"In a picture I want to say something comforting as music is comforting," Vincent van Gogh confided to his friend and fellow artist, Emile Bernard. "I want to paint men and women with that something of the eternal which the halo used to symbolize and which we seek to give by the actual radiance and vibration of our colorings." Written in the years 1887 to 1889, these letters are among the most important and relevant sources of insight into van Gogh's life and art. Apart from their fascinating content, they are among the most sensitive and perceptive studies ever published about the man and the artist.
On his decision to make the letters public, Barnard commented, "After reading them one could not doubt his van Gogh's] sincerity, his character, nor his originality; there, pulsating with life, one would find the whole of him." Indeed, these 23 letters, eloquently translated into English, radiate with their author's impulsiveness, intensity, and mysticism. In one van Gogh admits: "I can't disguise from you the fact that I like the country, having been brought up there floods of memories of the past, aspirations towards that infinity, of which the sower and the sheaves are symbols, enchant me now as then. But I wonder when I'll get my starry sky done, a picture which haunts me always."
Complemented by handsome black-and-white reproductions of some of van Gogh's major paintings and facsimiles from his letters, this volume is essential reading for scholars and students of art and will be treasured by artists and art lovers alike."
Anton Gag arrived in Minnesota from Bohemia about 1879, and founded an artistic dynasty in the German-Bohemian community of New Ulm. L'Enfant (art history, College of Visual Arts, St. Paul, Minnesota) follows his life and that of two of his children, Wanda Hazel (1893-1946), who became a famous chil
Published on the hundredth anniversary of Van Gogh's death, this is the first full-length biography of this undying man in twenty years and surely the most comprehensive account to date. Mr. Callow treats more searchingly than any previous work the development of Van Gogh's genius and his emergence as an artist after early struggles to find a vocation, first in the world of art dealing and later as an evangelical missionary among Belgian miners. Using the skills and psychological insights of an accomplished novelist, and drawing upon new Van Gogh materials which have surfaced in the last two decades, Mr. Callow sets a turbulent life story firmly in historical context, including Vincent's desperate attempts to accept his repressive religious upbringing, and his unhappy experiences in love. The story is filled with paradoxes and crushing failures, ending in suicide that was to lead to enormous posthumous success. Through Mr. Callow's book we can see Van Gogh's life and work in terms of tumult, of a legend breaking out of the triumph and confusion of 19th-century culture while representing it uniquely. It is perhaps the story of a saint, certainly a hero of art.
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.
As he magnificently combines meticulous scholarship with irresistible narrative appeal, Richardson draws on his close friendship with Picasso, his own diaries, the collaboration of Picasso's widow Jacqueline, and unprecedented access to Picasso's studio and papers to arrive at a profound understanding of the artist and his work. 800 photos.
Henri Matisse is one of the masters of twentieth-century art and a household word to millions of people who find joy and meaning in his light-filled, colorful images--yet, despite all the books devoted to his work, the man himself has remained a mystery. Now, in the hands of the superb biographer Hilary Spurling, the unknown Matisse becomes visible at last.
Matisse was born into a family of shopkeepers in 1869, in a gloomy textile town in the north of France. His environment was brightened only by the sumptuous fabrics produced by the local weavers--magnificent brocades and silks that offered Matisse his first vision of light and color, and which later became a familiar motif in his paintings. He did not find his artistic vocation until after leaving school, when he struggled for years with his father, who wanted him to take over the family seed-store. Escaping to Paris, where he was scorned by the French art establishment, Matisse lived for fifteen years in great poverty--an ordeal he shared with other young artists and with Camille Joblaud, the mother of his daughter, Marguerite.
But Matisse never gave up. Painting by painting, he struggled toward the revelation that beckoned to him, learning about color, light, and form from such mentors as Signac, Pissarro, and the Australian painter John Peter Russell, who ruled his own art colony on an island off the coast of Brittany. In 1898, after a dramatic parting from Joblaud, Matisse met and married Amelie Parayre, who became his staunchest ally. She and their two sons, Jean and Pierre, formed with Marguerite his indispensable intimate circle.
From the first day of his wedding trip to Ajaccio in Corsica, Matisse realized that he had found his spiritual home: the south, with its heat, color, and clear light. For years he worked unceasingly toward the style by which we know him now. But in 1902, just as he was on the point of achieving his goals as a painter, he suddenly left Paris with his family for the hometown he detested, and returned to the somber, muted palette he had so recently discarded.
Why did this happen? Art historians have called this regression Matisse's "dark period," but none have ever guessed the reason for it. What Hilary Spurling has uncovered is nothing less than the involvement of Matisse's in-laws, the Parayres, in a monumental scandal which threatened to topple the banking system and government of France. The authorities, reeling from the divisive Dreyfus case, smoothed over the so-called Humbert Affair, and did it so well that the story of this twenty-year scam--and the humiliation and ruin its climax brought down on the unsuspecting Matisse and his family--have been erased from memory until now.
It took many months for Matisse to come to terms with this disgrace, and nearly as long to return to the bold course he had been pursuing before the interruption. What lay ahead were the summers in St-Tropez and Collioure; the outpouring of "Fauve" paintings; Matisse's experiments with sculpture; and the beginnings of acceptance by dealers and collectors, which, by 1908, put his life on a more secure footing.
Hilary Spurling's discovery of the Humbert Affair and its effects on Matisse's health and work is an extraordinary revelation, but it is only one aspect of her achievement. She enters into Matisse's struggle for expression and his tenacious progress from his northern origins to the life-giving light of the Mediterranean with rare sensitivity. She brings to her task an astonishing breadth of knowledge about his family, about fin-de-siecle Paris, the conventional Salon painters who shut their doors on him, his artistic comrades, his early patrons, and his incipient rivalry with Picasso.
In Hilary Spurling, Matisse has found a biographer with a detective's ability to unearth crucial facts, the narrative power of a novelist, and profound empathy for her subject.
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.
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.