Art Biography
Featured Items
Rodin: The Shape of Genius
Rodin
The Shape of Genius
Paperback      ISBN: 0300064985

This reinterpretation of Rodin's life and times draws on archives and letters to disentangle the facts of this artist's life from the many myths that have grown up around him. The book provides new interpretations of the motivations, execution and reception of Rodin's artistic creations.

Goya: The Last Carnival
Goya
The Last Carnival
Paperback      ISBN: 1861890451

This intriguing book on Goya concentrates on the closing years of the eighteenth century as a neglected milestone in his life.

Goya waited until 1799 to publish his celebrated series of drawings, the Caprichos, which offered a personal vision of the world turned upside down. Victor I. Stoichita and Anna Maria Coderch consider how themes of Revolution and Carnival (both seen as inversions of the established order) were obsessions in Spanish culture in this period, and make provocative connections between the close of the 1700s and the end of the Millennium. Particular emphasis is placed on the artist's links to the underground tradition of the grotesque, the ugly and the violent. Goya's drawings, considered as a personal and secret laboratory, are foregrounded in a study that also reinterprets his paintings and engravings in the cultural context of his time.
Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling
Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling
Paperback      ISBN: 0142003697

In 1508, despite strong advice to the contrary, the powerful Pope Julius II commissioned Michelangelo to paint the ceiling of the newly restored Sistine Chapel. With little experience as a painter (though famed for his sculpture "David"), Michelangelo was reluctant to begin the massive project.
"Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling" recounts the four extraordinary years Michelangelo spent laboring over the vast ceiling while the power politics and personal rivalries that abounded in Rome swirled around him. Battling against ill health, financial difficulties, domestic problems, the pope's impatience, and a bitter rivalry with the brilliant young painter Raphael, Michelangelo created scenes so beautiful that they are considered one of the greatest masterpieces of all time. A panorama of illustrious figures converged around the creation of this great work-from the great Dutch scholar Desiderius Erasmus to the young Martin Luther-and Ross King skillfully weaves them through his compelling historical narrative, offering uncommon insight into the intersection of art and history.

Matisse and Picasso: The Story of Their Rivalry and Friendship
Matisse and Picasso
The Story of Their Rivalry and Friendship
Hardcover      ISBN: 0813365813

Matisse and Picasso achieved extraordinary prominence during their lifetimes. They have become cultural icons, standing not only for different kinds of art but also for different ways of living. Matisse, known for his restraint and intense sense of privacy, for his decorum and discretion, created an art that transcended daily life and conveyed a sensuality that inhabited an abstract and ethereal realm of being. In contrast, Picasso became the exemplar of intense emotionality, of theatricality, of art as a kind of autobiographical confession that was often charged with violence and explosive eroticism. In Matisse and Picasso, Jack Flam explores the compelling, competitive, parallel lives of these two artists and their very different attitudes toward the idea of artistic greatness, toward the women they loved, and ultimately toward their confrontations with death.

Leonardo: The Artist and the Man
Leonardo
The Artist and the Man
Paperback      ISBN: 0140231757

A considerable work of assimilative scholarship and common sense...races along merrily.--The Boston Globe.

Eakins Revealed: The Secret Life of an American Artist
Eakins Revealed
The Secret Life of an American Artist
Hardcover      ISBN: 0195156684

Thomas Eakins is widely considered one of the great American painters, an artist whose uncompromising realism helped move American art from the Victorian era into the modern age. He is also acclaimed as a paragon of integrity, one who stood up for his artistic beliefs even when they brought him personal and professional difficulty--as when he was fired from the Pennsylvania Academy of Art for removing a model's loincloth in a drawing class.
Yet beneath the surface of Eakins's pictures is a sense of brooding unease and latent violence--a discomfort voiced by one of his sitters who said his portrait "decapitated" her. In Eakins Revealed, art historian Henry Adams examines the dark side of Eakins's life and work, in a startling new biography that will change our understanding of this American icon. Based on close study of Eakins's work and new research in the Bregler papers, a major collection never fully mined by scholars, this volume shows Eakins was not merely uncompromising, but harsh and brutal both in his personal life and in his painting. Adams uncovers the bitter personal feuds and family tragedies surrounding Eakins--his mother died insane and his niece committed suicide amid allegations that Eakins had seduced her--and documents the artist's tendency toward psychological abuse and sexual harassment of those around him.
This provocative book not only unveils new facts about Eakins's life; more important, it makes sense, for the first time, of the enigmas of his work. Eakins Revealed promises to be a controversial biography that will attract readers inside and outside the art world, and fascinate anyone concerned with the mystery of artistic genius.

Strapless: John Singer Sargent and the Fall of Madame X
Strapless
John Singer Sargent and the Fall of Madame X
Hardcover      ISBN: 1585422215

The story behind the legendary John Singer Sargent painting that propelled the artist to international renown but condemned his subject to a life of public ridicule.
John Singer Sargent's "Madame X" is one of the world's best-known portraits. As the Metropolitan's most frequently requested painting for loans, it travels to museums around the globe. The image of "Madame X" decorates book and magazine covers, greeting cards and screen savers. She's even been immortalized as a Madame Alexander doll.
Few people, though, know the fascinating story behind the painting. "Madame X" was actually a twenty-three-year-old New Orleans Creole, Virginie Gautreau, who moved to Paris and quickly became the "it girl" of her day. All the leading artists wanted to paint her, but it was Sargent, a relative nobody, who won the commission. Gautreau and Sargent must have recognized in each other a like-minded hunger for fame.
Unveiled at the 1884 Paris Salon, Gautreau's portrait did generate the attention she craved-but it led to infamy rather than stardom. Sargent had painted one strap of Gautreau's dress dangling from her shoulder, suggesting, to outraged Parisian viewers, either the prelude or the aftermath of sex. Her reputation irreparably damaged, Gautreau retired from public life, destroying all the mirrors in her home so she would never have to look at herself again.
Why had Sargent chosen to portray her in such a provoc-ative manner? Was the painting, with the scandal it generated, the machination of a sexually conflicted man who desired a woman and a lifestyle he could never possess? Drawing on documents from private collections and other previously unexamined materials and featuring a cast of characters including Oscar Wilde and Richard Wagner, "Strapless" is an enthralling tale of art and celebrity, obsession and betrayal.

The Girl With the Gallery: Edith Gregor Halpert And the Making of the Modern Art Market
The Girl With the Gallery
Edith Gregor Halpert And the Making of the Modern Art Market
Hardcover      ISBN: 1586483021

In an era when American artists didn't count and women were expected to stay home, Edith Gregor Halpert burst onto the fledgling New York gallery scene, defying all cultural and societal rules. In 1926, Halpert, just twenty-six years old, opened one of the first art galleries in Greenwich Village and set about turning the art world upside down. Her Downtown Gallery, which she ran for forty-four years, laid the groundwork for the art market's modern era, and its aggressive promotion and sales tactics. Halpert cultivated the most illustrious art collectors of the day, invented the market for folk art, and pushed the first group of American artists working in a modern vernacular into the history books, including Stuart Davis, Jacob Lawrence, Georgia O'Keeffe, Ben Shahn, and Arthur Dove. Despite all this, Edith Halpert herself has been lost to history. Until now.

In The Girl with the Gallery, journalist Lindsay Pollock brings Halpert and her era vividly back to life, tracing the story of how this remarkable woman, who started out a penniless Jewish immigrant, made it her mission to fight for American art and artists. Illlustrated with eight pages of full color photographs, this is biography at its finest, an unforgettable story of class, money, vanity, jealousy, and tragic loss.

The Secret Life of Salvador Dalí
The Secret Life of Salvador Dalí
Paperback      ISBN: 0486274543

Painter, designer, and filmmaker Salvador Dal (1904-1989) was one of the most colorful and controversial figures in 20th-century art. A pioneer of Surrealism, he was both praised and reviled for the subconscious imagery he projected into his paintings, which he sometimes referred to as hand-painted dream photographs.
This early autobiography, which takes him through his late thirties, is as startling and unpredictable as his art. It is superbly illustrated with over 80 photographs of Dal and his works, and scores of Dal drawings and sketches. On its first publication, the reviewer of Books observed: It is impossible not to admire this painter as writer. As a whole, he . . . communicates the snobbishness, self-adoration, comedy, seriousness, fanaticism, in short the concept of life and the total picture of himself he sets out to portray.
Dal 's flamboyant self-portrait begins with his earliest recollections and ends at the pinnacle of his earliest successes. His tantalizing chapter titles and headnotes -- among them Intra-Uterine Memories, Apprenticeship to Glory, Permanent Expulsion from the School of Fine Arts, Dandyism and Prison, I am Disowned by my Family, My Participation and my Position in the Surrealist Revolution, and Discovery of the Apparatus for Photographing Thought -- only hint at the compelling revelations to come.
Here are fascinating glimpses of the brilliant, ambitious, and relentlessly self-promoting artist who designed theater sets, shop interiors, and jewelry as readily as he made surrealistic paintings and films. Here is the mind that could envision and create with great technical virtuosity images of serene Raphaelesque beauty one moment and nightmarish landscapes of soft watches, burning giraffes, and fly-covered carcasses the next. For anyone interested in 20th-century art and one of its most gifted and charismatic figures, The Secret Life of Salvador Dal is must reading.

Gaudier-Brzeska: A Memoir
Gaudier-Brzeska
A Memoir
Paperback      ISBN: 0811205274

Ezra Pound's book on the French sculptor Henri Gaudier-Brzeska was first published in 1916. An enlarged edition, including thirty pages of illustrations (sculpture and drawings) as well as Pound's later pieces on Gaudier, was brought out in 1970, and is now re-issued as an ND Paperbook. The memoir is valuable both for the history of modern art and for what it shows us of Pound himself, his ability to recognize genius in others and then to publicize it effectively. Would there today be a Salle Gaudier-Brzeska in the Musee de L'Art Moderne in Paris if Pound had not championed him? Gaudier's talent was impressive and his Vorticist aesthetic important as theory, but he was killed in World War I at the age of twenty-three, leaving only a small body of work. Pound knew Gaudier in London, where the young artist had come with his companion, the Polish-born Sophie Brzeska. whose name he added to his own. They were living in poverty when Pound bought Gaudier the stone from which the famous "hieratic head" of the poet was made. Pound arranged exhibitions and for the publication of Gaudier's manifestoes in Blast and The Egoist. And he wrote and sent packages to him in the trenches, where Gaudier a sculptor to the last carved a madonna and child from the butt of a captured German rifle, just two days before he died."