By Mark W. Roskill
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Extra info for What is art history?
The abbreviated form of signature which Gauguin used, inscribed at the bottom left. What had happened, as I was able to reconstruct it, was that in 1921 Loiseau had sold the painting to a Paris dealer. Fourteen years later, when Loiseau died, the same dealer bought some of his effects at the posthumous sale, including this drawing. He did not recognize what it was, since Gauguin's drawings were little studied and of no great value at that time, and, taking it to be a copy by Loiseau, he sent it as a gift to Spaulding (who now had the painting).
The art historian Page 15 should also be something of a critic, in order to provide fresh viewpoints concerning an artist, and new insights into his work, rather than simply describing and surveying his subject. Whether writing a monograph or doing any other kind of study, the art historian should, in principle, be informed about the political, social and intellectual aspects of the culture and period on which he is working, and in particular have knowledge of its other art forms, such as its poetry and music.
Thirdly, the problems selected do not lead into any great controversy. Either there is reasonable agreement now concerning their solutions, or else they are ones that can be set out with a maintenance of openness as to possible answers. I have chosen to use paintings throughout because, amongst works of art in general, these tend to have the most immediate appeal, and also because painting represents (in proportionate terms) the dominant area of art history. Together with a supplementary book-list of books on the artists discussed which are well illustrated and in English, and of the books and articles by contemporary art historians that I have drawn on for the making of each chapter, a list will be found at the end of valuable books in the field which are available in paperback.
What is art history? by Mark W. Roskill