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THE AMERICAN EYE by Jan Greenberg


Eleven Artists of the Twentieth Century

by Jan Greenberg & Sandra Jordan

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-385-32173-2
Publisher: Delacorte

A remarkable biographical study of American artists that boldly links their works to their lives—a readable collection that allows researchers and others to see how an artist's personality is intertwined with the art he or she produces. The authors (The Sculptor's Eye, 1993, etc.) have assembled an eclectic group: Romare Bearden, Thomas Hart Benton, Stuart Davis, Arthur Dove, Eva Hesse, Edward Hopper, Isamu Noguchi, Georgia O'Keeffe, Jackson Pollock, David Smith, and Andy Warhol. Greenberg and Jordan (the latter is a reviewer for this publication) share formative events in each artist's life and interpret several works (which are well reproduced, mostly in full-color) in a disarmingly simple, straightforward tone. Unlike many adult biographies, this one includes anecdotes about the artists as children; the roots of talent are not necessarily found in adulthood. A photograph of Warhol as a skinny boy, who, during a long illness, wrote to movie stars, makes his art more understandable and puts it into a human context. Discomforting details are neither expurgated nor dwelled upon: Pollock's alcoholism, Hesse's depressions, and Warhol's sexual preferences are not treated as romanticized artistic afflictions or as scandalous personality defects, but as individualizing aspects of the respective artists' lives. Lists of the works and their locations supplement the back matter and make this laudable work essential for most collections. (glossary, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 10+)