All books

Willem De Kooning


Willem de Kooning is the old master of Abstract Expressionism, whose ferocious women and seemingly spontaneous brushwork have been primary influences on American and European artists of the postwar era. Still fervently painting at age 79, he continues to produce canvases of piercing beauty, which serve as a brilliant finale to this book on one of the great masters of contemporary art.

About the Modern Masters series

With informative, enjoyable texts and over 100 illustrations — approximately 48 in full color &mdash this innovative series offers a fresh look at the most creative and influential artists of the postwar era. The authors are highly respected art historians and critics chosen for their ability to think clearly and write well. Each handsomely designed volume presents a thorough survey of the artist's life and work, as well as statements by the artist, an illustrated chapter on technique, a chronology, lists of exhibitions and public collections, an annotated bibliography, and an index. Every art lover, from the casual museumgoer to the serious student, teacher, critic, or curator, will be eager to collect these Modern Masters. And with such a low price, they can afford to collect them all.


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The Complete Book of Bonsai

A Practical Guide to Its Art and Cultivation


Presenting a unique blend of information and ideas, The Complete Book of Bonsai is the most lavish and up-to-date guide to the subject yet published. Harry Tomlinson is an internationally recognized authority on bonsai, and here brings this absorbing discipline within everybody's reach.


The origins and development of bonsai are traced, and the underlying principles of this fascinating art clearly explained. The classic styles are listed and illustrated, together with full descriptions of how they were derived from models in the world. Outstanding examples of plantings in all of the various styles are shown. The types of containers are detailed, and the importance of their use for different trees or styles explained. Advice is given on placing and exhibiting your completed bonsai.


There is comprehensive information on how to create a bonsai from a seedling, cutting, or garden center plant. Clear step-by-step sequences take you from the initial raw material through to the finished bonsai, showing the superb results that can be achieved. All the tools and techniques of bonsai are illustrated and explained, and their use described in detail. Maintenance and propagation sections tell you everything you need to know to keep your bonsai beautiful and healthy, or to create your own trees.


A photographic catalogue of bonsai trees and shrubs lies at the heart of the book, providing the cultivation and styling details of over 100 different species. Each entry is accompanied by an original full-color photograph of at least one outstanding specimen. This section is supplemented by a further compendium of trees and shrubs that can be grown as bonsai, giving a total of over 300 to choose from. The Complete Book of Bonsai reveals every aspect of the art, with inspirational ideas and practical advice at every turn. Whether you are a beginner who would like to grow just one or two trees, or an experienced enthusiast who wishes to build up a whole collection, it is the essential reference work.

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Manhattan Lightscape


This luminous photographic collection highlights New York City's most breathtaking views and grandest buildings.

Master architectural photographer Nathaniel Lieberman sees New York City in terms of light: the light of dawn casting a honey-colored glow over the East River; the light of dusk soothing the stately structures on Central Park West; artificial light setting midtown Manhattan ablaze at night; the sharp light of day delineating the incomparable Manhattan skyline. His vistas, taken from high atop New York's skyscrapers and from its bridges and boroughs, portray the world's most powerful city as we have only imagined it in our dreams.

For the first time, fifty-seven of these photographs, representing a decade of Lieberman's work, have been collected in this sumptuously produced volume. They feature the city's most breathtaking views and grandest buildings. The entire length of Central Park is captured in each of the seasons; the Brooklyn Bridge is illuminated by a burst of fireworks during the celebration of its centenary; the twin towers of the World Trade Center soar majestically above the deserted lanes of the old West Side Highway; the glass-and-steel grid of the Jacob Javits Convention Center twinkles futuristically; the dramatic Citicorp Building forms part of a strikingly geometric composition.

With an introduction by Mark Helprin, author of Winter's Tale--a novel acclaimed for its magical evocation of New York City--and quotes about New York by a host of residents and visitors past and present, Manhattan Lightscape is certain to be irresistible to anyone who has ever romanced the stones of this remarkable city.

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Audubon's Birds of America


Abbeville's magnificent volume on John James Audubon's world famous ornithological engravings.

This marvelous edition of Audubon's Birds of America displays all 435 of Audubon's brilliant handcolored engravings in exquisite reproductions taken from the original plates of the Audubon Society's archival copy of the rare Double Elephant Folio. Although many attempts have been made to re-create the magnificent illustrations in Audubon's masterpiece, nothing equals the level of fidelity or scale achieved in this high-quality edition.

Organized and annotated by Roger Tory Peterson, America’s best-known ornithologist, and issued with the full endorsement and cooperation of the Audubon Society, this magnificent volume is as thorough in scientific classification as it is beautiful. Peterson's fascinating introduction places Audubon in the context of the history of American ornithological art and also reproduces a wide sampling of the work of Audubon's notable predecessors and disciples, including Peterson's own justly famous paintings.

This new systematic arrangement of the prints, complete with informative commentaries about each bird, made it possible to correct many of the problems or errors in Audubon's original edition revealed by later scholarship. The colorful captions in the back provide fascinating commentaries on each featured bird.

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International Design Yearbook 5


This fifth-year installment of IDY is a unique showcase and the most authoritative guide to contemporary domestic design.

The fifth edition of the critically acclaimed annual review of international design covers the year 1990's best, most characteristic, and most significant examples in furniture, lighting, tableware, textiles, and products from teakettles to computers. Once again, brilliant works by leading designers appear alongside innovative pieces of newcomers. 1990's selection was judged by the acclaimed Spanish designer Oscar Tusquets Blance, from whose hand have come architectural, interior, furniture, and industrial product masterpieces.

An indispensable source book for professionals, this wonderfully illustrated annual is also a delight to anyone who appreciates creative genius in the form of everyday objects.

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Life and Work


The paintings of Sandro Botticelli are some of the most deeply loved works ever created. But the direct and immediate beauty of such paintings as the Primavera, the Birth of Venus, and Pallas and the Centaur, with their lyrical forms and luminous color, belie a complex and sophisticated iconography—the product of an artist and a time of highly refined sensibilities.When Ronald Lightbown published his monograph on Botticelli in 1978, it was immediately recognized as the definitive work on the subject, one that thoroughly delineated the Renaissance master's life and work and disentangled many of the enigmas associated with his remarkable body of painting. But the subsequent cleaning and restoration of many of Botticelli's most famous works, which began in 1978, has necessitated a reassessment of his remarkable technique and dazzling use of color, and has provided a splendid opportunity for Lightbown to revise his landmark study.

While this beautiful new edition performs the important task of analyzing recent scholarly advances, it also presents for the first time a full complement of color images for each of Botticelli's autograph paintings, as well as dozens of spectacular details—over 217 plates, many full page. Specially commissioned photography of the Sistine frescoes and other newly cleaned masterpieces reveal Botticelli's vibrant use of color as never before. A selection of his drawings and workshop pictures and paintings by contemporaries such as Fra Filippo Lippi round out this definitive presentation.

Every aspect of the Florentine painter's art is examined and illustrated in this beautiful and scholarly volume: his devotional work (frescoes, altarpieces, tondi), his portraits, his illustrations to Dante's Divine Comedy, his secular paintings, and his representations of classical myth. The book begins by describing Botticelli's family, early life, and apprenticeship to Fra Filippo Lippi. Then follows a discussion of the development of his career, his emergence as an independent master, and his stay in Rome to help fresco the newly completed Sistine Chapel.

Carefully and gracefully, Lightbown relates Botticelli's paintings to the complex and contradictory culture of fifteenth-century Florence, a society that combined worldly pageantry with piety, classical learning with vernacular vigor. Lightbown focuses particularly on the artist's relationship with the Medici as well as other prominent Florentine families, and concludes with a discussion of the intense, highly wrought paintings of his last years.

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Marc Chagall


Chagall's sprightly fiddler on the roof and his romantic airborne lovers--affectionate icons from the artist's early years in a Russian village--are among the most familiar and best-loved figures in modern art.

This beguiling volume tells the story of Chagall's long and adventure-filled life and presents his works in diverse media--oil, watercolor, graphics of all types, pottery, and stained glass.

Chagall's early achievements in Russia attracted the first of his many guardian angels, who made it possible for him to move to Paris, where he enthusiastically enjoyed the heady pleasures of bohemia and his own precocious success. Back in Russia on a visit in 1914, he was trapped by the onset of the Revolution, which unexpectedly elevated him to the lofty position of art commissar--and just as quickly demoted him. Not until eight years later was he back in his beloved France, where he stayed the rest of his life except for a reluctant exile to the United States during World War II. However tumultuous his life became, Chagall remained almost unsinkably lighthearted, expressing an exuberant joy in living that infused his art and makes this engaging book such a delight to look at and read.

About the Modern Masters series

With informative, enjoyable texts and over 100 illustrations--approximately 48 in full color--this innovative series offers a fresh look at the most creative and influential artists of the postwar era. The authors are highly respected art historians and critics chosen for their ability to think clearly and write well. Each handsomely designed volume presents a thorough survey of the artist's life and work, as well as statements by the artist, an illustrated chapter on technique, a chronology, lists of exhibitions and public collections, an annotated bibliography, and an index. Every art lover, from the casual museumgoer to the serious student, teacher, critic, or curator, will be eager to collect these Modern Masters. And with such a low price, they can afford to collect them all.

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The Mad Potter of Biloxi

The Art and Life of George E. Ohr


A brilliantly written, lavishly produced volume on an important yet little- known clay artist.

Misunderstood and unappreciated during his lifetime (1857-1918), George Ohr, America's archetypal artist-potter, pushed the form of the vessel beyond mere function to the point of abstraction. Today the genius of this radical and sophisticated artist has finally been recognized. His thin-walled, paper-light pots, labeled grotesque in his day, are now seen as a tour de force of delicacy and restraint and a stunning exploration of the plasticity of clay. Ruffling, twisting, tearing, and collapsing his fragile pots, Ohr anticipated much of what we take for granted in contemporary art and ceramics.

Stunningly illustrated with 140 color images of his most important pieces, this landmark volume, winner of the George Wittenborn Award for outstanding art books from the Art Libraries Society of North America, presents the first major study of Ohr. Beautifully woven together, the text and images confirm a judgment the Mad Potter once passed on himself: "Unequaled! Unrivaled! Undisputed!" he wrote on a sign outside his shop, "Greatest Art Potter on Earth!"

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Dante Gabriel Rossetti


This evocative volume vividly illuminates Dante Gabriel Rossetti's life and his art. With its luxurious design and captivating text, this book brings to life a charming, extravagantly talented artist.

"A lush treat, a book of incomparable beauty." -- Cosmopolitan

"In this gorgeously illustrated biographical-critical study, Faxon... proves herself an astute guide to Rosetti's lush pictures... This volume is indispensable to admirers of Rosetti's paintings or poetry." -- Publishers Weekly

One of Victorian England's most charismatic characters, Dante Gabriel Rossetti painted and wrote with equal passion. He was similarly passionate in his personal life: his ethereal artist-wife, his earthy blond mistress, and the ravishing Jane Morris are all immortalized in his voluptuous images. The melodrama of Rossetti's life, darkened by rumors of suicide, adultery, and addiction, has often overshadowed his striking accomplishments as a painter. This evocative volume vividly illuminates his life and his art. Two hundred sixty-five illustrations-140 in full color-capture the lush hues and elaborate imagery of his romantic canvases. The astute text provides-at long last-a clear and candid account of the artist that carefully untangles fact from myth. Reminiscences from the artist's great-grandniece Helen Guglielmini provide an engaging glimpse of life with the Rossettis.

Rossetti's career is chronicled from his early achievements as a founder of the tremendously influential Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, through his involvement with William Morris's revolutionary design firm, to the grandly unorthodox images of his final years. Skillfully weaving in quotes from the artist and his contemporaries, Dr. Faxon brings to life a charming, contradictory man. Sometimes delightful, sometimes infuriating, Rossetti was as apt to scribble a witty limerick or dash off a jokey caricature as he was to brood over a medieval fantasy or heartsick sonnet

Rossetti's prodigious art encompassed the meticulously detailed canvases of his early years, the jewellike brilliance of his medieval tableaux, and the sensuously alluring women of his late paintings. He plundered the past for his painted and poetic images-especially favoring the tales of Dante and the romantic adventures of King Arthur-but his art was always uniquely his own, instantly recognizable and unforgettable.

Beautifully designed with luscious reproductions, telling details, and graceful ornamentation, this is the first lavishly illustrated monograph devoted to this extravagantly talented artist. It was well worth waiting for.


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Howard Finster, Stranger from Another World

Man of Visions Now on This Earth


In this remarkable book, illustrations of Finster's exuberant paintings, sculptures, buildings, and gardens are accompanied by his own inimitable narrative.

A backwoods Baptist preacher inspired by the Gospel, visitations from the dead, and visions of extraterrestrial life, the Reverend Howard Finster is an unlikely candidate for art celebrity. Yet his work has been shown in museums and galleries from Soho to Australia and from Los Angeles to the Venice Biennale. He's been a guest on the "Tonight Show" and at the Library of Congress. He's been in People, The Wall Street Journal, and dozens of other national publications. He's done album covers for the Talking Heads and R.E.M., and he's painted Easter eggs for the White House. Collectors buy his works before the paint dries, sometimes acquiring them sight unseen over the phone. As Finster says, "No tellin' how many fans I got now. There's millions of 'em."

Few of those fans can make the pilgrimage to Finster's Paradise Garden in Pennville, Georgia. Stranger from Another World solves that problem by providing 150 illustrations of the artist's exuberant paintings, sculptures, buildings, and gardens, along with his own inimitable narrative. Drawn from hundreds of hours of conversation edited by Tom Patterson, Finster's story has the ear-tickling eloquence that has long enraptured both his congregations and his art fans. As the reverend himself says: "Sometimes people come here, and they look like sour-pusses. But after they hear me talk twenty or thirty minutes, and after they go over the gardens and come out, they just fall in love with me."

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Constantin Brancusi


When you see a fish, Brancusi once commented, "you do not think of its scales, do you? You think of its speed, its floating, flashing body seen through water. . . . Well, I've tried to express just that... I want just the flash of its spirit." Brancusi captured that "flash of spirit" in works of extraordinary beauty and intense simplicity. Though enjoying the pose of a canny peasant, he was, in fact, a sophisticated artist who distilled a multitude of sources into his highly complex work.

This volume in the Modern Masters series is an important and perceptive study of the sculptor Constantin Brancusi, whose arresting forms have exerted a powerful impact on the art of this century. By incisively evaluating the diverse influences that channeled into the artist's work — including his academic training and brief apprenticeship with Auguste Rodin, the folk art and architecture of his native Romania, Cubism, and African art — Eric Shanes has produced an insightful study that reveals how this complex artist achieved the expressive simplicity of his innovative sculptures. An extensive "Notes on Technique" section, illustrated with evocative views of the artist's studio, illuminates Brancusi's methods of working in all media, including photography, which he used to record his own ideas about how his sculpture should be seen. The many photographs by Brancusi are complemented by sensitive color illustrations that capture the essence of his art. Written with a clarity of prose that well serves the clarity of the sculptor's own work, this much-needed book presents the fascinating story of a profoundly influential artist.

About the Modern Masters series

With informative, enjoyable texts and over 100 illustrations — approximately 48 in full color — this innovative series offers a fresh look at the most creative and influential artists of the postwar era. The authors are highly respected art historians and critics chosen for their ability to think clearly and write well. Each handsomely designed volume presents a thorough survey of the artist's life and work, as well as statements by the artist, an illustrated chapter on technique, a chronology, lists of exhibitions and public collections, an annotated bibliography, and an index. Every art lover, from the casual museumgoer to the serious student, teacher, critic, or curator, will be eager to collect these Modern Masters. And with such a low price, they can afford to collect them all.

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The effects and influence of minimalism--the art movement in which artists removed personal expression and decorative detail from their work--continue to be felt today as art produced by its proponents continues to be exhibited and artists continue to use the style.

The great movements of modern art, among them Impressionism, Surrealism, Cubism, and Abstract Expressionism, have challenged rather than accommodated critics and public. None more so than Minimalism, which unrelentingly questioned not only the nature of art, but also the place of art in society-especially the capitalist society of the United States.Beginning in the 1960s, artists like Frank Stella, Donald Judd, Carl Andre, Dan Flavin, Sol LeWitt, Robert Morris, Robert Smithson, Walter De Maria, Richard Serra, Keith Sonnier, Eva Hesse, Robert Grosvenor, and Joel Shapiro reacted against what they saw as the flamboyance of Abstract Expressionism, seeking instead materials, forms, and procedures that explicitly do not convey the personal touch of the fabricator.

Many observers have judged the artworks that resulted obstinately cerebral and unapproachable-or, worse, barren beyond the point of tedium.Others have recognized that these works are, in fact, revolutionary, embodying an elemental immediacy unprecedented in Western art. Giving no quarter to complacent illusion and habits of perception, the Minimalists pushed aesthetic thought deeply into the crust of unexamined ideas that most of us take for granted as cultural terra firma.

In this volume, illustrated with works ranging from small-scale sculpture and hermetic paintings to vast "earthworks," Kenneth Baker, the award-winning art critic of the San Francisco Chronicle, explores the history and challenge of Minimalism in the context not only of the trends it succeeded, but of those that have succeeded it.

Minimalism: Art of Circumstance is one of those rare essays of critical insight that combine a comprehensive point of view with a revisionist spirit; for, in unfolding the history of his subject, Baker finally challenges the very notion of a "minimalist movement." The result is provocative, and in today's wildly pluralistic post-modern art world, this volume is living history-in fact, required reading.

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The Bakelite Jewelry Book


During recent years, the Bakelite jewelry of the 1930s has become a trendy and popular fashion accessory and much-valued collectible. Emblematic of a unique culture that only could have blossomed between a depression and a world war, this cheeky costume jewelry is beautifully shown here in its amazing range, humor, high style, good-hearted silliness, streamlined chic, and daring inventiveness.

Bakelite, the first thermosetting plastic, formed the basis for a Depression-era fashion trend that began, spread like wildfire, and died away, all within a few short years—between 1933 and 1941. Two generations later, there is an astounding resurgence of interest in Bakelite jewelry. Among fashion trendsetters, there is growing infatuation with these playful and very wearable baubles. Among serious collectors, there is fierce competition for the rare, quality pieces that were made in limited numbers under such evocative brand names as Marblette, Gemstone, Prystal, Agtine, and Catalin. Bakelite seems to be everywhere, and prices are rising. The authors have assembled for this book—from many sources—the greatest array ever seen of Bakelite jewelry. They have also appended a very useful guide to prices.

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Jefferson's Monticello


The fascinating history and development of Monticello — home of its designer and architect, Thomas Jefferson.

The ideals that guided Jefferson's career as a statesman and political thinker also inspired his work as the architect and designer of his home at Monticello. Indeed, no great house in America more closely reflects the intellectual and aesthetic vision of its builder. Here, in this copiously illustrated and thoroughly researched book, Howard Adams traces Monticello's fascinating history and development from the first plans through the 40 years of building and rebuilding that continued right up to Jefferson's death in 1826.

In four major sections, the author deals with Jefferson the man and Jefferson the designer/builder; explores in detail the designing and building of the first as well as the final Monticello; examines the furnishings Jefferson designed and acquired for the house; and discusses the development of the grounds as well, for Jefferson was one of the first Americans to give serious thought to landscape architecture. Mr. Adams also relates the varying fortunes of the house from Jefferson's death to the current undertakings which shall finally restore Monticello to the way Jefferson knew and planned it.

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Mary Cassatt

Paintings And Prints


These paintings and prints by the American artist are among the finest examples of Impressionism.

Mary Cassatt's paintings and prints have long been treasured as some of the finest examples of Impressionist art. A rebel by the Victorian standards of her time, Mary Cassatt moved from the art schools of staid Philadelphia to the boulevards of Paris, where the young Impressionist movement was flourishing. Degas, her friend and mentor, encouraged her involvement in the new art movement.

Cassatt's luminous, observant, and innovative works-chiefly interiors with women and children-helped define Impressionism and have been compared to Raphael's paintings for their beauty and dignity. Frank Getlein, noted art critic and historian, has selected 72 of Cassatt's finest works, each reproduced here in full color. His accompanying text relates the intimate details of her life to her paintings while clearly defining her relation to fellow artists and her place in modern art.

The publication of this book marks the first time that so many of Cassatt's paintings and prints, some rarely seen by American audiences, have been made available at a popular price.

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The Japanese Tattoo


The definitive book on a fascinating art form, whose popularity continues to increase.

A crimson fish wrestles a man. A horned demon stares menacingly. These vivid scenes are tattoos, created in pain, incised in the flesh of the Yakuza, Japan's feared secret society of gangsters. They are the visions of the Irezumi, the legendary tattoo artists, who spend years creating living masterpieces. Photographer Sandi Fellman describes this strange and violent world both in her text and in her stunning, large Polaroid photographs.

American photographer Sandi Fellman used a rare large size Polaroid camera to create these photos of Irezumi Japanese men and women who wear elaborate full-body tattoos. Fellman treats the tattoos as artworks and their creators as artists. Her text touches on the tattooing process, common motifs, the sociology of the tattoo, and relationships between the tattoo masters and their clients. Author D.M. Thomas has contributed two pages of his reactions to these unusual and even disturbing images. The 46 color plates in this volume, most of them whole body nudes, should prove provocative, fascinating, or repellant to a wide variety of library patrons. -- Library Journal

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Karel Appel

Works on Paper


A celebration of the graphic works of Karel Appel, this is the most complete collection assembled on his collages, gouaches, drawings, and waterworks.

Jean-Clarence Lambert interweaves narrative and poetry in a witty text that captures Appel's exuberant spirit.

Marshall McLuhan's foreword pays tribute to the vibrant medium of Appel's message...

"that we can nourish our creativity by unlocking the child at play with us"

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Chinese Calligraphy

From Pictograph to Ideogram: The History of 214 Essential Chinese/Japanese Characters


An illuminating history of 214 Chinese/Japanese calligraphic characters.

Written Chinese can call upon about 40,000 characters, many of which originated some 6,000 years ago as little pictures of everyday objects used by the ancients to communicate with one another. To convey more abstract ideas or concepts, the Chinese stylized and combined their pictographs. For instance, the character for “man”—a straight back above two strong legs—becomes, with the addition of a head and shoulders and arms held sternly akimbo, the character for “official.” This book, modeled after a classic compilation of the Chinese language done in the 18th century, introduces readers to the 214 root pictographs or symbols upon which this writing system, whose rich complexities hold a wealth of cultural meaning, is based. These key characters, called radicals, are all delightfully presented in this volume, with their graphic development traced stage-by-stage to the present representation, where even now (in many of them) one can easily make out what was originally pictured—with the author’s guidance. Centuries ago, when the Japanese took up writing, they also adopted these symbols, though they gave them different names in their own spoken language.

Each of the 214 classic radicals is charmingly explored by the author, both for its etymology and for what it reveals about Chinese history and culture. Chinese characters are marvels of graphic design, and this book even shows the proper way to write each radical, stroke by stroke. Finally, there are also samples of each radical combined with other radicals and character elements to demonstrate how new characters are formed—some 8,000 have been added to the language since the eighteenth century. With all its expertly executed calligraphic illustrations and fascinating commentary, this book serves as an excellent introduction to Chinese writing and its milieu.

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