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Book Title: Surrealism|
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The author of the book: Cathrin Klingsöhr-Leroy
Date of issue: July 1st 2004
ISBN 13: 9783822822159
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 16.98 MB
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This is a short guide from the now almost ubiquitous German art publishing house Taschen and it bears close comparison with the Phaidon book on the same subject available at around the same low price - http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/47...
The two works are almost perfectly complementary, especially as the overlap of illustrations is extremely small, perhaps indicating works that were at hand in the Anglo-Saxon world (Phaidon) and Continental Europe (Taschen) respectively.
Even the introductions are complementary. Phaidon's is a narrative that speaks of themes and contrasts in precisely the way that the English like, whereas the thoroughly Germanic introduction by Cathrin Klingsohr-Leroy in the Taschen volume is much more informative on the details and history of the thoroughly clubbable Surrealist circle even if it lacks the level of explanatory interpretation of the other.
The treatment of the master works is equally different but complementary but with one extremely irritating editorial error on the part of Taschen. For some thoroughly potty reason, Taschen has decided to place its pictures in alphabetical order of artist and then chronologically within each artistic portfolio. This leads to the absurdity of a 1934 work by the otherwise early figure of Arp preceding both, say, Klee, his junior, but also virtually every other work of note belonging to the school. What is it about the sort of mind that insists on alphabetizing knowledge in this way - the world is not alphabetized, it unfolds in time and space and such methods are only useful in large encyclopedia and general reference books where you think that you know where to start from the beginning!
This error of judgement (Phaidon sensibly puts the works in their chronological order) confuses all the more because the Taschen descriptions of the paintings explore context more fruitfully than Phaidon's, yet leaving the reader to scrabble around placing the art works in some sensible order in order to understand precisely what is going on.
Nevertheless, if you can make the effort to do this, the commentary is excellent. Phaidon only scores by having the same number of (different) paintings and art works on a larger format and with (in my opinion) a better, less glossy paper stock that gives more of an illusion that you are seeing the art rather than merely an illustration of it.
For an improved intellectual understanding of surrealism, choose Taschen (and make yourself work a little). For a better feeling for the art and a more leisurely approach, choose Phaidon. But with both at such low cost, you may as well get both and read them in tandem.
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