collection in Williamsburg, Virginia. Works from that rich assemblage of art and artifacts will be

    familiar to anyone who has been following the folk art scene in recent

    years, and many of these appear in the recently issued volume, Ameri

    can Folk Portraits: Paintings and Drawings from the Abby Aldrich

    Rockefeller Folk Art Collection, the first of the collection's catalogs to appear.

    This is such a sumptuous volume, so lavishly illustrated and hand

    somely produced, that the reader may fail to realize at first that it is a

    model catalog as well, scrupulously edited, carefully annotated, meticulous and scholarly. Two hundred and ninety-eight paintings and drawings are covered in the text. For each, we are given biograph ical information on the printer, when known; medium; inscription if

    present; provenance; publication record; and even the name, date, and procedure followed by the conservator if the work has been re

    stored. Arrangement is alphabetical by known artist, followed by a large section by the master Anonymous, who figures largely in

    this collection. The text pulls together the research of many years. It tgreats the works primarily as art objects, rather than as sociological

    evidence?coming down squarely on one side of a current division of opinion in folk art studies.

    Due to the nature of the collection, and the care with which the

    catalog has been written and produced, this volume will take its place as a major, necessary reference work for libraries dealing with Ameri can art. Ironically, since its appearance will almost certainly help to

    promote intensified research on many of the works and painters dis

    cussed, it may well result in new attributions and r??valuations which

    will "date" the information in the catalog. It is to be hoped that some

    day all such information may be pulled together in a revised version,

    but, in the meantime, we are fortunate to have been provided with a

    collection catalog that can be appreciated on many levels.

    The Index of American Design, a part of the Federal Art Project of

    the 1930s, produced a finely recorded visual survey in watercolor of

    American decorative and useful arts dating from the seventeenth

    through the end of the nineteenth centuries. Volumes of selections

    from the original watercolor renderings have long been familiar to

    users of art libraries; Chadwyck-Healy now brings us the entire collec tion on microfiche (the original renderings are housed at the National

    Gallery of Art). This micropublication is accompanied by a catalog index which is a substantial and useful volume in its own right.

    In a brief forword the catalog's editor, Sandra Shaffer Tinkham,

    explains the arrangement of the fiche edition of the Index by subject matter (this arrangement is a change from that previously used with

    the earlier compilations). The catalog proper consists of a listing

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  • 86 Art Documentation, May, 1982

    of each object in the order in which it appears on fiche?under such broad subject areas as, for example, "Textiles, costume, and

    jewelry," "Domestic utensils," or "Art and design of Utopian and

    religious communities." This is a sensible and useful arrangement, although it is easy to think of objects which might logically fall into any one of several categories. In these cases, cross-references with

    explanations are supplied at the beginning of each section. These

    major subject divisions are in turn subdivided into smaller ones, as

    clearly outlined at the beginning of each division. In turn, within these more closely defined categories, the objects themselves are listed in fiche order and location number, accompanied by brief but generally adequate information on the object itself. This includes (when known) maker, date, place of origin, materials used, and the names of owner at time of recording, Tenderer, and the Index of American Design accession number. The volume has four indexes?to Tenderers (really a list?their contributions are not listed individually), to owners (by state), to craftsmen, designers, and manufacturers (in this case, indi vidual fiche references are given), and by subject, providing further breakdown of the broad subject arrangement of the catalog.

    The microfiche publication of the Index has great value for libraries with strengths and interest in American arts, and should be acquired if at all possible. Other libraries with access to the fiche collection in another location, and with sufficient interest in American arts and the

    history of collecting them, may wish to invest in the Catalog as a reference tool in itself. It is an ideal access point for the collection it represents.

    Neville Thompson Winterthur Museum

    INDIA: LARGE & SMALL, CHEAP & DEAR FROM THE COURTS OF INDIA / by Ellison Banks Findly.

    ?Worcester: Worcester Art Museum, 1981-78 p.: ill. (part. col.). ?ISBN 0-936042-30-3; LC 80-51682: $11.95.

    THE HOUGHTON SHAHNAMEH / Introduced and described by Martin Bernard Dickson and Stuart Cary Welch.?Cambridge: Har vard University Press for the Fogg Art Museum, 1981.?2 v.: ill., facsims. (some col.), ?no ISBN; no LC: $2000.00.

    THE IMPERIAL IMAGE: PAINTINGS FOR THE MUGHAL COURT / Milo Cleveland Beach.?Washington: Freer Gallery of Art, 1981.?238 p.: ill. (some col.).?ISBN 0-934686-37-8 (cloth); 38-6 (paper); LC 81-8762: $40.00 (cloth); $22.50 (paper).

    INDIAN MINIATURES IN THE INDIA OFFICE LIBRARY / Toby Falk; Mildred Archer.?London: Sotheby Parke Bern?t; Delhi; Karachi: Oxford University Press, 1981.?559 p.: ill. (few col.).? ISBN 0-85667-100-2; no LC: $145.00.

    SPLENDOUR OF INDIAN MINIATURES / Francis Brunei ?New York: Vilo, 1981. ?160 p.: chiefly col. ill.?ISBN 0-86710

    005-2; LC 81-66424: $29.95.

    THE ARTS OF INDIA / Edited by Basil Gray.?Oxford: Phaidon; Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1981.224 p.: ill. (some col.).? ISBN 0-7148-2150-0 (Phaidon); 0-8014-1425-3 (Cornell); LC 81 66537; ?25.00; $55.00.

    Publishing runs in curious spates; here are half a dozen books

    published within half a year on the same topic, Indian art; five of the six deal specifically with Indian painting. Three are catalogs of

    museum collections, two are synthetic studies, and one is a full-scale treatment of a single manuscript. All of these publications are by name-brand authors. It seems logical to proceed from the general to the specific.

    Basil Gray, who spent a quarter of a century as Keeper of Oriental

    Antiquities at the British Museum, has brought together the broadest book under review. A collection of essays by specialists, The Arts of India covers all media and all periods from pre-history to the present in just over 200 pages. Buddhist, Hindu, and Jain art fill the first 95 pages, arts of the Islamic period the next 100 pages, and the final 40

    pages treat modern folk art and paintings since 1935. Although written

    by authors of the first rank (e.g., Aschwin de Lippe, Pramod

    Chandra), the texts are straightforward and directed at the general reader. This is a substantial advance, at some price differential, over Craven's Concise History of Indian Art in the World of Art series, and it is recommended as an introductory volume, although it suffers from lack of unity in approach.

    Focused on the specific subject of painting is Francis Brunei's

    Splendour of Indian Miniatures. It is a less than satisfactory book, consisting of 121 color illustrations of indifferent quality selected from Indian museums and art galleries. Although most of the images are

    reproduced here for the first time, many are more typical than distin

    guished. Commentary on the plates, which appears in the front of the book in English and in the back of the book in the original French, is limited in most cases to description, without interpretation. Brunei's book is a waste of money: it offers neither satisfactory reproductions nor substantial text.

    The three museum collection catalogs from London, Washington and Worcester are much more valuable and much better produced.

    From the Courts of India is a complete catalog of the miniatures in the Worcester Art Museum, and it serves as a marvelously succinct intro duction to the field for the beginner. While the collection is small in number (22 items), it is representative of all the various schools in the

    period 1525-1800. In a four-page introduction, Findly manages to lay out the complicated artistic history of Indian miniatures as a product of the Mughals, a Moslem dynasty which conquered Hindu India in the 16th and early 17th centuries.

    As a court art of great sophistication, produced at least initially for the emperor himself and his court, miniature painting was an art of great richness and vibrant color. It is also an art of realism?

    portraiture, historical events, flora and fauna of the vast empire. All these themes are represented in the Worcester catalog, where each item is given a generous illustration (most are in color). The entries

    explain with great clarity the often unfamiliar Moslem or Hindu sub

    ject matter and provide a tantalizing taste of one of the world's most

    complex cultural traditions. This economical little catalog transcends the dull, dry format of a museum collection catalog and gives its readers a solid understanding of Indian painting. Parenthetically, it is the latest in an active and exemplary publication program by the

    Worcester Museum, one of this country's great small collections. One of the largest collections of Indian miniatures in the West is

    that formed almost by chance by the East Indian Company, the private stock corporation which conquered the Mughals and ruled India for

    England until the mid-nineteenth century. Today the India House Li

    brary holds over 1,700 Indian miniatures, which Falk and Archer have cataloged in full-dress scholarly fashion. Falk is the Indian ex

    pert at Sotheby's; Mildred Archer is known for her life-long scholarly study with her husband W. G. Archer on the India House collections. Here are over 560 catalog entries, arranged by geography and chro

    nology. Each section is preceded by a thoughtful historical summary of the period and its art. Although the collection is somewhat skewed in its contents by the rather haphazard method of its growth (much of the early material was acquired by Company employees on their own initiative in their local places of posting), all styles and per iods are represented in some depth. The general introduction to the volume gives an overview of the history of collecting Indian art, which has suffered numerous changes of favor with Western collectors.

    The sixteen color plates are extraordinarily beautiful; one wishes for more, but the hundreds of black-and-white plates are of very high quality. This book-catalog, while aimed at the specialist, also suc ceeds in offering the richness of its subject to the general reader.

    An even choicer collection of Indian paintings than Worcester's is the group of manuscripts and miniatures in the Smithsonian's Freer

    Gallery. Milo Beach, a leading scholar of Indian painting and Profes sor at Williams College, presents a thorough catalog of the collection, which is particularly strong in works of the great period under the emperors Akbar, Jahangir, and Jehan (from 1560 to 1640). In his introduction, Beach gives a fuller view of Mughal history than the other catalogs under review and, more importantly, of the varied

    personalities of the emperors who shaped the creation of the imperial art of manuscript painting. He discusses the high place of books in Islamic culture as vehicles of knowledge and as indicators of power and status?Akbar left a library of 24,000 volumes at his death?and Beach is at his best in sorting out the complex ateliers and individual artists who produced some of the most stunning paintings ever done.

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    Article Contentsp. 85p. 86

    Issue Table of ContentsArt Documentation: Journal of the Art Libraries Society of North America, Vol. 1, No. 2 (May 1982), pp. 42-88Front MatterARLIS/NATHE FIRST TEN YEARS AND BEYOND [pp. 42-42]ARLIS/NA RATES A "X" IN BOSTON: Proceedings of the ARLIS/NA Tenth Annual Conference [pp. 43-62]ARLIS/NA NEWS SECTIONFROM THE CHAIR [pp. 63-63]FROM THE EXECUTIVE SECRETARY [pp. 63-63]ARCHITECTURE SIG COLUMN [pp. 64-64]CISSIG News [pp. 64-64]SERIALS SIG COLUMN [pp. 64-65]PERIODICAL UPDATE [pp. 65-66]CORRECTION: ART LIBRARIES AND VISUAL RESOURCE COLLECTIONS IN MEXICO [pp. 66-66]VR/SIG COLUMN [pp. 66-67]ACADEMIC TOL COLUMN: UNIVERSITY OF CINCINNATI DESIGN, ARCHITECTURE AND ART LIBRARY COLLECTION EVALUATION PROJECT [pp. 67-69]PUBLIC TOL COLUMN: ARTIST DIRECTORIES AND CATALOGS: STATE, PROVINCE, AREA, AND LOCAL [pp. 69-70]NEWS FROM THE CHAPTERS [pp. 70-72]NEWS OF MEMBERS &FRIENDS [pp. 72-72]

    ON PRESERVATION [pp. 72-74]PROFESSIONAL LITERATURE [pp. 74-75]NEW DOCS IN SUDOCSARTISTICALLY SPEAKING [pp. 75-77]REFERENCE AIDS EXCHANGE [pp. 77-78]ART BIBLIOGRAPHY [pp. 78-78]NEWS &NOTES [pp. 78-80]THE REVIEW SECTIONReview: untitled [pp. 81-81]Review: untitled [pp. 81-81]Review: untitled [pp. 81-82]Review: untitled [pp. 82-82]Review: untitled [pp. 82-82]Review: untitled [pp. 82-82]Review: untitled [pp. 83-83]Review: untitled [pp. 83-83]Review: untitled [pp. 83-84]Review: untitled [pp. 84-84]Review: untitled [pp. 84-85]Review: untitled [pp. 85-86]Review: untitled [pp. 86-87]BRIEFER NOTICESReview: untitled [pp. 87-87]Review: untitled [pp. 87-88]

    PUBLICATIONS RECEIVED [pp. 88-88]Back Matter

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