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Leo and His Circle: The Life of Leo Castelli Hardcover – Deckle Edge, May 18, 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
As Annie Cohnen-Solal relates, the ever polite, urbane Mr. Castelli, during the last half of the twentieth century, was a vital bridge between Europe and American cultures, who possessed a wonderous eye for discovering the "new" in art.
I personally found the rich family history at the start of this biography more rewarding than the often hagiological text at its end.
People who are interested in Leo Castelli and the challenging art that he promoted, I would think might also enjoy reading James Rosenquist's "Painting Below Zero" (2009) and Giuseppe Panza's "Memories of a Collector" (2007).
Now, the book is somewhat disappointing once Castelli and his wife arrive in post-war NYC : here, very little new information is brought forth (especially on the ability of Castelli to build an unparalleled network of influence in NYC's high society), Castelli's career as a successful and prescient art dealer from 1957 on (Johns, Rauschenberg, Lichtenstein...)being already well-known. The book tends to become too anecdotical and one would certainly have appreciated to read more about the opinions of the artists who knew the dealer first-hand through their mutual business ties (Cy Twombly's nuanced opinion is indeed quoted in the book, but very briefly).Read more ›
I am fairly well read in this area, but I learned a lot from the book. I had no idea of the role Castelli had played in Kandinsky's career, for instance--hilarious story of his charming the artist's widow. At the same time, I think the book is a wonderful introduction to American contemporary art. Both an education and entertaining, too. Highly recommend it.
Most of all this is a recounting of the rise of an intellectual and a gallerist and collector of art. There seems to be little of his inner thoughts and real motivation, except for his pride at receiving the French Legion of Honor for `discovering works of art'. His building of a gallery' empire' and his influence on the modern art world are recounted and well documented, there is a lack of inner depth and emotion, even in the telling of his many affairs, wives and family life; other than a few examples there is little of his real emotions.
There are photographs throughout the book of family, artists and documents. It is a book that those who are interested in the modern art world would certainly be engrossed in and for the first few chapters those who would like to learn of the life of the advantaged few in Trieste and Vienna - they could find interesting information too.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Book jacket so dirty as to inhibit reading the book though the pages are in good conditionPublished 9 months ago by Anne Kurakin
I'm an art dealer that prizes historic stories that render value to art in general let alone art that has a notorious past, art that was stole from persons that worshiped their... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Charles Cook
This is a truly awful book. The subject and period of time are fascinating, but the writing style is so baroquely bad that overcoming my aversion to the writing style was almost... Read morePublished on December 26, 2011 by Catherine Tracy