For five centuries, Leonardo da Vinci has stood alone as the quintessential Renaissance manathe incomparable artist, writer, thinker, and inventor who most powerfully transformed his world. In this dazzling new intimate biography, award-winning author Charles Nicholl creates a portrait of the artist for our timeaa biography that brings Leonardo to life as a complex man living in a fascinating, dangerous, quickly changing world.
Drawing freely on his own original translations of Leonardoas notebooks as well as newly discovered contemporary accounts, Nicholl captures the very texture of Leonardoas mind and the pungent visceral impressions he transmuted into art. Detail by brilliant detail, Nicholl reconstructs the life and times of the artist, from his troubled childhood as the illegitimate son of an established Tuscan family to his years of apprenticeship in the burgeoning art world of Medici Florence to his unrivaled achievements in a breathtaking array of disciplines and media. Here, too, are compelling new answers to the enduring mysteries of Leonardoas sexual orientation, the true identity of the Mona Lisa, and the early experiences that inspired his lifelong obsession with human flight.
A writer of irresistible charm and quicksilver imagination, Nicholl takes us from the backstreet artistsa studios of Florence to the glittering palazzi of the Medici, Sforza, and Borgia families as he pursues the most extravagantly talented and maddeningly elusive artist of all time. The result is a biography of rare grace and penetration.
In 1987 art dealer Richard Polsky set aside $100,000 to purchase for his private collection a painting by famed Pop artist Andy Warhol - a process that took him 12 years. His journey, spanning the art world of the go-go 1980s to the recession of the 1990s, is recounted here.
In A Gift for Admiration, James Lord continues his series of enthralling, revealing, and sensitively wrought memoirs with a group of intimate portraits of some of this century's most successful promoters of the arts. He looks at Henry McIlhenny, an extravagant and generous heir who devoted himself to his collection of nineteenth-century French paintings, to pleasure, and to the indulgence of his friends in a Jamesian milieu that has since disappeared: he remembers Isabel Rawsthorne, the alcoholic, dissipated beauty whose dour paintings were unremarkable next to the edgy portraits that Francis Bacon and Alberto Giacometti made of her: he describes Peggy Guggenheim's Venice home, where he got to know the great collector and promoter of modern art in the shrine she had built to her passion. Lord also traces the fates of Sonia Orwell and Peter Watson, supporters of Cyril Connolly's historic literary review, Horizon, and Ethel Bliss Platt, whose home in New Jersey was resplendent with Italian art, but who probably derived even more pleasure from her unconventional garden -- a meadow of wildflowers. Lord evokes these cultured, privileged, and art-filled lives with a deft touch, and from a rare perspective: that of friend and confidant. His memories are recounted with incisive wit, compassion, and a rare ability to get to the germ of personalities.
Willem de Kooning is one of the most important artists of the twentieth century, a true "painter's painter" whose protean work continues to inspire many artists. In the thirties and forties, along with Arshile Gorky and Jackson Pollock, he became a key figure in the revolutionary American movement of abstract expressionism. Of all the painters in that group, he worked the longest and was the most prolific, creating powerful, startling images well into the 1980s.The first major biography of de Kooning captures both the life and work of this complex, romantic figure in American culture. Ten years in the making, and based on previously unseen letters and documents as well as on hundreds of interviews, this is a fresh, richly detailed, and masterful portrait. The young de Kooning overcame an unstable, impoverished, and often violent early family life to enter the Academie in Rotterdam, where he learned both classic art and guild techniques. Arriving in New York as a stowaway from Holland in 1926, he underwent a long struggle to become a painter and an American, developing a passionate friendship with his fellow immigrant Arshile Gorky, who was both a mentor and an inspiration. During the Depression, de Kooning emerged as a central figure in the bohemian world of downtown New York, surviving by doing commercial work and painting murals for the WPA. His first show at the Egan Gallery in 1948 was a revelation. Soon, the critics Harold Rosenberg and Thomas Hess were championing his work, and de Kooning took his place as the charismatic leader of the New York school--just as American art began to dominate the international scene. Dashingly handsome and treated like a movie star on the streets of downtown New York, de Kooning had a tumultuous marriage to Elaine de Kooning, herself a fascinating character of the period. At the height of his fame, he spent his days painting powerful abstractions and intense, disturbing pictures of the female figure--and his nights living on the edge, drinking, womanizing, and talking at the Cedar bar with such friends as Franz Kline and Frank O'Hara. By the 1960s, exhausted by the feverish art world, he retreated to the Springs on Long Island, where he painted an extraordinary series of lush pastorals. In the 1980s, as he slowly declined into what was almost certainly Alzheimer's, he created a vast body of haunting and ethereal late work. This is an authoritative and brilliant exploration of the art, life, and world of an American master.
Michael Angelo da Caravaggio (1571-1610) had an amazingly colorful and adventurous career, full of dramatic contrasts. He was a religious artist who used prostitutes and castrati as his models; a mystic with a police record; the favorite of Cardinals and the Pope's portrait painter, who committed a murder; an outlaw from the Roman hills, lionized at Naples; a Knight of Malta imprisoned in a Maltese dungeon; hunted by hired assassins in a vendetta with an unknown enemy; horribly disfigured by sword cuts in a Neapolitan brothel. Ironically, he died on a lonely Tuscan beach after receiving a pardon that would have allowed him to become an even greater painter.
Based on the latest research, but largely written as an adventure story, the book concentrates on the man and his personality, without neglecting the artist. It vividly re-creates his life in early Baroque Italy and as a "monk of war" on Malta.
Honoring the genius of Rembrandt, the author first explores the painter's obsession with Flemish master Peter Paul Rubens--a fixation that profoundly influenced the evolution of his work and was not overcome until Rubens's death. 75,000 first pirnting.
Immortalized by Henry James in print and by John Singer Sargent on canvas, Isabella Stewart Gardner has remained an elusive original whose independent life and work shocked the Boston aristocracy she married into. Based on extensive new research, this is the first biography of Isabella Gardner in 30 years. It reveals the many strands of her life as a cultural maverick and as muse and mentor, friend and patron to writers, musicians and artists such as James, Sargent, Lady Gregory, Bernard Berenson, Elsie De Wolfe, Martin Loeffler, Julia Ward Howe, Okakura Kakuzo, Henry Adams, T.S. Eliot and Paul Manship.
The climax of her life came after her husband's death in 1898, when she designed and built an innovative museum in the form of a Venetian palazzo and, with the legendary art historian Bernard Berenson, created America's first great private art collection.
"The Art of Scandal is the story of a striking woman of great force and character and of the Boston she lived in, from the Brahmins of Beacon Hill to the newly emerging ethnic communities and the little-known gay subculture. Isabella Gardner emerges as one of the most evocative figures of America's gilded age.
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.