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Major influences on "modern" art?: Your thoughts.

 
 
JLNobody
 
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Reply Mon 7 Feb, 2005 08:18 pm
I just purchased Stevens and Swan's "deKooning: an American Master. I'm afraid to start it. I've got so much reading I'm committed to, and I know that once I start the de Kooning biography, I'll be hooked.
Are you reading you gift copy, Miklos? If you are, can you tell us how it's going?
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ossobuco
 
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Reply Mon 7 Feb, 2005 09:20 pm
You got it!!!!
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Miklos7
 
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Reply Tue 8 Feb, 2005 08:35 am
I, too, put off starting the book, because I found my preparation for leading discussions on "Four Films about Artists" to be unusually endless. Now that these meetings have begun, it's too late for me to study up anymore--thank goodness--and I am into the Stevens and Swan--with immense pleasure.

At first, I felt that S & S were going to bury me--and their subject--in minutiae. But, it is turning out that these myriad details are pertinent, and they are creating a vivid world in which deKooning and his friends, wives, lovers, art dealers, and "helpers" come to full life. A lot of the deeply illuminating atmosphere would, I believe, have been lost, had the authors focused more exclusively on de Kooning and let the other players recede. The other players are, many of them, major--not only in their relationships with the artist, but in their own right. I find the book a significant accomplishment--both as biography and art history. And it's not dry; it's a fascinating read. The art-history aspect follows no exterior agenda; it grows naturally from careful observation of deKooning and his world. The artist himself is allowed to make the history!

I highly recommend the book.
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JLNobody
 
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Reply Tue 8 Feb, 2005 06:02 pm
Thanks, Miklos. I'm delighted to hear it. What I want most of all in a biography is that it contextualizes the life of the subject. The revelation of deKooning's social environment is almost as important for a reading of his work as is the examination of his personality.
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Vivien
 
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Reply Wed 9 Feb, 2005 03:27 am
I'm afraid that de Kooning isn't an artist I'm fond of but the book sounds fascinating.
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