Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $4.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
Leo and His Circle: The Life of Leo Castelli Hardcover – Deckle Edge, May 18, 2010
|New from||Used from|
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Pioneering gallery owner Leo Castelli (1907–1999) arrived in New York City in 1941 and opened a gallery 15 years later, at the age of 50. He reigned over New York's art world, with the Castelli Gallery the leading center of new American art and a lively meeting place for artists and critics including Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, and James Rosenquist. In this first major biography, Cohen-Solal (Sartre: A Life) deftly integrates European cultural history (beginning with Castelli's Jewish merchant ancestors) with Castelli's intellectual, personal, and professional evolution. Cohen-Solal writes with energy, wit, and aplomb, and though she was a friend of Castelli's, she maintains a balanced critical distance, pointing to his initial misjudgment of Andy Warhol's genius, his perpetually complicated love life (with numerous mistresses and multiple marriages), his often frustratingly high standards and constant need for reassurance. Yet Castelli emerges as a rare individual: a magnanimous lover of art. Cohen-Solal's biography fleshes out not only a fascinating portrait of Castelli but also the excitement of the developing American art world to which he was so central. 111 illus.; 4 maps. (May 19)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
*Starred Review* When New York City became the capital of the global art world, gallery owner Leo Castelli was king. Cosmopolitan and ardent, he was a “master tastemaker” and an “impresario-cum-dervish” who resoundingly elevated contemporary American art and transformed the international art market. But who was he before he opened his first gallery at age 50? What “made him tick”? Cohen-Solal, author of a major Sartre biography, is the first to track down Castelli’s fascinating and heartbreaking Jewish family history, with its long line of consummate merchants and deep roots in Hungarian shtetl life and Viennese culture. Castelli grew up in Trieste and would have perished in the Holocaust if his commanding father-in-law hadn’t engineered an escape to New York. There Castelli’s wealthy wife (later the famed gallery owner Ileana Sonnabend) supported his innovative approach to working with artists. Cohen-Solal writes with passionate intensity and poetic precision about the people and places, tragedies and good fortune that shaped Castelli and fed his hunger for life and devotion to cutting-edge art. She also establishes a remarkably vivid cultural context for the artists, beginning with Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg, Castelli zealously and shrewdly championed. Cohen-Solal has created an invaluable, magnificently encompassing, and compelling biography of extraordinary scope, energy, and feeling. --Donna Seaman
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).
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.
Is there justification for the emphasis on the subject's early roots? Depends on the questions which you, the individual reader, pose to the author. If your set of questions includes, how did a person come onto the scene as art dealer who had the personality and skills of Leo Castelli, then her approach is justified. Only with some understanding of the distinctive experiences imposed on the Jewish community, Jewish banking and commercial leaders, and this particular Jewish boy and man, can one get some clues as to how this novice of 50, with almost no Capital in his own name, could nurture and achieve recognition for a group of artists who, in previous periods, would have been only peripheral to art history.
It is my acceptance of this premise that underlies my judgment that this is an essential book for any amateur or professional art historian interested in twentieth century Art. A coincidence of various interests of mine made the approach particularly apt; however, some may find the earlier years over-stressed. They may want only Leo Castelli, owner of a NYC gallery. For them, the earlier years may seem to be over-emphasized. So be it.
Still, there is no other source for the NYC Leo Castelli, so this book is essential for them, too.
How about the reader who has no particularly interest in the art world but is rather a devotee of biography itself (as many are). I am less certain in my advice for them. On the whole, however, I should think most of its elements will be of general interest. As I say, I can only be tentative in such advice.