Nagel: The Art of Patrick Nagel by Patrick Nagel

Nagel: The Art of Patrick Nagel

Patrick Nagel
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This book gets 5 stars because it is currently the only book on the subject of Patrick Nagel's art. However, as a longtime Nagel junkie, I have some bones to pick with it. The purpose of this review is to give the reader a bit of its unwritten history, some guidance on its contents, and some suggestions for future editions. The last point will be discussed with the first two.\r\n\n\r\n\nFirst, a bit about its history. "The book" (as Nagelphiles know it) was printed in a rush by Nagel's publisher, Mirage. Nagel died in early 1984, and the prices being realized by galleries selling his prints skyrocketed. In reality, the book is a very glossy advertisement for Nagel's work in the first years after his death. It included those originals and prints that Mirage had for sale. It is incomplete, and does not show off of the breadth or quality of Nagel's work. Any academics studying this artist's work would hold their noses when examining the images. The images were hastily collected from works on hand, and do not provide an expository of this talented artist's short life.\r\n\n\r\n\nSecond, the book is wrong in subtle but important ways. The images were (and are) iconic and popular. In fact, many were cut out and displayed as small prints by fans and fly-by-night "art" businesses. However, the colors are too often muddy and do not reflect the actual colors of the original works. As to the tirage of the limited editions and posters reflected at the end of the book, these numbers are occassionally incorrect and often do not reflect printers proofs that were signed by Nagel. Further, as to the image of "Standing Lady" and "Wasserman Silkscreen", the pictures are reversed in the book (an understandable mistake if one looks at both images, but one which underscores how quick and rough this book was when it was published.)\r\n\n\r\n\nThe bottom line: If anyone is interested in Nagel, or wishes to collect his prints, this book is a must to own. However, a new book should be written with more in depth history and analysis of the work, along with more comprehensive and higher quality examples. Where possible, notes on edition sizes for prints should be corrected where they are not precise.\r\n\n\r\n\n\r\n\n\r\n\n