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Metropolitan Lives: The Ashcan Artists and Their New York
by Rebecca Zurier, Robert W. Snyder, Virginia M. Mecklenburg
Publisher: Smithsonian Institute 1995
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Between 1897 and 1917, six painters, none native to the city they so provocatively and energetically portrayed, challenged the standards for suitable artistic subject matter when they took to the streets of New York and seized on images full of motion and life. Their "prophet" was Walt Whitman, and their achievements create a vibrant record of urban growth and artistic evolution. George Bellows, William Glackens, Robert Henri, George Luks, Everett Shinn, and John Sloan were friends and collaborators, each developing their own distinct style, each capturing different slices of New York life. There are scenes of poverty and wealth, work and play, sensuality and despair. Zurier and her coauthors, Robert Snyder and Virginia Mecklenburg, bring expertise in art, social, and cultural history to this lively volume. They profile each artist and analyze his works, establishing a visual context with photographs and graphic arts of the time. Most of the paintings, which are beautifully reproduced, are rarely seen in books, and some, especially Shinn's exceptional pastels and watercolors, are a revelation.

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