Coming soon > Art > Ralston Crawford: Torn Signs
Ralston Crawford: Torn Signs cover image
UK £40.00
US $60.00
Hardback with jacket
160 pages
135 illustrations
29 x 25 cm (11.5 x 9.75 in)
ISBN: 978-1-8589-4673-3
Ralston Crawford: Torn Signs

William C. Agee, John Crawford, Rick Kinsel and Emily Schuchardt Navratil

Early in his career, Ralston Crawford (1906–1978) earned acclaim for his Precisionist paintings of architectural subjects associated with a forward-looking, industrialized America. But Crawford was a multifaceted artist with a curiosity for the world beyond the United States, one whose work in various media continued to evolve, with his later, more abstract painting having a remarkable emotional dimension. This new book focuses on two series of works – ‘Torn Signs’ and ‘Semana Santa’ – that Crawford developed mostly over the course of the last 20 or so years of his life. Rick Kinsel considers how and why his travels to Europe, especially to Andalusia in Spain, were so inspiring to Crawford. Semana Santa, or Holy Week, is observed in Seville with public processions of penitential confraternities. Witnessing this event proved to be a moving experience for Crawford, and he revisited the subject of the penitents multiple times across a number of years. William C. Agee provides a biographical essay on Crawford’s peripatetic life, examining in particular the relation between the ‘Torn Signs’ and ‘Semana Santa’ bodies of work and the artist’s later decades, after the Second World War, when he was interested less in the life-affirming view of modernity associated with Precisionism, and more in giving expression to disillusion and decay. Crawford’s son John writes about the complex interrelationship of the two series, with emphasis on the way in which Crawford’s photography relates to his painting and printmaking. Individual works in both series are then explored in depth by Emily Schuchardt Navratil. Reproductions of the pages of sketchbooks from 1971 (the year he was diagnosed with leukaemia) illuminate Crawford’s approach to remembering colour through writing and his incredible visual memory; here, drawings of torn signs, Semana Santa and the streets of Seville are interspersed with the artist’s thoughts on colour, the connection between drawing and writing, and his own life and death.

 

Offers new perspectives on the American artist Ralston Crawford, focusing on two related series of works from his later life

With contributions from experts on American modernism and Crawford scholars, including his son John

Includes reproductions of pages from Crawford's sketchbooks, providing insight into his remarkable visual memory and his thoughts on drawing, writing and other subjects


 

Published in association with the Vilcek Foundation, New York

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Author Profiles

William C. Agee is the Evelyn Kranes Kossak Professor Emeritus of Art History at Hunter College, City University of New York. He was formerly Director of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the Pasadena Art Museum, and in 2011 he was a Fellow at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum Research Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Among his many publications are works on Synchromism, painting and sculpture of the 1930s, Ralston Crawford, Stuart Davis, Arthur Dove, Raymond Duchamp-Villon, Donald Judd and Morton Livingston Schamberg. His most recent book is Modern Art in America, 1908–68 (2016).

John Crawford is the son of Ralston Crawford. After studying sculpture at Rhode Island School of Design, he moved to Italy and was apprenticed for 10 years to Tuscan blacksmiths. Since returning to New York City, he has made sculpture using large- and small-scale industrial forging and machining techniques. His work has been exhibited at numerous venues in New York and other states. His research on his father’s art focuses primarily on photographs as a means through which to study Crawford’s paintings, drawings and lithographs.

Rick Kinsel is President of the Vilcek Foundation, where he oversees the curation, stewardship and exhibition of the foundation’s art collections. These collections include significant and comprehensive holdings in American modernism, Native American pottery, Pre-Columbian objects, and more. He previously served as the Cataloguer in charge of acquisitions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and as Director of Cultural Affairs at Coty, Inc. He has advised on collections and curated exhibitions for both private and public organizations, among them the Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Pen + Brush, and the Commission for Art Recovery of the World Jewish Congress. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the Ohio State University and a master’s degree in the history of decorative arts from Bard Graduate Center in New York. In addition to his work in the visual arts, he has produced films and plays, edited a cookbook, and judged design contests.

Emily Schuchardt Navratil is Curator at the Vilcek Foundation. She has worked with the Vilcek Collection since 2009, serving previously as Associate Curator, Assistant Curator and Curatorial Assistant. Dr Navratil earned a PhD in art history from the Graduate Center, City University of New York, and a master’s degree from Hunter College, CUNY. She has worked for several major institutions, notably the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Montclair Art Museum and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and has contributed to numerous catalogues and exhibitions, including Cézanne and American Modernism (2009), Picasso in The Metropolitan Museum of Art (2010) and American Vanguards: Graham, Davis, Gorky, De Kooning, and Their Circle, 1927–1942 (2012).

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