Lund Humphries Landmarks – William Scott: Paintings


26 August 2014

Frances Spalding discusses the modern ‘cool’ of Lund Humphries’ 1964 monograph on William Scott, edited and introduced by Alan Bowness, with contributions from Michel Ragon and Werner Schmalenbach and reflects on the cementing of the artist’s style in the preceding decade.

This monograph followed the format laid down by the first Lund Humphries monograph in 1944, but its style belongs very definitely to the 1960s. The typeface chosen is throughout sans-serif, and the general layout is cool and spacious. There are 23 colour illustrations and 126 black-and-white, and, surprisingly, it is the latter that make this book a sumptuous treat and, today, a collector’s item. Norbert Lynton once claimed that William Scott was a master of tonal painting, adding ‘perhaps the best here since Whistler’. These superb black-and-white reproductions perfectly uphold this claim. They are especially effective in communicating the boldness and command of Scott’s abstracts painted between 1952 and 1954.

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