the next good book

Picasso’s War

By Hugh Eakin

9/10
(9/10)

468 pages

What’s it about?

This is a well-researched book on the modern art movement in America.  It focuses on the work of two individuals that were crucial in swaying the minds of the American art world.  In Part 1 of the book we meet John Quinn, an Irish American lawyer, who works tirelessly to bring notoriety to modern works from several European artists- Picasso among them.  Part 2 of the book focuses on the 1930’s and how Alfred Barr, the first director of MOMA, continues the push for recognition and appreciation of modern art in America. What did it make me think about? How much politics and culture influence how we view art.

Should I read it?

So, I initially thought this would be a book about Pablo Picasso.  It really was a book about bringing modern art to America.  Pablo Picasso is just the artist whose work was seen as being at the forefront of the modern movement.  The first part of the book focuses on John Quinn and his many contributions to the movement.  I found this part of the book interesting, but slower than the second half of the book.  The second half of the book is devoted to how the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) comes into being.  Alfred Barr plays a large role in Part 2 of the book.  Both sections of the book reflect on how the cultural and political psyche of a nation plays a part in being open to new and novel art. If you have any interest in art then I would rush to buy this book.  It was so well written and offers many insights into the changing art world at the beginning of the twentieth century.  Although I appreciate art, I did not think this book would appeal to me much. I did not take any art history classes in college and can’t say I knew too terribly much.  But this book is well-written, well-researched, and really informative. I came away with a lot of knowledge and am so glad I read it!

Quote-

“It was one of the more striking paradoxes of the early-twentieth century culture: The countries that were the leading champions of modern art and modern artists in the years before World War I would become, two decades later, their most violent antagonists.  In both Russia, and Germany, artists once embraced as apostles of the future would be punished and driven into exile.  Not a single one of the Picasso collections that Kahnweiler helped form in Germany would survive the Nazi period; in Russia, Shchukin’s Picassos and Matisses would disappear into government storerooms.  By then, it would be largely up to the United States, a nation that had begun the century indifferent, if not outright hostile, to modern art, to protect the work of Picasso and his contemporaries- if it still could.”

What’s it about?

This is a well-researched book on the modern art movement in America.  It focuses on the work of two individuals that were crucial in swaying the minds of the American art world.  In Part 1 of the book we meet John Quinn, an Irish American lawyer, who works tirelessly to bring notoriety to modern works from several European artists- Picasso among them.  Part 2 of the book focuses on the 1930’s and how Alfred Barr, the first director of MOMA, continues the push for recognition and appreciation of modern art in America.

What did it make me think about?

How much politics and culture influence how we view art.

Should I read it?

So, I initially thought this would be a book about Pablo Picasso.  It really was a book about bringing modern art to America.  Pablo Picasso is just the artist whose work was seen as being at the forefront of the modern movement.  The first part of the book focuses on John Quinn and his many contributions to the movement.  I found this part of the book interesting, but slower than the second half of the book.  The second half of the book is devoted to how the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) comes into being.  Alfred Barr plays a large role in Part 2 of the book.  Both sections of the book reflect on how the cultural and political psyche of a nation plays a part in being open to new and novel art. If you have any interest in art then I would rush to buy this book.  It was so well written and offers many insights into the changing art world at the beginning of the twentieth century.  Although I appreciate art, I did not think this book would appeal to me much. I did not take any art history classes in college and can’t say I knew too terribly much.  But this book is well-written, well-researched, and really informative. I came away with a lot of knowledge and am so glad I read it!

Quote-

“It was one of the more striking paradoxes of the early-twentieth century culture: The countries that were the leading champions of modern art and modern artists in the years before World War I would become, two decades later, their most violent antagonists.  In both Russia, and Germany, artists once embraced as apostles of the future would be punished and driven into exile.  Not a single one of the Picasso collections that Kahnweiler helped form in Germany would survive the Nazi period; in Russia, Shchukin’s Picassos and Matisses would disappear into government storerooms.  By then, it would be largely up to the United States, a nation that had begun the century indifferent, if not outright hostile, to modern art, to protect the work of Picasso and his contemporaries- if it still could.”

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