The Paintings and Drawings of John Dos Passos: A Collection and Study

BookThe Paintings and Drawings of John Dos Passos: A Collection and Study

The Paintings and Drawings of John Dos Passos: A Collection and Study

Clemson University Press


October 24th, 2016

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In addition to being a major twentieth-century author, John Dos Passos painted, principally in watercolor, throughout his career.  This book reproduces 68 examples of Dos Passos’s art, almost all in full color, presented in two parts containing 13 sections.  In Part One, each section is devoted to a similar kind of art work produced within a specific time frame; in Part Two, each section consists of work in a specific genre. The book also includes essays devoted to the history and nature of Dos Passos’ work as a pictorial artist and to the relationship of this work to his novels.  It concludes with a survey of Dos Passos art collections, exhibitions, and previous published illustrations and paintings.  The book as a whole seeks to demonstrate that Dos Passos’s lifelong commitment to and practice of pictorial representation are vital aspects of his career because they confirm and manifest in both verbal and visual stylistics such modernist tendencies as Fauvism, Cubism, and Expressionism.  Both the essays and illustrations in this book argue for the importance of Dos Passos's paintings as keys to fully understanding the writer’s complex body of work and, in their striking compositions and vibrant colors, as challenging objects of visual pleasure in their own right.


‘A comprehensive record and interpretation of Dos Passos’ artwork… of interest both to art historians and literary critics.’
Elizabeth A. Petrino, American Literary Realism

Author Information

Donald Pizer, Pierce Butler Professor of English Emeritus, Tulane University. After faculty positions at University of North Carolina affiliates and Georgetown University School of Foreign Service-Qatar, Lisa Nanney co-edited and co-authored the 2017 study of John Dos Passos’s visual works, The Paintings and Drawings of John Dos Passos: A Collection and Study (Clemson University Press). Her current book, John Dos Passos and Cinema (2019), further explores the intersection of his narrative methods and the visual arts by investigating his writing directly for the cinema, his translation of modernist fictional techniques to the screen, and the ways these forays into film writing were shaped by his re-evaluation of the Left at a pivotal point in his career. Nanney is also the author of John Dos Passos Revisited (Macmillan Press, 1998), a critical biography. Richard Layman, President, Bruccoli Clark Layman; Managing Director, Layman Poupard Publishing, LLP.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
Paintings and Drawings Included in this Volume: A Descriptive List37
Preface to Section 1: Early Work (1918–20)43
Preface to Section 2: The Middle East and Morocco 1921–22, 192645
Preface to Section 3: Paris 1921–2547
Preface to Section 4: New York 1920–2449
Preface to Section 5: New York: Nudes 1920–2351
Preface to Section 6: Theater Designs 1925–2853
Preface to Section 7: Mexico 1926–3254
Preface to Section 8: Later Work 1930–7055
Preface to Section 9: Portraits56
Preface to Section 10: Sea Fronts and Harbors57
Preface to Section 11: Still Lifes59
Preface to Section 12: Studies in Motion61
Preface to Section 13: Abstractions and Other Experimental Modes61
Words and Images: The Visual Art of John Dos Passos65
The Artwork of John Dos Passos93
Works Cited111