From Publishers Weekly
At 75, British-born prolific art writer Berger (Ways of Seeing) is a longtime farm dweller in the French Alps, which may help give his prose its much-praised unadorned directness and earthiness. This weighty tome selects essays from previous volumes, including The Sense of Sight and Keeping a Rendezvous. They include terse meditations on painters like Picasso, Matisse, Pollock, Goya, Poussin and Gauguin, as well as sculptors like Lipschitz, Brancusi and Zadkine. There are farm-inspired essays like "A Load of Shit" and stark personal essays with a peasant-like directness: "When my father died recently, I did several drawings of him in his coffin. Drawings of his face and head." This stance makes his thoughts about artists, whether praising Picasso or decrying the British painter Francis Bacon, seem all the more authentic and credible. Piles and piles of prejudices here wind up being eminently readable because they're expressed without ornate flourishes and in a plain-spoken (sometimes overly so) stance. In the tradition of energetic British eccentrics, Berger has contributed much to writing on modern art, often speaking sense and doing it more entertainingly than most salaried newspaper specialists. (Dec.)Forecast: Berger's Ways of Seeing is still a campus favorite for intro. to art classes, and these essays should be a sure thing for most college libraries. But Berger has enough name recognition to reach literate non-specialists, and the book should make it into many public libraries and gift tables. The author's 75th birthday makes a good hook for rousing regular art readers and getting them to make a Berger purchase.
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"An important, not-to-be-missed chance to luxuriate in Berger's incomparable sagacity and visual sense." —The Washington Post
“[Berger’s grace] is in his way with words, and the infinite meanings he finds in that common but extraordinary thing, noticing.” —The New York Times Book Review
“Tenderness, and an unflagging interest in the experience of being human, infuse his work.” —Los Angeles Times
"Berger is one of the greatest living writers in the English language." —Buffalo News