November 23, 2010
7.00 Inches (US)
8.00 Inches (US)
.95 Pounds (US)
$29.95 USD, £21.95 GBP
v2.1 Reference

Modern Gestures

Abraham Walkowitz Draws Isadora Duncan Dancing

Watercolors by a modernist master capture the beginnings of modern dance

This small and beautifully illustrated book showcases the work of two great American modernists, painter Abraham Walkowitz and dancer Isadora Duncan. Born in the same year (1878), both artists influenced the development of modern art in the early twentieth century by blending figurative gesture with abstraction. Duncan grew up in a free-spirited and artistic household in California and then moved to Europe. Walkowitz immigrated to the United States from Russia when he was a child and lived most of his life in New York City, where he studied at Cooper Union School and the National Academy of Design.

Walkowitz and Duncan met in 1906 in Paris at the studio of the sculptor Auguste Rodin. Deeply impressed by Duncan's musicality and expressivity, Walkowitz drew thousands of images of Duncan dancing throughout his life. Because Walkowitz's renderings of Duncan were produced quickly, they carry an element of improvisational vitality that matches the dynamic energy of her presence onstage. In her introductory essay, author Ann Cooper Albright weaves literary theory, art criticism, and dance history into a fluid narrative to explore how Walkowitz's drawings realize Duncan's dancing on paper. Modern Gestures reproduces over fifty watercolors of this unique oeuvre, many of which have never before been published. A perfect gift, this sumptuous little volume will provide hours of enjoyment to anyone interested in dance or modern art.

About the Author

ANN COOPER ALBRIGHT teaches at Oberlin College. She is the author of Traces of Light (2007) and Choreographing Difference (1997), and is the chair of the editorial board of the Society of Dance History Scholars.


"This beautiful book showcases two great American modernists."—Dance Gazette

"Walkowitz's undulating line compounds the rhythm through improvisational images that slip like nymphs across the page unfettered. (H)e drew thousands of images of her ritualistically throughout his life, as though his hand was an extension of her body, his gesture her movement through time. The synergy that Albright creates between Stein's literary cadence and the musical sensation of Walkowitz's visual forms conveys the motion of the dance in a manner immediate and sensate."—Giovanna L. Constantini, Leonardo Review

"The ideas integral to this book are how a visionary dancer, Isadora Duncan, and a visual artist, Abraham Walkowitz, and a writer/feminist, Gertrude Stein, intersected in time and place and how that convergence can enhance your experience. (I)t is a nice tribute to all."—Maine Antique Digest

"From pillar to post, this book is a feast. Additionally, in its presentation of human capital as the ritual food among artists, this book extends an open invitation to explore dialogs and exchanges of creativity and life force."—Bernadine Jennings, Attitude: The Dancers' Magazine

"This beautiful book showcases two great American modernists."—Dance Gazette

"a pleasure to read and to gaze at. The book is a wonderful crossover between dance and art, which an enthusiast of either would be happy to own."—Karen Barr, Dance International


"Ann Cooper Albright has made a clear contribution to the scholarship on both Abraham Walkowitz and Isadora Duncan. As Walkowitz's dealer for decades, I found great new insight into the connection between the drawings and the dance."—Virginia Zabriskie

"Brilliant. Beautiful. Important. Ann Cooper Albright's new book is a feast for the senses and intellect. In text and image, the book showcases Isadora Duncan's influence and interconnection to the great modernists, including Gertrude Stein, Rodin, Kadinsky, and of course, Walkowitz. This book will stimulate your artistic sensibilities.""—Lori Belilove, director of the Isadora Duncan Dance Foundation
Wesleyan University Press

9780819570772 : modern-gestures-albright
100 Pages
$29.95 USD

Other Titles by Ann Cooper Albright

Engaging Bodies

Ann Cooper Albright
Dec 2013 - Wesleyan University Press
$29.95 USD - Paperback / softback
$23.99 USD - Electronic book text

Choreographing Difference

Ann Cooper Albright
Jun 2010 - Wesleyan University Press
$22.95 USD - Paperback / softback
$17.99 USD - Electronic book text

Traces of Light

Ann Cooper Albright
Sep 2007 - Wesleyan University Press
$75.00 USD - Hardback
$27.95 USD - Paperback / softback

Other Titles in PERFORMING ARTS / Dance / General

Hiking the Horizontal

Liz Lerman
Aug 2021 - Wesleyan University Press
$35.00 USD - Hardback
$19.99 USD - Electronic book text
$25.95 USD - Paperback / softback

The Cultural Work

Corinna Campbell
Jun 2020 - Wesleyan University Press
$85.00 USD - Hardback
$26.95 USD - Paperback / softback
$21.99 USD - Electronic book text

Moving Bodies, Navigating Conflict

Ahalya Satkunaratnam
Apr 2020 - Wesleyan University Press
$75.00 USD - Hardback
$22.95 USD - Paperback / softback
$17.99 USD - Electronic book text