Hiroshige: One Hundred Famous Views of EDO

Hiroshige: One Hundred Views of Edo (Taschen, $150), edited by Melanie Trede and Lorenz Bichler, is presented with a satin covered “book case” and Japanese-bound with nylon twine. Working in the tradition of ukiyo-e, or “pictures of the floating world,” developed by Japanese artists of the 17th century, Hiroshige (1797-1858), perhaps the most famous of ukiyo-e  woodblock printers, produced these vibrant scenes of his home city, Edo (later Tokyo), late in life. This great artist’s final masterpiece is reproduced here from a complete original set of woodprints belonging to the Ota Memorial Museum of Art in Tokyo. Each full-color, large-format picture is accompanied with commentary that details the artist’s techniques of execution and composition, along with the historical importance of the print itself.

Loot: The Battle Over the Stolen Treasures of the Ancient World - Sharon Waxman

We don’t have to tell Politics and Prose customers that politics touches everything, but I previously knew little about the culture wars raging between museums and various nations. Now we have several books on this issue. Loot (Times Books, $30), by Sharon Waxman, is an entertaining account of tensions between the old imperial nations and the countries that were once “looted” for their treasures. Meet Zahi Hawass, the flamboyant secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities in Egypt, who’s at war with the Louvre to recover treasures Napoleon carried home with him more than two centuries ago. It’s a new headache for Western museum directors, like Alain Pasquier, chief conservator of Greco-Roman antiquities at the Louvre. But it’s not just Europe under pressure; Turkey is trying to repatriate tombs and precious objects sold to the Met relatively recently.

Loot: The Battle over the Stolen Treasures of the Ancient World Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780805090888
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
(This book cannot be returned.)
Published: Times Books - September 1st, 2009

Old Masters, New World: America's Raid on Europe's Great Pictures - Cynthia Saltzman

Is there a difference between grabbing “the loot” as part of an imperial expedition and buying it in great quantities as the Americans did? The subtitle of Cynthia Saltzman’s Old Masters, New World (Viking, $27.95) is America’s Raid on Europe’s Great Pictures. Saltzman describes how the nouveau riche Americans (and they were very rich, many from extractive industries in the U.S.) sought out paintings in England, France, and Italy to add to their collections. “The legacy of America’s Gilded Age buying binge stretches across the country…but the beauty of the museum galleries reveals little of the rough and tumble involved in the …pursuit of pictures.” Henry Clay Frick, of course, Mrs. Gardner of Boston, the Havemeyers, whose collection adorns the Metropolitan, and J. Pierpont Morgan, with even more money, were bidding up the prices of the old masters and carting them off to the New World. This sparkling book is a must for all American museum-lovers.

Old Masters, New World: America's Raid on Europe's Great Pictures Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780143115311
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Penguin Books - July 28th, 2009

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