Edna Andrade

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One of the foremost artists to emerge in Philadelphia in the 1960s, Edna Andrade (1917-2008) is now recognized as an early leader in the Op Art movement. Characterized by pulsating patterns, vivid colors, and a visual immediacy that surpasses narrative meaning, her work explores symmetry and rhythm through geometric design and structures inspired by nature. Andrade sought to create "democratic art" that dispensed with the need for elite aesthetic education or intricate explanations. As a result, her accessible and appealing compositions were often repurposed for commercial art and political campaigns.

Edna Andrade takes a comprehensive look at the full range of Andrade's work, from her early surreal and figurative landscapes, through several decades of Bauhaus-inspired design and the distinctive geometric patterns of Op Art, to her late-life quasi-abstract studies of the Atlantic coastline. Accompanied by 170 illustrations, including full-color reproductions as well as photographs, drawings, sketches, and notes, the essays situate Andrade's work in the context of movements that surfaced in the United States in the 1960s, such as Minimalism and Pop Art. The first book-length study of her career as an artist and teacher, Edna Andrade examines the aesthetic influences, creative development, and enduring legacy of this dynamic twentieth-century artist.

Contributors Debra Bricker Balken, Joe Houston

Product Details

University of Pennsylvania Press
Publish Date
July 03, 2015
10.2 X 1.1 X 12.4 inches | 3.35 pounds

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About the Author

Debra Bricker Balken is an independent curator and author of several books on modern and contemporary art, including Abstract Expressionism and The Park Avenue Cubists.


"A resplendent and comprehensive look at the artist and her influences, development, and enduring legacy."--Boston Globe

"Confronting the very nature of perception, Edna Andrade was an innovative leader of the early Op Art movement, wielding her paintbrush to explore color, rhythm, and form. Though comprising simple shapes and designs, Andrade's illusionary paintings -- rooted in geometric abstraction -- are nonetheless dynamic and complex, informed by a range of disciplines such as psychology, philosophy, mathematics, and architecture. This book presents the artist's expansive oeuvre, from her early surreal and figurative landscapes to her Bauhaus-inspired optic art, in 170 illustrations, including full-color reproductions as well as sketches and photographs. Complete with a series of essays, "Edna Andrade" is a resplendent and comprehensive look at the artist and her influences, development, and enduring legacy."--The Boston Globe

"Exhibiting flawless production values, Edna Andrade is a truly impressive body of work and an essential addition to community and academic library American Art History reference collections and supplemental studies reading lists."--Midwest Book Review