The New Painting of the 1860s

Between the Pre-Raphaelites and the Aesthetic Movement

Allen Staley

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This handsome volume is the first authoritative survey of one of the most intriguing periods of British art—the radically innovative decade of the 1860s. The book explores new developments in English painting of this period, focusing on the early work of Edward Burne-Jones, Frederic Leighton, Albert Moore, Edward Poynter, Simeon Solomon, and James McNeill Whistler, as well as on paintings by Frederick Sandys and the older G. F. Watts, and by Dante Gabriel Rossetti and his Pre-Raphaelite colleagues Holman Hunt and John Everett Millais. 

Allen Staley argues that engagement in the decorative arts, particularly by Burne-Jones, Moore, and Poynter at the outset of their careers, led to a transcending of traditional expectations of painting, making abstract formal qualities, or beauty for beauty's sake, the main goal. Rather than being about what it depicts, the painting itself becomes its own subject. The New Painting of the 1860s examines the interplay among the artists and the shared ambitions underlying their works, giving impetus to what would soon come to be known as the Aesthetic Movement.

Allen Staley is professor emeritus of art history, Columbia University.

“…..ambitious and beautifully illustrated.”—Christine Riding, Art Quarterly

“… engrossing book….a compilation of brilliant perceptions and ideas perhaps best read as a series of long essays beautifully illustrated.”—Brian Sewell, Evening Standard (Art Books Of The Year)

“[A] superb study of painting in England during the 1860s . . . Giving a chapter to each artist, Staley considers their personal background, private life, and personality—but only insofar as it helps to elucidate, picture by picture, the complex creative process whereby stylistic change takes place. It is a tour de force.”—Richard Dorment, New York Review of Books

“…. [A] magnificent book….ravishingly illustrated.”—Michael Hall, Country Life

“This is a deeply pondered academic study, but free of jargon and full of wit. It is a route map into the enigma of fine art in the aesthetic movement.”—Charlotte Gere, The Art Newspaper

“Sumptuously illustrated with a telling mix of both well-known and less familiar images, the book is planned on an appropriately lavish scale, which allows the author to devote substantial chapters to each of the principal protagonists, but also gives him sufficient space to unfold a more general narrative, to weaves together themes and to introduce specific details that will be new even to the specialist.”—Stephen Calloway, V & A Magazine

“Staley’s book is perfect for scholars who care about artists’ careers . . . surely the many delicious images and stunning details of brushwork and colour would delight anyone.”—Julie F. Codell, Journal of Pre-Raphaelite Studies

 Shortlisted for the 2013 Historians of British Art Book Prize in the Post-1800 category, given by the Historians of British Art.

Selected as a Choice Outstanding Academic Title for 2012 for Fine Arts within the Humanities category.
ISBN: 9780300175677
Publication Date: November 8, 2011
Publishing Partner: Published for the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art
400 pages, 9 1/2 x 11 1/4
200 color + 150 b/w illus.
The Pre-Raphaelite Landscape

Second Edition

Allen Staley

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