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Elegant and enigmatic, the silhouette is the simplest of art formsbut that simplicity belies a rich and varied past. In this first major work on the art of the silhouette, art historian Emma Rutherford draws from dozens of American and European sources to create a fascinating history of the craft. This intriguing and influential art form began as a fashionable distraction in the eighteenth centurya creative pastime for voguish amateurs and a precursor to the daguerreotypebecame a respected form of portraiture in the nineteenth century, and has seen a resurgence in contemporary art and graphic design in the work of such artists as Kara Walker, Tord Boontje, and Ryan McGinness. The original silhouette practitioners artfully captured their times, shedding light on the genteel drawing rooms of eighteenth-century society, the lives of slaves and free men in nineteenth-century America, and the dynamics and stereotypes of contemporary culture. The silhouette has transcended social and historical boundaries to leave an iconographic legacy of forgotten fashions, creative childhoods, and of daily lives that would otherwise be lost forever, making it an art form of enduring interest.
Rizzoli International Publications, Incorporated
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"Beautiful and overflowing with charming illustrations, Rutherford's book proves full of substance....Art enthusiasts will gain a greater understanding of a classic form. History lovers will discover an unexpected depth. And all readers will gain a greater appreciation for the men and women who practiced an old-fashioned art in surprisingly modern ways." ~ForeWord Magazine, The first illustrated history of the silhouette, from its origins as an eighteenth-century parlor hobby to its presence in contemporary art and design.