THE MAN FROM NEW YORK by B. L. Reid

THE MAN FROM NEW YORK

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KIRKUS REVIEW

He had a ""passion for having things and collecting things and doing things and being something""--John Quinn, a self-made Irish-American financial lawyer who from the time of his first trip to Ireland in 1902, became an impresario-patron-collector-activist of prominent artists and writers until his death in the '20's. This work, about two thirds the length of Michael Holroyd's Lytton Strachey, is also valuable as a secondary referral to a great many important other people; but whereas Holroyd worked his materials into an interesting continuity (and Strachey was a far more interesting person to begin with) Professor Reid's book, which is based on diaries, letters, phone calls, cables, etc., etc. reads like a catalogue raisonne. There is very little personal material of any kind--i.e., his limp courtship of William Morris' daughter May; here and there he is defined by Professor Reid--he was anti-clerical, hypochondriacal, prejudiced, romantic, irascible, always ""driven"" by his business career, but above all a gentleman. He collected books, manuscripts, arts, artifacts, artists, beginning with Yeats, father and son, Synge, George Moore, Lady Gregory in Ireland. Always determined to be a ""man of my own day and time"" he bought works of Matisse and Rouault, Lawson and Prendergast in the U.S., and he subsidized many talents. Toward the end he began selling his library and some of his paintings while acquiring, say, Rousseau's Sleeping Gypsy, the triumph of his career. He died shortly thereafter, leaving his collection to be liquidated. He was not only a proud possessor, but a great collector in terms of taste and vision. But certainly the general reader will not find him accessible here where he is buried alive in incidentals and footnotes.

Pub Date: Nov. 7th, 1968
Publisher: Oxford