Q: I love American art and artists, especially lesser known and regional ones. The paintings and sculptures I like the most usually date from about 1880 through 1940. Are there any magazines or newsletters that focus on American art from this time period?
A: The "American Art Review" and the "The Fine Arts Trader" are two periodicals that come to mind. The "American Art Review" is by far, the higher quality, more scholarly and informative of the two. "The Fine Arts Trader" is more for buying, selling, collecting and trading of primarily American art with emphasis on lesser known artists.
The "American Art Review" began publishing in the mid-1970's and lasted for about five or six years before it went out of business. This happened for several reasons. First of all, it's initial price tag of $3.75 per issue was far more than the $1.25-$1.50 average price for glossy art and antiques magazines at the time. Secondly, interest in period American art was nowhere near what it is today. The magazine went back into print about six years ago and today, a one year subscription costs about $3.50 per issue with the single issue price being $5.95.
The quality of the "American Art Review" is as good if not better than it ever was. The full color magazine is about equally divided between art dealer advertisements and reviews of American art exhibits at museums around the country. Readers get the best of both the commercial and scholarly worlds-- they keep up to date on who's being shown where and they find out where they can go to buy their favorite American art.
Even though the focus of the articles is on period American art, the advertisements are about equally divided between period and contemporary artists. The great majority of contemporary galleries and artists offer art done in representational or period styles. For those of you who collect art where everything looks like what it actually is in real life, the "American Art Review" has art for you.
"The Fine Arts Trader" is a modest black and white publication that usually has one article on a lesser known American artist with the remainder consisting of advertisements. It's primarily a trade publication with dealers and occasional collectors advertising to either buy, sell or trade particular artists, art services, or types of art. One of the more informative aspects of the magazine is that a number of dealers search for art and artists specific to certain parts of the country. This gives readers from other parts of the country opportunities to learn which artists are most collectible where-- a skill that comes in mighty handy when you know what you're looking at and the seller doesn't.
"American Art Review," P.O. Box 469116, Escondido, CA 92046-9116 or call 913-451-8801. 12 issues (2 years) for $39.95; 6 issues (1 year) for $23.50.
"The Fine Arts Trader," P.O. Box 1273, Randolph, MA, 02368 or call 800-332-5055. One year for $20.