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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful catalogue raisonne, 6 May 2001
Eileen Galen (USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Edward Ardizzone's World - The Etchings and Lithographs (Hardcover)
In Dr. Christopher White's Foreword to this terrific book, he writes that his uncle, the beloved late British artist Ardizzone (b.1900) drew constantly as a child, but took a proper job as a shipping clerk after completing his education. Ardizzone soon came into a small inheritance and, "encouraged by his wife but to the horror of his father," devoted the rest of his life to the passionate and dedicated work of painting, drawing, illustration, and, to a lesser but no less successful degree, print-making.
Ardizzone's work was recognized and valued early on. In his Preface Paul Coldwell writes accurately that Ardizzone "displays that rare talent, along with Tenniel and E.H. Shepard, of representing a vision of what it is to be a child that is as intense as the reality experienced." In 1941 Ardizzone was named official War Artist; he sent home incredible drawings from North Africa, Normandy, and Germany. He was the first British soldier to set foot in Denmark. In all, he submitted over 500 drawings, including over 400 watercolors. Some were prints, and are included here. This beautiful 'catalogue raisonne' (salmon pink endpapers, and many color plates) was published in conjunction with a traveling retrospective exhibition (England only) of Ardizzone's prints. The hundred or so etchings and lithographs have as their subjects lovers, dancers, children, boats, life drawing class, street scenes, public schools, the beach, pubs, prostitutes, wartime, Gloucestershire, Suffolk, plus 'various commissioned posters' (all in great color), menus, and more The images reflect his overriding optimism and acceptance of human frailty and foibles. He loved to dance, he got along well with people, he loved the world - and it shows. His images are most often generous and emotionally expressive, often a little humorous or moody, and gentle - without being weak in the least. Ardizzone is a tender and careful tour guide. A "sharp observer of life at all social levels," he "preferred the fat to the thin," (White, in the Foreword), was considerate of his subjects, and never objectified the powerless.
It's a terrific book, with a Foreword, a Preface, and Introduction, and a comprehensive and informative narrative (by cinematographer and art historian Dr Nicholas Ardizzone, the artist's son). There are over a hundred good illustrations, some in color, as well as several photographs of the genial and lovable Ardizzone. In addition, the gritty details of the art and craft of printmaking are included - a nice plus.
Finally, there is a list of autobiographies (diaries, memoirs) written by Edward Ardizzone, and a bibliography that Dr Ardizzone compiled as part of the work of his doctoral thesis. You can take that list and read for months, if you choose to.
This is a beautiful book. It was compiled and assembled by a team of Ardizzone devotees - a labor of love as well as scholarship. Aside from being a guide to Edward Ardizzone's prints, it's a terrific value, because along with the images you get insightful and informative commentary, and a sense of the man - that money really can't buy.
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Edward Ardizzone's World - The Etchings and Lithographs
Edward Ardizzone's World - The Etchings and Lithographs by Nicholas Ardizzone (Hardcover - 6 Jan 2001)
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