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Summer Favorites for Art Collectors — Blue Heron Fine Art Blog

Summer Favorites for Art Collectors

by Jim Puzinas on August 12, 2009

I am a big book reader. I would like to share  with  readers  some of my favorite books that involve art.  With plenty of summer left for beach reading, any of the books below will expand your understanding of the art world and entertain at the same time. At the end, I have even included a spy thriller, that involves a world class art conservator as the hero. Just perfect for whiling away a lazy afternoon. Enjoy!

For Art Collectors

duveenFrom Publishers Weekly
No one played the high-stakes game of buying and selling Old Masters better than Joseph Duveen, later Lord Duveen of Millbank, who dominated the world art market during the 1920s and ’30s. Using the Duveen Brothers’ archives, recently made public, biographer Secrest (Being Bernard Berenson) delves into the history of the storied firm, chronicling the career of the audacious entrepreneur who headed it during its heyday, selling Rembrandts, Titians and other costly artworks to the likes of Andrew Mellon, J.P. Morgan and Henry Clay Frick.

My comment:
Fascinating read about the man who ruled the art trade and his practices.  He was quite the character!



dekooningrFrom Publishers Weekly
This sweeping biography, 10 years in the making, chronicles in fastidious detail de Kooning’s rise from his humble beginnings in Rotterdam to his fame as an abstract expressionist. This comprehensive biography, which attempts to explain de Kooning’s art through a careful catalogue of his personal life, is a must read for his admirers.

My comment:
They say truth is stranger than fiction, and it is in this case. Some of the stories are so rich with detail that it rivals the best of novels. Very well written.




Lively, scholarly, beautifully illustrated study of the 8 artists who brought a compelling new realism to American painting, 1870 to 1913: Robert Henri, John Sloan, William Glackens, Arthur B. Davies, George Luks, Ernest Lawson, Everett Shinn, Maurice B. Prendergast. This is the true story of the men in the forefront of the struggle to establish the first truly American movement  in art.

 My comment:
A must read for anyone wishing to understand  the dynamics of the changing styles that led away from traditional painting of the 19th century and up to the modernist movement and the famous  Armory Show of 1913!



Finally, a great spy thriller.

The death of a journalist leads Israeli spy Gabriel Allon to Russia, where he finds that, in terms of spycraft, even he has something to learn if he wants to prevent a former KGB colonel from delivering Russia’s most sophisticated weapons to al-Qaeda. 

Allon’s cover is as a fine art conservator who shares details about how forgeries are made and also takes us through the creation of a fake Mary Cassatt to be used to break up the weapons trade! Well researched and fast paced!

Highly recommended.


Robin Maria Pedrero August 12, 2009 at 7:15 pm

I am reading deKooning and enjoying the descriptive writing, so full of depth. I will put these others on my list.

Jim Puzinas August 12, 2009 at 8:26 pm

In presenting some of the gallery paintings, I find I often to refer to many of these books. They not only are well written, but are books that capture an historical element of American painting, something lost in more contemporary treatments of the same subject. I could read them all again and still learn more, all of course, with the exception of the spy thriller, since I already know how it ends!
Thanks for posting your comments, Robin.

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