Seminar on the Literature of Art: Looking at Art through the Words of Great Writers – The Art Students League

Seminar on the Literature of Art: Looking at Art through the Words of Great Writers

Ephraim Rubenstein

Ephraim Rubenstein

Workshop Description

10 Thursdays, 4:45–6:30pm
September 14, 28; October 12, 26; November 9, 16, 30; December 14, 21; January 4
Fee: $320
Limited to 25 students
Please request reading list upon registration

Is there such a thing as an artistic personality? To what extent and in what ways can art be taught? Is there a relationship between art-making and mental illness? And why do so many artists allude to suffering? In his “Literature of Art” seminar, League instructor Ephraim Rubenstein addresses these and other questions by guiding students through prominent writings about the visual arts. Rubenstein is both a stunning realist painter and a provocative, award-winning teacher.

The seminar, which meets on twelve Thursdays in the late afternoon, brings together students and artists from different disciplines, approaches, and walks of life to read and talk about essential questions in the visual arts. The class will examine selected landmarks of theory, criticism, connoisseurship and the writings of artists themselves. Wherever possible, it is important to read the recommended edition. Selections change from edition to edition, as do translations, and having a consistent pagination makes discussions much easier. Students should read the Course Pack prior to the first meeting on September 14th.

Class Schedule and Book List

Sept. 14: Course Pack
Sept. 28:
Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to A Young Poet, M.D. Herter, Norton, translation, W W Norton, ISBN 0-393-00158
Oct. 12: Vincent Van Gogh, Letters, Mark Roskill, Editor, Athenaeum, ISBN 0-689-70167-5
Oct. 26: C.R. Leslie, Memoirs of the Life of John Constable, Phaidon
Nov. 9: E. H. Gombrich, Art and Illusion I, Mellon Lectures in the Fine Arts, 1956, Bollingen Series, Princeton
Nov. 16: E. H. Gombrich, Art and Illusion II, Mellon Lectures in the Fine Arts, 1956, Bollingen Series, Princeton
Nov. 30: Robert Henri, The Art Spirit, Icon Editions or J B Lippincott Co. Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 39-4273
Dec. 14: Peter Cary, Theft, Knopf, 2006, ISBN 0-307-26371-1
Dec. 21: Student Presentations
Jan. 4: Student Presentations

About the Instructor

Ephraim Rubenstein received his B.A. in art history from Columbia University and his M.F.A. in painting from Columbia University’s School of the Arts. Mr. Rubenstein has had eleven one-person exhibitions in New York at Tibor de Nagy Gallery, Tatistcheff & Co., and most recently at George Billis Gallery in Chelsea. He has also exhibited at the Butler Institute of American Art, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, and the National Academy of Design, where he won the Emil Carlsen and Beatrice Laufman Awards. His work is represented in numerous public and private collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Mr. Rubenstein is an active teacher as well. From 1987 to 1998, he was associate professor of art at the University of Richmond, where he received the Distinguished Educator Award and the Outstanding Faculty Award from the Commonwealth of Virginia. He has taught at the Rhode Island School of Design and the Maryland Institute College of Art, and he is currently on the faculty at Columbia University as well as at the Art Students League.

This lecture was filmed before a live audience in the League’s Phyllis Harriman Mason Gallery on February 23, 2017.

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