Friday, August 10, 2007

Pg. 99: Brian Foss's "War Paint"

Today's feature at the Page 99 Test: Brian Foss's War Paint: Art, War, State and Identity in Britain, 1939-1945.

About the book, from the publisher:
In this groundbreaking examination of British war art during the Second World War, Brian Foss delves deeply into what art meant to Britain and its people at a time when the nation’s very survival was under threat. Foss probes the impact of war art on the relations between art, state patronage, and public interest in art, and he considers how this period of duress affected the trajectory of British Modernism. Supported by some two hundred illustrations and extensive archival research, the book offers the richest, most nuanced view of mid-century art and artists in Britain yet written.

The author focuses closely on Sir Kenneth Clark’s influential War Artists’ Advisory Committee and explores topics ranging from censorship to artists’ finances, from the depiction of women as war workers to the contributions of war art to evolving notions of national identity and Britishness. Lively and insightful, the book adds new dimensions to the study of British art and cultural history.
Read more about War Paint at the Yale University Press website.

Brian Foss is Professor, Art History Department, Concordia University, Montreal. He holds an M.A. in Canadian Art History from Concordia University and a Ph.D. from the University of London (1991), where he was a Commonwealth Scholar. The recipient of the 2003 Distinguished Teaching Award in the Faculty of Fine Arts, he specializes in nineteenth- and twentieth-century Canadian art, twentieth-century British art, war and art, and issues of nationhood and identity in visual culture. He is also the author of numerous catalogues and essays, and has curated exhibitions on the art of Mary Hiester Reid (1854-1921) and Robert Harris (1849-1919), as well as on images of the modern city (1998), work by emerging artists (1993), art collecting by the Université de Montréal (1993), military views from Lower Canada (1992), and the visual representation of rural Quebec over two centuries (1991). He has co-curated a retrospective exhibition of the work of Edwin Holgate (1892-1977) for the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (2005). He is currently is co-editing a history of twentieth-century Canadian art, and is conducting a three-year research project on the ideological underpinnings of Canadian and American nineteenth-century landscape painting. He is also the associate editor of the Journal of Canadian Art History, and an editor of RACAR: Revue d’art canadien / Canadian Art Review.

The Page 99 Test: War Paint.

--Marshal Zeringue