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Just Above The Mantelpiece: Mass-Market Masterpieces Hardcover – 22 Nov 2002

4.6 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Booth-Clibborn Editions (22 Nov. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1861541945
  • ISBN-13: 978-1861541949
  • Product Dimensions: 24.1 x 1.9 x 31.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 823,720 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Synopsis

Celebragtes the mass-produced art that began to decorate thousands of homes from the late 1950s. Now highly collectable, this art has found new acclaim in the world of fashion, fine art and photography.


Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on 27 Nov. 2001
Format: Hardcover
The author grew up in Morcambe in where his grandmother was a great art collector. She did not buy from Sothebys or Christies but from the Freemans and Littlewoods catalogues and Argos. This is a collection of the mass market art prints that were often reviled by the critics but bought by the public in their millions. Hemmingway's collection is fascinating and will bring back memories for those who grew up in suburbia in the 1970s and 1980s. He includes an excellent section on Vladimir Tretchinkoff the first mass market artist in the 1960s. Themes include running horses and scary big-eyed children. Includes the famous "Wings of Love" by Stephen Pearson (a surreal depiction of a naked couple on a concrete beach being engulfed by a swan) which featured on many walls including the one in Mike Leigh's Abigail's party. The final chapter includes a section on the garish air-brushed prints from Athena which typified the 1980s.
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By Robin TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 28 Sept. 2007
Format: Hardcover
You'll be wide-eyed with amazement at the comprehensiveness of Wayne Hemingway's book. Page after page of real pop art. This stuff sold in the millions and some of it probably still is. Mainly seen from a British and Continental perspective, so no poker playing dogs by CM Coolidge, the book rightly kicks off in the fifties with the king of kitsch Vladimir Tretchikoff and his painted ladies and then meanders through crying boys, street urchins, doe-eyed pets and ends with what I thought was nice touch, the British poster company Athena in the late eighties.

Despite the fact that these paintings were very popular with the working class as far as I can see very few of the artists are particularly good. Being popular does not equate with professionalism for this market segment. None of them seem to have the draughtsmanship of, for example, Norman Rockwell or Charles Wysocki. These pop art reproductions probably sold in their millions because they displayed the right sort of sentimental image and were pre-framed and cheap, obviously the perfect buy.

The book is a pop art production itself I thought. Many of the pages use eighties wallpaper as a background for the text and paintings and someone had the bright idea of tipping in several of the paintings as removal prints (though I wonder how many book owners removed them?) so you'll be able to have your own gallery above the mantelpiece.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Its Ok..... It sadly wasnt as broad as i would have liked with page after page after page of doe eyed children. Thats fine but there are a lot of other styles and artists out there that should have been in this book. If you like Tretchikoff there are also far better editions including the original biopic done in the 60s that's just beautifull. I have a very large mid century libray so this will add something to it, but it wasnt what i hoped.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book when it first came out.... Gave it away during a house move... Realised that was a mistake and re bought it again for my collection. If you grew up in the fifties or sixties many of the illustrations will be very familiar bringing back memories of eating Smash and Heinz baked beans in front of a very basic telly, followed by some strawberry Angel Delight for afters! All the time, gazing down at you would most likely have been one of the massed produced plastic framed prints featured in this book from "Just Above the Mantlepiece." This book is a great reminder of how art for the masses became big business at that time - think of a stage set for Abigail's Party and you can just imagine the kind of pictures that are contained within. I won't be giving this copy away!
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