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Me, According to the History of Art by Dick Frizzell

Me, According to the History of Art is the art history lesson you have been missing. Renowned New Zealand painter Dick Frizzell has always experimented creatively, from his early pop art, landscapes and appropriation.

What makes Me, According to the History of Art so special, compared to other art history books, is the reproductions of significant paintings are by Frizzell! From Rubens, Tintoretto, Cezanne and Lichtenstein, over a 12 month time frame, Dick painted each one.


I particularly enjoyed learning about Dick’s creative process and his grid approach to making a painting.

This book is quintessential Frizzell – it’s a fun journey, but it is grounded in his reverence for painters of the past. Beginning with cave art, he explores the key threads of Western art that have influenced his own DNA as a painter. His aim in writing this book was to demystify the world of art history. Ultimately, it explains who Dick Frizzell is as an artist.

“It didn’t start out as an Art History thing. I initially thought I could explain myself through something as practical and pragmatic as the history of paint. And then I started doing a bit of research… I was constantly conscious of balancing my frustration with academic obfuscation with my respect for those very disciplines. I think the thing that kept me level was the fact that I knew I was writing from the point of view of the painter, with the understanding that getting the stuff from the palette to the painting hasn’t changed much in 32,020 years,” says Dick.

If you’ve ever wanted to know about the history of art, but didn’t know where to start, this is the ideal book! It’s a perfect addition to an art history library, a conversation starter coffee table book and an important part of New Zealand art history in itself. There’s a helpful glossary of art terms and bonus painting tips included.

Reviewer: Andrea Molloy Massey University Press, RRP $65.00

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