In this major new biography, Meryle Secrest, one of our most admired biographers—whose work has been called “enthralling” (The Wall Street Journal); “rich in detail, scrupulously researched, and sympathetically written” (The New York Review of Books) —now gives us a fully realized portrait of one of the twentieth century’s master painters and sculptors: his upbringing, a Sephardic Jew from an impoverished but genteel Italian family; his going to Paris to make his fortune; his striking good looks (“How beautiful he was, my god how beautiful,” said one of his models) . . . his training as an artist . . . and his influences, including the Italian Renaissance, particularly the art of Botticelli; Nietzsche’s theories of the artist as Übermensch, divinely endowed, divinely inspired; the monochromatic backgrounds of Van Gogh and Cézanne; the work of the Romanian sculptor Brancusi; and the primitive sculptures of Africa and Oceania with their simplified, masklike triangular faces, elongated silhouettes, puckered lips, low foreheads, and heads on exaggeratedly long necks.
Random House, 2011. ISBN: 9780307263681. 507 pp.Hardcover. Fine in a fine jacket.
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