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July 21, 2011

New Book Provides First Comprehensive Study of Materials and Techniques Used by Early American Painters


Melissa Crowley
Getty Publications
(310) 440-6795

LOS ANGELES—American Painters on Technique: The Colonial Period to 1860 (Getty Publications, $50.00, hardcover) is the first comprehensive study of an important but largely unknown part of the history of American art: the materials and techniques used by American painters. Based on extensive research including artists’ recipe books, letters, journals, and painting manuals, much previously unpublished, the authors have also drawn on their many years as conservators of paintings for museums and collectors.

Information is provided on the methods of painters such as Benjamin West, Gilbert Stuart, Washington Allston, Thomas Sully, Thomas Cole, and William Sidney Mount. Topics include the quest for the “secrets” of the Old Masters; how artists saw their paintings changing over time; the application of “toning” layers; and the evolving self-confidence of American experimenters and innovators.

American Painters on Technique will be of interest to curators, art historians, painters, and conservators and will form the basis for future research on American painting techniques. At a time of discovering new approaches to art history, the story of how paintings were made parallels the better-known histories about how styles changed and how paintings were commissioned, exhibited, and sold.

About the Authors: Lance Mayer and Gay Myers work at the Lyman Allyn Art Museum in New London, Connecticut, and as independent conservators.

Publication Information:

American Painters on Technique
The Colonial Period to 1860
Lance Mayer and Gay Myers
J. Paul Getty Museum
260 pages, 6 x 9 inches, hardcover
19 color illustrationsISBN 978-1-60606-077-3, $50.00 [UK £35.00]

Publication Date:  October 11, 2011


Kindly send two tearsheets of your review when published to Melissa Crowley, Getty Publications, 1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 500, Los Angeles, CA  90049-1682.

Available at bookstores or through Getty Publications (800-223-3431). Distributed to the trade in the U.S. and Canada by the University of Chicago Press and in the U.K. and Europe by Orca Book Services.

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