To Make a World

George Ault and 1940s America

Alexander Nemerov

View Inside Price: $55.00

May 17, 2011
152 pages, 10 1/2 x 11 1/4
24 b/w + 63 color illus.
ISBN: 9780300172393

Published in association with the Smithsonian Museum of American Art

An American painter usually associated with the Precisionist movement, George Copeland Ault (1891-1948) created works that provide a unique window onto the uncertainty and despair of the Second World War. Despite early commercial success in the 1920s, Ault eventually withdrew from both artistic and political worlds in 1937 and set up his studio in a tiny house in Woodstock, New York, where he produced evocative scenes of barns, telephone wires, and streetlights that utilize precise alignments and geometries to impose a symbolic order on a world in crisis.

To Make a World is the first publication on Ault in more than two decades, and it features nearly twenty of Ault's paintings alongside those of his contemporaries, including Edward Hopper, Rockwell Kent, and Andrew Wyeth. Author Alexander Nemerov explains that despite Ault's remote location and reclusive lifestyle, his paintings represent his fear for the precarious state of the world and reflect an emotional response shared by many artists and the nation at large.

Alexander Nemerov is chair of the art history department at Yale University.


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