From Publishers Weekly
Pollock, who reports on the art market for Bloomberg News, retrieves a uniquely American story: a plucky heroine escapes Russia with her parents, grows up in New York poverty and ends up owning one of the most influential and successful art galleries of the 20th century, one that virtually created the market for American art. Startlingly young when she embarked on her career in 1926, Edith Gregor Halpert (1900–1970) was one of the few gallery owners with an eye for the American avant-garde of the '20s, '30s and '40s. She recognized genius in Stuart Davis, made folk art trendy during the Depression and rescued from obscurity such classic artworks as Raphaelle Peale's After the Bath
. She was prickly and often defensive, assertive and opinionated. These qualities brought her independence and financial security; they also led to loneliness and an ungraceful decline. Most interesting in Pollock's account are Halpert's difficult interactions with others in the business and with her artists, particularly Alfred Stieglitz and Georgia O'Keeffe. It's surprising that Halpert, who paved the way for women in a male-dominated field, is so little known today; this book is long overdue. 8 pages of color photos, 28 b&w photos. (Nov. 6)
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*Starred Review* Without visionary art dealers, radical artists would remain starving artists. Edith Gregor Halpert was one such champion. In her resounding first book, art journalist Pollock tells for the first time the story of Halpert's life, a tale of conviction and chutzpah that is by turns charming, historically significant, and sad. Born in Odessa in 1900, Edith grew up in New York mad about art and utterly disinterested in convention. Determined to help struggling artists, this trailblazer traded on her beauty, moxie, keen eye, and entrepreneurial genius to open the first modern and politically charged art gallery in Greenwich Village in 1926. Advocating for the likes of Stuart Davis, Charles Sheeler, and Jacob Lawrence, Edith formed an unlikely but fruitful alliance with art lover Abby Aldrich Rockefeller. Instrumental in fostering serious appreciation for American folk art, Edith discovered many overlooked masterpieces, including the paintings of Edward Hicks. She also worked herself into exhaustion, especially during the Depression years, never found love, and infuriated many. Framed by a fresh and lively chronicle of the coalescence of New York's art world, Pollock's riveting portrait celebrates an inspired defender of artistic freedom. Donna SeamanCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved