Painting Outside the Lines: Patterns of Creativity in Modern Art by David W. GalensonPainting Outside the Lines: Patterns of Creativity in Modern Art by David W. Galenson

Painting Outside the Lines: Patterns of Creativity in Modern Art

byDavid W. Galenson

Hardcover | January 18, 2002

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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.

David W. Galenson is Profesor of Economics at the University of Chicago.
Title:Painting Outside the Lines: Patterns of Creativity in Modern ArtFormat:HardcoverDimensions:272 pages, 9.25 × 6.14 × 0.04 inPublished:January 18, 2002Publisher:HarvardLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0674006127

ISBN - 13:9780674006126

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Table of Contents


1 The Problem

2 Artists, Ages, and Prices

3 Market Values and Critical Evaluation

4 Importance in Modern Art

5 Experimental and Conceptual Innovators

6 Paris from Manet to Miró

7 New York from Mann to Minimalism

8 Intergenerational Conflict in Modern Art

9 The Changing Careers of Modern Artists


A The Critical Evaluation of the Careers of French Artists

B The Critical Evaluation of the Careers of American Artists

C Ages of American Artists at the Time of Their First One-Person New York Gallery Exhibitions





Editorial Reviews

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.