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Old 11-07-2017, 10:39 PM
goldensun goldensun is online now
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Have you already read the biography of a painter?

I've read half a dozen biographies but none of them were from a painter. I would like to know which biographies of painters you have read and which one you liked best. Thank you in advance for your recommendations.
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Old 11-08-2017, 12:13 AM
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Re: Have you already read the biography of a painter?

I haven't read any, but if I had to choose one, it would be Pollock. He was a very unexceptional man, full of flaws... but with art, he was a force of nature. He did what he wanted to do, he was far from an academic and certainly he was not some polymath who "painted on the side"... actually, art was his life. That's something I can admire.
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Old 11-08-2017, 02:36 AM
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Re: Have you already read the biography of a painter?

am sort of reading dali's book on dali, by dali
he's pretty weird

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Old 11-08-2017, 05:50 AM
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Re: Have you already read the biography of a painter?

I read Jackson Pollok, Lucian Freud, Frida Kahlo ....
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Old 11-08-2017, 10:36 AM
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Re: Have you already read the biography of a painter?

I liked Dear Theo (Van Gogh)
and Lust for Life (also Van Gogh).
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Old 11-08-2017, 11:11 AM
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Re: Have you already read the biography of a painter?

I have read lots of biographies of artists, including several about Van Gogh and several more about Picasso.

And every time I read through such a book and look at the reproductions of the art work, I feel like an idiot and an impostor. Perhaps I should quit reading artists' biographies. :-)
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Old 11-08-2017, 04:44 PM
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Re: Have you already read the biography of a painter?

The following books are not biographies but I found them very interesting because they contain less known information about various artists:

Private View: The Secret Lives of the World's Great Artists by Alexandra Connor

Secret Lives of Great Artists: What Your Teachers Never Told You About Master Painters and Sculptors by Elizabeth Lunday

Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Currey


The third book is about creative people in general, not just visual artists.
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Old 11-08-2017, 06:53 PM
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Re: Have you already read the biography of a painter?

I read a bio of Michelangelo awhile back that was interesting, but don't recall the title. Same with one of Leonardo.
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Old 11-08-2017, 08:25 PM
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Re: Have you already read the biography of a painter?

I was excited when Van Gogh: The Life came out in 2012. Because it was so long - the paperback is 976 pages - I only browsed through it.
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Old 11-08-2017, 10:45 PM
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Re: Have you already read the biography of a painter?

Quote:
Originally Posted by opainter
I was excited when Van Gogh: The Life came out in 2012. Because it was so long - the paperback is 976 pages - I only browsed through it.

It would take longer to read than Van Gogh actually lived. :-)
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Old 11-08-2017, 11:14 PM
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Re: Have you already read the biography of a painter?

I’ve read quite a few; I think my favourite is Schama’s book on Rembrandt, “Rembrandt’s Eyes”. It’s well researched and well written. As a bonus, about a third of it covers Rubens’ life as well.
There’s others I’ve enjoyed quite a bit as well, like Jack Lindsay’s biographies of Cezanne and Courbet, and Shikes’ & Harper’s Pissarro. Derek Wilson’s bio of Hans Holbein is also a good read. T.J. Clark’s bio of Courbet is also worthwhile, as is Sweetman’s Paul Gauguin.
What I liked about these books (as well as many others) is that the authors give not just the artist’s life (and work), but they also provide a strong sense of the social and artistic context of their subject.
FWIW, perhaps one of the worst biographies I’ve read is Robert Hughes’ bio of Goya. Hughes was usually a delightful writer, and Goya was a superb artist, but alas the book seemed to concentrate more on Hughes than Goya . Janis Tomlinson’s Goya I found to be much better.
And before I forget - Maurice de Vlaminck’s autobiography Dangerous Corner. It’s been years since I read it, and I can’t find my copy, but I do remember really enjoying it, the guy was entertainingly crazy.
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Last edited by caldwell.brobeck : 11-08-2017 at 11:17 PM.
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Old 11-08-2017, 11:32 PM
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Re: Have you already read the biography of a painter?

double post, sorry

Last edited by goldensun : 11-08-2017 at 11:43 PM.
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Old 11-08-2017, 11:36 PM
goldensun goldensun is online now
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Re: Have you already read the biography of a painter?

What a fantastic collection! I've already taken note, I'll go to the library and bookstore tomorrow to see what I can find, thank you very much.
I also never watched a movie about the life of a painter, which ones do you recommend? I'm also looking for audios related to art so I can listen as I'm painting, any suggestions?
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Old 11-09-2017, 06:17 AM
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Re: Have you already read the biography of a painter?

Movies I like: Andrey Rublev (1966), El Greco (1966), Gauguin (1986), Rembrandt (1936), Schalcken the Painter (1979). The last one is a horror movie, but I like the first 30 minutes or so because it seems to portray the life of a painter more realistically than most movies.
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Last edited by eonworks : 11-09-2017 at 06:37 AM.
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Old 11-09-2017, 12:37 PM
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Re: Have you already read the biography of a painter?

eonworks - I quite agree re. Andrei Rublev; I was going to put that at the head of my list once our power got restored (lost it last night).
Colin has already mentioned Lust for Life; I assume with reference to Irving Stone's book - but I also recommend the movie. Kirk Douglas as van Gogh, Anthony Quinn as Gauguin, James Donald as Theo, were all wonderful even if the first two are known as real 'scene-chewers' Another interesting film from the same era is John Huston's Moulin Rouge (1952), with José Ferrer as Lautrec.

There's also Carol Reed's The Agony and the Ecstasy, a biopic of Michelangelo, also based on an Irving Stone book of the same name, starring Charlton Heston. I've never seen it, nor read the book, just thought I'd pass them along.

Other movies on artists I have enjoyed were:
Vincent and Theo, about the van Goghs
Goya's Ghosts, about Goya
Oviri (Wolf at the Door) - about Gauguin,
Frida - about Frida Kahlo,
Montparnasse 19 - Modigliani
Caravaggio (2007), an Italian made-for-TV film about Caravaggio
Georgia O'Keefe, this made-for-TV biopic of Georgia O'Keefe is beautifully done, and (unlike many films) historical accuracy was an important aspect of the film...

Most of the movies are somewhat-to-heavily fictionalized, but generally well done as films.

Of course there's also some good straight fictional movies about art and artists as well.
Scarlet Street - by Fritz Lang, starring Edward G. Robinson
Art School Confidential - best part is seeing John Malkovich as a somewhat degenerate art prof.....
(Untitled)(2009) - I think someone here (perhaps musket?) recommended this to me, it's pretty good;
The Horse's Mouth - this is my all time favourite film. It's based on the Joyce Cary novel of the same name, which is also worth reading.

(all the above links are to Wikipedia articles).

Cheers;
Chris
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