Category Archives: art history

Mary Blume, “The Master of Us All: Balenciaga, His Workrooms, His World”

I’m going to start with a quotation here, and if you don’t like it you can just move on, because while I adored The Master of Us All, not every reader wants to devote a few hours to a long-dead … Continue reading

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Pierre Assouline, “Le Portrait”

It’s not easy to buy me books, but Beloved Husband outdid himself this Christmas. And say what we will about the state of the book market, it’s pretty cool that he could find a French paperback published in 2007 and … Continue reading

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Erica Hirshler, “Sargent’s Daughters”

I’m a big fan of John Singer Sargent’s paintings and on a recent visit to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, I was moved by the room devoted to his portrayals of the Edward Darley Boit family. Of course … Continue reading

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Elizabeth Kostova, “The Swan Thieves”

There was a lot of fuss over Elizabeth Kostova’s earlier book, The Historian, and I tried to read it but could not quite cozy up to the Dracula theme, the violence, the portentousness. The Swan Thieves, though, was a much … Continue reading

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Steven Naifeh & Gregory White Smith, “Van Gogh: The Life”

Phew! Sorry — but really, who doesn’t feel relief upon finishing a volume that runs 870 pages? I read a paper-bound galley of Van Gogh: The Life and had a hard time just managing its physical bulk. This is not a … Continue reading

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Steve Martin, “An Object of Beauty”

An Object of Beauty should have been right up my alley — who wouldn’t like a fable about the contemporary art market? Complete with full-color reproductions of artworks and an ambitious girl heroine? Scenes of auctions, galleries, and art-buying jaunts to … Continue reading

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Pierre Assouline, “Le dernier des Camondo”

Visitors to the wonderful Parisian house museum, Musée Nissim de Camondo, tend to get hung up by the photographs. There you are, gazing your fill at the stupendous decorative arts ensemble — paneling, tapestries, porcelain, mind-blowing 18th century furniture. And … Continue reading

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