A History of American Tonalism, 1880-1920: Crucible of American Modernism (Hardcover)

A History of American Tonalism, 1880-1920: Crucible of American Modernism By David A. Cleveland Cover Image
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A groundbreaking survey of the school of expressive, symbolic landscape painting that gave rise to American modernism—newly revised and updated

This magnificent volume, featuring more than 750 illustrations, is the first definitive account of the Tonalist movement. Based on original research, it tells how the progressive Tonalist landscape dethroned the Hudson River School in the late 1870s and remained the dominant school in American art until World War I. More provocatively, it also argues that Tonalism gave rise to American modernism, laying the groundwork for the artists of the Stieglitz Circle, and subsequently Milton Avery, Mark Rothko, Adolph Gottlieb, Barnett Newman, Helen Frankenthaler, Wolf Kahn, and Richard Mayhew.

A History of American Tonalism places the key figures of the movement—such as George Inness, James McNeill Whistler, and John Henry Twachtman—in their cultural context, which was influenced by such thinkers as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, John Burroughs, and William James. It also examines the careers of more than sixty other Tonalist painters, lesser known but highly talented.

This new edition of A History of American Tonalism includes more than one hundred new illustrations, as well as a new overview of the stylistic principles of Tonalism. It will continue to be essential for art lovers, artists, scholars, and anyone seeking a better understanding not only of the Tonalist movement but American art as a whole.

About the Author

David Adams Cleveland, an art historian, curator, and lecturer, has written for The Magazine Antiques and ARTnews. He is also the author of three novels, Time’s BetrayalLove’s Attraction, and With a Gem-Like Flame. Cleveland and his wife live in New York, where he works as an art advisor with his son, Carter Cleveland, founder of Artsy.net, the web site for discovering, buying, and selling art.

Praise For…

The first scholarly survey of the Tonalists. This volume, a landmark of scholarship, has uncovered some treasures and is likely to change our understanding of the development of American art.

— The Art Newspaper, No. 222

Cleveland, whose writing is both elegant and accessible, gives the Tonalist discussion a shot of energy. . . This wonderfully written book will delight general audiences and scholars alike.  Summing Up: Highly recommended.


Silver Medal Winner in Art History: Book of the Year Awards, 2010

— ForeWord Reviews

Winner: Outstanding Academic Title 2011

— American Library Association
Product Details
ISBN: 9780789214119
ISBN-10: 0789214113
Publisher: Abbeville Press
Publication Date: October 5th, 2021
Pages: 704
Language: English