PRINT Summer 1976


Art History Textbooks: The Hidden Persuaders

Frederick Hartt, Art: A History Of Painting, Sculpture, Architecture (New York: Prentice-Hall/Harry N. Abrams), 2 vols., 995 pages.

The usual publisher’s fanfare has accompanied the recent arrival of Frederick Hartt’s two-volume Art: A History of Painting, Sculpture, Architecture, advertised as “the most complete introduction to the history of Western art yet published.” The publishers are Harry N. Abrams and Prentice-Hall, Inc., who collaborated successfully on H. W. Janson’s History of Art, which appeared in 1962 to capture the market from Helen Gardner’s Art Through the Ages. An updated edition of the Janson text appeared in 1969 with more reproductions of the modern period, synoptic tables of events, and maps as endpapers.1

Why this new history of art text? Does it offer something missing from Janson? New material? Or a new interpretation? Or does it satisfy a new market, or a new vogue?

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