Patterson, Cynthia Lee. Art for the Middle Classes: America’s Illustrated Magazines of the 1840s. Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 2010.
Patterson examines the five monthly magazines called the Philadelphia Pictorials that came out of that city in the 1840s. Geared towards middle-class readers, these magazines were all distinguished by their “embellishments” of engravings and illustrations used to entice readers. Although there were other means for art engravings to reach the public in the 1840s, these five magazines reached a wider audience than any other distributor of American art. The author argues that these periodicals were the primary mechanism for the circulation of original American art in the 1840s. Due to their popularity, the magazines could afford to provide a modest remuneration to American artists and writers while providing an exposure to the arts so desired by the middle class. Patterson’s study provides a scholarly focus on these important previously underappreciated media.
Few owners of a Major League Baseball team have been as colorful as Charlie Finley, the owner of the Oakland A’s team that won three straight World Series from 1972 to 1974. Beginning as an insurance businessman, Finley purchased the A’s franchise in 1960-1 while the team was still in Kansas City. Once in Oakland the emergence of players such as Reggie Jackson, Joe Rudi, Catfish Hunter, and Vida Blue turned the team into a powerhouse. Finley micromanaged the team, at times in essence serving as the team’s manager and assembling the team, while hiring and trading players. The authors provide a detailed look at the Finley’s life and career. They describe him as a “despot and a whiner and a bully and a liar” while at the same time a “strategic thinker, a big-idea man, and a visionary” and credit him many innovations to MLB.
Cleveland, David A. A History of American Tonalism: 1880-1920. New York: Hudson Hills, 2010.
Tonalism is a style of American painting that began in the Gilded Age and faded out around the second decade of the twentieth century around the end of the First World War. Influenced by the Barbizon movement, Tonalists were more concerned about capturing the mood and emotion of a landscape rather than mere replication of the scenery. Even though the movement dominated American art for four decades, most of the artists have faded from popular memory despite including among their ranks Thomas Wilmer Dewing, George Inness, John Twachtman, and James McNeill Whistler. Cleveland sets to rectify this by focusing on over sixty artists and placing them as the originators of American modernism. This history seeks to reveal the genius of American Tonalism in “all its splendor.”