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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Artists On Art, June 5, 2000
By 
Bruce Loveitt (Ogdensburg, NY USA) - See all my reviews
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What could be better than going through art museums with artists and listening to their comments about the art on display and the artists who created that art? Michael Kimmelman, a distinguished art critic, had the great good fortune to do just that, and he wisely put himself in the background and let some very articulate people express themselves concerning things that they have thought about their whole lives. These are people who are passionate about art and who know all about making art. Some of the comments are educational and some are funny and, depending on the artists you like or dislike, some you might find irritating. For example, here is Chuck Close at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC: "About some of the other artists he passes along the way he is dismissive. Renoir is "Italian restaurant painting and unless you're having pizza you wouldn't want to look at it." He doesn't care much for Titian or Tintoretto either." But before you dismiss this as a comment by somebody saying something to be outrageous, you should know that at the age of 48 Mr. Close had a spinal artery collapse, which left him what is called an incomplete quadriplegic. He had to relearn to paint, with brushes strapped to his hands. (An irony, not mentioned by Mr. Kimmelman, is that in his later years, due to very bad arthritis, Renoir also had to have brushes strapped to his hands!) Listen to Mr. Close again, talking about a trip to The Met after his disability had struck him down: "So I went to look at the Petrus Christuses and Holbeins and realized that everything I loved in the history of painting, and portrait painting in particular, is small and tight and the product of fine motor control, which I had lost. I was depressed for days, but then I ended up with a cathartic experience because I found myself in my studio feeling so happy just to be working again that I was literally whistling while I painted and at the same time tears were streaming down my cheeks." My heart sank when I read that paragraph! Another artist expresses his opinion that the greatest artist of the 20th century was not Picasso and not Matisse, but rather Pierre Bonnard. A very large statement to make! What I found especially interesting was that 3 or 4 of the artists, with different styles, all agreed on the greatness of Ingres and all were angered by the commonly held opinion that although he was a master of line, Ingres was not a very good colorist. These artists felt that Ingres was not only a good colorist but that he was a great colorist! Even better, they tell you why they feel he was a great colorist. This is a wonderful book and I wish I could have been a mouse in the corner when Mr. Kimmelman was walking and talking with these artists!
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quote from Robert Hughes of Time Magazine, May 19, 1998
By A Customer
"Michael Kimmelman is the most acute American art critic of his generation, and Portraits, his first book, is a fine debut. Patiently, inquisitively and with remarkable insight, he coaxes from artists a whole range of responses to art that take us, in their own words, to the heart of their own work. A valuable book and a great read."--Robert Hughes
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb reading....a real joy, October 23, 1998
By 
John Campbell (New York, NY United States) - See all my reviews
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Tuck this book into your weekend bag and stow away to some cozy spot, then dive in and enjoy. This one's a huge treat. As the editor of a new art series from Abrams and as someone who does not know Mr. Kimmelman personally, other than as an anonymous admirer of his work, I rejoiced when I read this book, because it teaches, it refreshes, it challenges, and, more than all else, it inspires. Bravo!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Quite A Pleasant Read, December 10, 2008
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This review is from: Portraits: Talking with Artists at the Met, the Modern, the Louvre and Elsewhere (Modern Library Paperbacks) (Paperback)
If you are looking for insights and information from prominent artists in an easy to read format, Portraits is a great place to find it. Kimmelman's writing style is pleasant and he relates his interviews with the artists without interjecting his own opinions or coming to conclusions. Portraits is full of great quotes from Wayne Thiebaud, Kiki Smith, Brice Marden, Jacob Lawrence and several more. I found that a few things they mentioned even helped me in my own work.

A couple drawbacks to this book are that if you are looking for commentary on or from contemporary artists, this is the wrong place to find it. The interviews are all with a dying-off generation of postmodernists. Not that their information isn't valuable, it just depends on what you're looking for. Also, as unbiased as Kimmelman might try to be, when you read this book you are getting a perspective of a perspective, so it lacks directness in that regard.

Overall, however, I enjoyed this book and I would reccomend it to anyone who is interested in art and looking for a refreshing, concise read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Choose Your Favorite Artist and Take a Walk to Look at Art, January 3, 2013
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Michael Kimmelman takes you with him and several famous artists on a walk to look at art which gives you a sense not only of what interests them but why. Most enlightening and entertaining.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, November 13, 2014
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This review is from: Portraits: Talking with Artists at the Met, the Modern, the Louvre and Elsewhere (Modern Library Paperbacks) (Paperback)
Well presented, well written book delivered on time and as described
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Portraits: Talking with Artists at the Met, the Modern, the Louvre and Elsewhere (Modern Library Paperbacks)
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