Modern Artists on Art

Modern Artists on Art: Second Enlarged Edition (Dover Fine Art, History of Art) paperback -1999
by Robert L. Herbert (Editor)

My resident book hunter-gatherer brought this beauty home and I've been tucking in with a great appetite with just one essay left to consume. I didn't think I would manage them all at first but found myself returning every night to read essays by a diverse selection of 20th century artistic innovators such as Kurt Schwitters, Max Ernst, El Lissitzky, and Fernand Leger. Also, Le Corbusier and Ozenfant on Purism, Klee on Modern Art, Albert Gleizes and Jean Metzinger's presentation of Cubist theory, Mondrian on plastic art and Beckmann's unique description of his art. I've got one more to go which is Henry Moore. I've put him off until last.

I hadn't really thought about it before but most of the stuff we get to read about art theory and artists is written by other people who are not themselves artists. To get the thoughts and ideas from the 'horses mouth' makes really interesting and enlightening reading, or at least it has for me. Each essay has a strong identity, as you would expect, and they're crammed with insights as to what the artist was trying to achieve and how they might go about it. There is a broad spectrum of artistic opinion and theory with some being easier to tackle than others. It makes for powerful reading as it's full of excellent ideas wherever you choose to open the page.

This is an inspiring and empowering read which I've really enjoyed and would recommend it to anyone interested in art and the process of making it. I will also be re-reading some of my favourite parts as there's plenty more juice to be squeezed from it. 

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