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A Gift for Admiration: Further Memoirs Hardcover – May, 1998


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 198 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar Straus & Giroux (T); 1st edition (May 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374281920
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374281922
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,573,673 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Kirkus Reviews

This elegantly composed volume concludes Lord's rich, rarefied series of portraits of people who lived for Art. When Lord (Picasso and Dora, 1993) was a young writer, Thomas Mann complimented him on having ``the gift for admiration which above all enable[s] a talented person to learn.'' Its a gift much on display here in Lords record of his friendships with Peggy Guggenheim, Sonia Orwell (Georges widow), Peter Watson (the patron of Cyril Connolly's fabled magazine Horizon) and Isabel Rawsthorne, the fascinating beauty who modeled for Jacob Epstein, Giacometti, and Francis Bacon. Rawsthorne, for example, often gets only sketchy mentions in the biographies of those artists, but Lord gives her captivating personality and her fierce independence their due, even though he knew her in her dissipated later years. Though the figures recollected in this volume may be a little less august than those profiled in such earlier works as Six Exceptional Women (1994) and Some Remarkable Men (1996), Lord renders their characters with a subtle and convincing psychological insight. There are, for instance, the wealthy collectors Henry McIlhenny and Ethel Bliss Platt, charming, intriguing, and, even after years of friendship, still capable of surprising Lord. McIlhenny, a perfect host and a connoisseur, astonished his friend when he sold off a Seurat masterpiece rather than restrict his opulent lifestyle. Likewise, Lord was nonplussed that the widowed Ethel Platt could contain her feelings upon discovering that her husband's extensive photography archive of Italian art had fallen into disrepair after he had left it to Princeton, his beloved alma mater. As Lord discovered, she had an unsuspected spiritual strength that allowed her to appreciate life as much as art. A fresco of a bygone era, executed with a Jamesian eye for detail, with a tart dash of gossip. (b&w photos, not seen) -- Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

Review

[Lord] tells his stories with remarkable clarity and elegance. His spare prose style also emphasizes the poignancy of the reflections in this reminiscence.... -- The New York Times Book Review, Ted Loos

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James Lord is a biographer and chronicler of the arts in 20th century Europe. Like John Richardson, his first hand experience allows for a unique first-hand experience of what went on with some of the great movers and shakers of the art scene during that period. This collection is of essays is special because of it's inclusion of first-hand encounters with Isabel Rawsthorne, a fascinating artist and muse of Giacometti, Bacon, Picasso and others. I say unique because I am not aware of any other text that quotes direct conversations with Ms. Rawsthorne and gives a very touching look at her later years. I like Lord who avoids being reverential and paints a more honest, often brutal picture of important people in the arts who are usually depicted as larger than life. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in Ms. Rawsthorne , Ms. Guggenheim or the others carefully portrayed here.
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