AUC Press wins Art History prize at 2019 PROSE Awards

AUC Press proudly announces that Orientalist Lives: Western Artists in the Middle East, 1830–1920 by James Parry (AUC Press, 2018) won the Art History and Criticism / Humanities category of the prestigious 2019 PROSE Awards, the Annual American Publishers Awards for Professional and Scholarly Excellence.

Selected from among 165 finalists, the winners were revealed on 30 January 2019 by the Association of American Publishers. In this year’s competition, the panel of 18 judges reviewed more than 500 entries in 49 subject categories.

“We’re very proud that the AUC Press has won the PROSE Award for Art History and Criticism for Orientalist Lives against stiff opposition and some fabulous books,” said Dr. Nigel Fletcher-Jones, AUC Press director. “It provides further proof, if further proof was needed, that AUC Press’s editorial, production, marketing, distribution, and sales staff, are the equal of any others involved in global publishing today,” he added.

Sponsored by the Professional Scholarly Publishing division of the Association of American Publishers, the PROSE Awards annually recognize excellence in books, journals, and electronic content in over forty categories. Publishers and authors are acknowledged for their commitment to pioneering works of research and for contributing to the conception, production, and design of landmark works in their fields.

In Orientalist Lives James Parry describes what inspired many Western artists to set off “on what were, in many cases, the most important journeys they would ever undertake.” Indeed, the nineteenth century saw scores heading to the Middle East, marking one of the most remarkable artistic pilgrimages in history. Inspired by the allure of the exotic Orient, they went in search of subjects for their paintings. There they lived, worked, and traveled for weeks or months on end, gathering material with which to create art for their clients back in the drawing-rooms of Boston, London, and Paris.

Beautifully illustrated, with over a hundred color images, the book looks at what led this surprisingly diverse and idiosyncratic group of men—and some women—to often remote and potentially dangerous locations, from Morocco to Egypt, the Levant, and Turkey. Drawing on his extensive research in museums, libraries, archives, galleries, and private collections across the world, Parry traces these journeys of cultural and artistic discovery. Who exactly were these Orientalist artists? How accurate were their depictions of the Orient? Did they travel to those distant lands to contemplate firsthand the subjects for their canvases or did they simply paint from back home from ‘Orientalized’ studios?

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