Art and Its Objects  

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"‘What is art?’ ‘Art is the sum or totality of works of art.’ ‘What is a work of art?’ ‘A work of art is a poem, a painting, a piece of music, a sculpture, a novel. ...’ ‘What is a poem? a painting? a piece of music? a sculpture? a novel? ...’ ‘A poem is ..., a painting is ..., a piece of music is ..., a sculpture is ..., a novel is ...’ It would be natural to assume that, if only we could fill in the gaps in the last line of this dialogue, we should have an answer to one of the most elusive of the traditional problems of human culture: the nature of art." -- Richard Wollheim, Art and Its Objects, p.1


"That there is a physical object that can be identified as Ulysses or Der Rosenkavalier is not a view that can long survive the demand that we should pick out or point to that object." -- Richard Wollheim, Art and Its Objects, p.4


"The crucial question to ask of the definition is this: Is it to be presumed that those who confer status upon some artifact do so for good reasons, or bad reasons, or is there no such presumption? Might they have no reason, or bad reasons, and yet their action be efficacious given that they themselves have the right status – that is, they represent the artworld?" -- Richard Wollheim, Art and Its Objects 2nd ed., 1980, p.160).

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Art and Its Objects (1968) is a book Richard Wollheim on the nature of art.

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