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Book details
  • Genre:ART
  • SubGenre:Individual Artists / General
  • Language:English
  • Pages:52
  • Paperback ISBN:9781532370557

The Art of Lauren Ford

by Donald M. Reynolds, PhD

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The Art of Lauren Ford is the catalogue of a 1982–1983 Commemorative Exhibition, reprinted courtesy of the Rye Historical Society in 2018 on the forty-fifth anniversary of Lauren Ford's death (1891–1973).


Although it's too early to assess the influence Lauren Ford (1891–1973) had on the art of her time, it is possible to identify some of the parameters of her art that define its place in the twentieth century and that explain its continuing appeal today. Life Magazine in 1944 was correct in recognizing that Lauren Ford, a convert to Catholicism, had no equal in the United States as a painter of religious subjects. Like Edward Hicks, the nineteenth century Quaker painter famous for his many renderings of The Peaceable Kingdom, Lauren Ford's art sprang from an inner life, and she was inspired by his pictures. But unlike Hicks, Lauren Ford's designs were the result of academic and avant-garde training, contemporary influence, and medieval art. Lauren Ford grew up with the modern movements in France, apprenticing to her uncle Lauren, her namesake, when she was nine years old. She also shared a vision of the American countryside with the leading regionalists of the 1930s: Thomas Hart Benton, Grant Wood, and John Steuart Curry. Lauren Ford's unique way of humanizing her religious themes within a regional context give her pictures the compelling spirit that continues to attract people of all ages. Lauren Ford's niece, Jane Dore Nestler, analyzing that attraction, wrote, "We are drawn to her works . . . by the appeal of the innocence and the beauty of simple creatures." It was Lauren Ford's love and respect for all created things that was the underlying principle and source of her art.

About the author

Donald Martin Reynolds is an art historian, consultant, and the author of numerous books, articles, and reviews on American art and architecture, which include: Hiram Powers and His Ideal Sculpture ("The Unveiled Soul"), 1977, Masters of American Sculpture, from the American Renaissance to the Millennium, 1994, "Remove Not the Ancient Landmark": Public Monuments and Moral Values, ed., 1996, Monuments and Masterpieces: Histories and Views of Public Sculpture in New York City, 1988, rev. ed. 1997; The Architecture of New York City, 1984, rev. ed. 1994, "For Our Freedom and Yours," The Art and Life of Andrew Pitynski, Portrait of an American Master, 2015. His Cambridge University Press introductions to 19th Century Art and Architecture (1988, 1992) have been published in several languages. He taught at Columbia University in New York City from 1970 to 2003, where he earned his doctorate in art history. Dr. Reynolds established The Symposium on Public Monuments (1991–2015), as an annual tribute to the renowned art historian Rudolf Wittkower, whose lectures on the interrelationship between East and West, from ancient to modern times, he compiled and edited in The Impact of Non-European Civilizations on the Art of the West, 1989, the year he compiled and edited The Writings of Rudolf Wittkower, a Bibliography. He was consultant to the Kemper Foundation for The Corps of Discovery, the monument to Lewis and Clark in Kansas City, Missouri, unveiled in 2000. As consultant to the National Black Catholic Congress, he designed and supervised the execution of the sculpture program, a sacra conversazione (holy conversation), for Our Mother of Africa Chapel, the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington, D. C., 2001. Dr. Reynolds founded The Monuments Conservancy in 1991, and established The Perennial Wisdom Press, Ltd. imprint in 1999. He is the recipient of ArtWatch International's Frank Mason Prize in 2012, for "…his dedication to art and the preservation of our cultural patrimony," and in 2016, the Polish American Veterans Association's Paderewski Medal for his book on Andrew Pitynski. In 2018, he was elected a Member Emeritus of the National Sculpture Society "…for his many publications and programs on sculptors, monuments, and architecture, as well as his long participation with the Society as an Allied Professional Member." He lives with his wife, Nancy Zlobik Reynolds, in New York City.