In this masterful intellectual and cultural biography of Denman Ross (1853-1935), the American design theorist, educator, art collector, and painter who taught at Harvard for over 25 years, Marie Frank has produced a significant artistic resurrection. An important regional figure in Boston's fine arts scene (he remains one of the largest single donors to the collections of the MFA to this day), Ross was a friend and colleague of Arthur Wesley Dow, Bernard Berenson, Jay Hambidge, and others. He gained national and international renown with his design theory, which ushered in a shift from John Ruskin's romantic naturalism to the formalist aesthetic that characterizes modern art and architecture. Ross's theory attracted artists, Arts and Crafts artisans, and architects, and helped shape architectural education, scholarship, and museum practices. This biography of an important intellectual figure is also a fascinating and illuminating guide to a pivotal point in American cultural history and a reminder of the days when Boston was America's salon.
Publisher: University Press of New England
Number of pages: 344
Weight: 550 g
Dimensions: 235 x 156 x 28 mm
This fascinating cultural biography reveals the influence of Denman Ross and the Boston art scene from the Gilded Age to early modernism. More than simply resurrecting the reputation of a largely neglected figure, Frank explains how Ross helped move American design theory from European models based in romanticism to the pragmatic formalism that defined 20th-century art, architecture, and design. . . . This marvelous book employs superb scholarship to fittingly document Ross's intellectual contribution. . . . Highly recommended. Choice"
"Thoroughly researched, comprehensive, and engagingly written, Denman Ross and American Design Theory reveals the life, times, and "pure design" theory of early twentieth-century artist Denman Waldo Ross. . . . Frank's book is a model of lucid organization and careful scholarship . . . a fine critical analysis of a man and a theory." --The New England Quarterly