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Image: Book cover of "Fragonard’s Fantasy Figures"

Fragonard’s Fantasy Figures
Yuriko Jackall, John Delaney, Michael Swicklik et al.

Jean-Honoré Fragonard’s Young Girl Reading, given to the National Gallery of Art by Ailsa Mellon Bruce in memory of her father, Andrew W. Mellon, remains one of the most widely beloved examples of the artist’s virtuosic style. In 2012 a newly discovered drawing by Fragonard further confirmed its rarity. The drawing was covered with a series of rapidly executed, thumbnail sized sketches, identifiable with a group of paintings by Fragonard known as his “fantasy figures” — quickly painted, vibrantly colored portraits of identical dimensions, each showing its model in extravagant fancy costume. All but four of the thumbnails can be matched to known paintings in private and public collections around the world.

At the National Gallery, the discovery of the drawing prompted a two-year collaborative study of Young Girl Reading by members of the curatorial, conservation, and scientific research departments. The team’s findings, published in the spring 2015 issue of Burlington Magazine, enabled them to establish Young Girl Reading as a fully fledged member of the fantasy figure series and also to shed light upon Fragonard’s approach to the ensemble as a whole.

The exhibition and catalog will bring together all of the known fantasy figures with the newly found drawing. The exhibition will mark the first time these paintings have been in the same setting in more than a generation. Situated at the intersection of social history, fashion history, and new scientific technologies, this unique project and its accompanying catalog will serve as an important compendium of information on Fragonard’s fantasy figures.

160 pages | 190 illustrations | 8 x 10.5 inches

Coming September 2017

Image: book cover of "Outliers and American Vanguard Art"

Outliers and American Vanguard Art
Lynne Cooke et al.

Outliers and American Vanguard Art explores the interweaving and shifting relations of schooled and unschooled artists in the United States over the past century. The world of avant-garde artists, art critics, and museum professionals, among others, has historically been both defined by and dependent on its margins. The self-taught artist, by definition at the periphery, is a cultural construct whose identity has been captured over the course of the 20th century under such rubrics as folk, naïve, vernacular, visionary, primitive, and outsider. Exemplars include artists from Henry Darger and Horace Pippin to Morton Bartlett, David Butler, James Castle, Sister Gertrude Morgan, Rosie Lee Tompkins, and Bill Traylor.

In the United States, exchanges between mainstream artists and autodidacts were at their most dynamic and consequential during three distinct periods, which structure the exhibition and catalog: c. 1924 – 1945, 1968 – 1982, and 1993 – 2018. This project contextualizes and probes the progression of primary models — from “center/periphery” to “parallel worlds” to “dissolution/fusion”—informing and shaping the relationship between insiders and outliers, through key exhibitions that brought this material to public debate.

Among the groundbreaking exhibitions, impacting not only the practices of accredited artists but the cultural arena at large, were shows at the Whitney Studio Club (1924), at the Museum of Modern Art in the 1930s and 1940s, and at the Corcoran Gallery of Art (1982) and Los Angeles County Museum of Art (1992). Although a timely subject, no in-depth exhibition with this mandate, combining about 350 works by about 85 artists, both formally trained and untrained, has been mounted to date.

416 pages | 480 illustrations | 10 x 12 inches

Coming January 2018

Image: Book cover of "Michel Sittow: Estonian Painter at the Courts of Renaissance Europe"

Michel Sittow: Estonian Painter at the Courts of Renaissance Europe
John Hand et al.

Undoubtedly the greatest Renaissance artist from Estonia, Michel Sittow (c. 1469–1525) was born in Reval (present-day Tallinn). After relocating to Bruges, where he likely studied with Hans Memling, Sittow went to Spain to work at the court of King Ferdinand of Aragon and Queen Isabella of Castile. He later worked at Danish and Netherlandish courts before returning to Reval during his final years. Sittow painted religious subjects, but was especially renowned as a portraitist.

Through some twenty works, Michel Sittow: Estonian Painter at the Courts of Renaissance Europe represents most of Sittow’s relatively small but artistically impressive output. The exhibition offers an opportunity to consider works attributed to Sittow and to examine his oeuvre in the broader context of his artistic milieu, including Sittow’s possible collaboration with Netherlandish painter Juan de Flandes. An international advisory committee, including John Hand, Greta Koppel, and others, will collaborate to write the fully illustrated catalog. A slimmer volume, published exclusively in Estonian, will focus on Sittow within the cultural framework of his homeland.

176 pages | 130 illustrations | 9.625 x 11.5 inches

Coming January 2018

Image: Book cover of "Sally Mann: A Thousand Crossings"

Sally Mann: A Thousand Crossings
Sarah Greenough et al.

For more than forty years, Sally Mann (b. 1951) has made experimental, elegiac, and hauntingly beautiful photographs that explore the overarching themes of existence, memory, desire, death, the bonds of family, and nature’s magisterial indifference to human endeavor. What unites this broad body of work—portraits, still lifes, landscapes, and other studies—is that it is all “bred of a place,” the American South. Fully immersed in the region’s literary and visual culture, Mann, a native of Lexington, Virginia, has long written about what it means to live in the South and to be identified as a Southerner. Using her deep love of her homeland and her knowledge of its historically fraught heritage, she asks searching questions about history, identity, race, and religion that reverberate across geographic and national boundaries.

This exhibition is the first major exhibition to examine how her relationship with her native land—as place and identity, with a rich literary and artistic tradition and a troubled history—has shaped Mann’s work. Organized into five sections (family, landscape, battlefields, legacy, and mortality) and including many works not previously exhibited or published, Sally Mann: A Thousand Crossings is at once a sweeping overview of this photographer’s artistic achievement of the past four decades and a focused exploration of how the legacy of the South, both homeland and graveyard, refuge and battleground, emerges within her work as a powerful and provocative force that continues to shape American identity and experience.

320 pages | 240 illustrations | 10.75 x 11.375 inches

Coming March 2018