Painting outside the Lines: Patterns of Creativity in Modern Art (英語) ハードカバー – 2002/1/18
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Why have some great modern artists--including Picasso--produced their most important work early in their careers while others--like Cezanne--have done theirs late in life? In a work that brings new insights, and new dimensions, to the history of modern art, David Galenson examines the careers of more than 100 modern painters to disclose a fascinating relationship between age and artistic creativity.
Galenson's analysis of the careers of figures such as Monet, Seurat, Matisse, Pollock, and Jasper Johns reveals two very different methods by which artists have made innovations, each associated with a very different pattern of discovery over the life cycle. Experimental innovators, like Cezanne, work by trial and error, and arrive at their most important contributions gradually. In contrast, Picasso and other conceptual innovators make sudden breakthroughs by formulating new ideas. Consequently, experimental innovators usually make their discoveries late in their lives, whereas conceptual innovators typically peak at an early age.
A novel contribution to the history of modern art, both in method and in substance, Painting outside the Lines offers an enlightening glimpse into the relationship between the working methods and the life cycles of modern artists. The book's explicit use of simple but powerful quantitative techniques allows for systematic generalization about large numbers of artists--and illuminates significant but little understood features of the history of modern art. Pointing to a new and richer understanding of that history, from Impressionism to Abstract Expressionism and beyond, Galenson's work also has broad implications for future attempts to understand the nature of human creativity in general.
In Painting outside the Lines, David Galenson offers the simple but fascinating thesis that statistical analysis reveals patterns in the careers of modern artists. The book's most startling argument describes two kinds of artistic behavior enacted by modern artists since the impressionists: the conceptualists, whose work matures early, and the experimentalists, whose work comes to fruition late. What Galenson has to say about innovation and the pressure it exerts on the behavior of artists in the modern world has often been observed. This, however, is the first time that it has been quantitatively studied, putting common sense knowledge on an altogether different foundation. Galenson has written a book whose methods and results ought to be debated and worked through by the largest public possible, extending far beyond either economics or art history. By leading to a host of other questions and other insights, Painting outside the Lines accomplishes what the very best scholarship ought to do. It is not an end, a summing up, but the beginning of what I hope will be a whole new way of thinking about the discipline of art history. (Robert Jensen, author of Marketing Modernism in Fin de Siècle Europe)
Painting outside the Lines represents the effort of a quantitative economic historian to contribute to our understanding of the evolution of modern visual art. This research will get attention--indeed, it already has--for establishing the fact that the most esteemed work of artists, reflected in the prices their works command at auction, has been coming at earlier and earlier ages. Deeper and more important than that astonishing fact is what the study uncovers about the process of artistic innovation. Two technologies vie for the achievement of innovation: the experimental and the conceptual. Both are viable, and the one that dominates in a particular school or movement depends on the circumstances at hand. This quantitative study is well and thoroughly executed. (Richard Caves, author of Creative Industries: Contracts between Art and Commerce)
I would suggest a suitable companion to this book is "Beautiful Evidence", by Edward Tufte, which discusses these issues in the section titled "Corrupt techniques in evidence presentation" at Beautiful Evidence https://www.amazon.com/dp/0961392177/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_zd9TAb8H1THNY
"this book has exposed a deep fault line in the history of modern art, by revealing the dramatic and systematic differences between experimental and conceptual approaches to artistic innovation that have separated seekers and finders over the course of time."
Indeed, "Painting Outside the Lines" has done just that. Challenging the common assumption that all artists naturally produce more valuable paintings as they mature, Galenson has discovered that although some artists do conform to this expectation, others actually produce their most valuable paintings when they are younger. Experimental innovators,
such as Cezanne and Motherwell, constantly revise their work,
rarely feeling as if their work is ever fully completed, and
have their greatest success when they are older. No doubt they would agree with Nietzsche's observation: "But it takes more courage to make an end than a new verse. All doctors and poets [and artists] know that." Conceptual artists, including
Picasso and Stella, on the other hand, make many drafts before they begin their paintings, and consider their paintings
finished once their initial conception of them is complete. LeWitt, a conceptual painter, even went so far as to have his work executed by others.
Galenson quantifies the value of artists' paintings by
their appearances in art exhibits and by their inclusions
in art books. This pragmatic approach is an innovative
contrast to the ways in which art historians evaluate art. Moreover, Galenson's insight into the two radically different methods of artistic innovation could be applied to myriad
other creative disciplines, including poetry and music.
Galenson, himself an experimental economist, has ended his book on a dramatic note. I will be eager to see how he develops his own work further, now that his original theory is in place.