Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Cards and books-

My Christmas cards have arrived from Apple so now they have to be sent out. Some friends "voted" their choice and I'm going with "Poppies by the Fence" even though they are not exactly seasonal flowers. ... The Globe and Mail printed their choice of the 100 best books of 2011 and Eric Larsen's "In the Garden of Beasts" made the list. I didn't mention it in my last listing... not one artist in it...but it was an excellent slice of history as it is the true story of the American ambassador to Berlin just before WWII. His family's gradual awakening of what was really happening - and the deafness of Washington to what he had to tell them- gives a real sense of what life must have been like then. On the "art" list, I read the biography of Modigliani - and wrote a review on it for Amazon. I also found Constable Portraits by Martin Gayford and Anne Lyles very interesting as I had just never thought of Constable in terms of portrait painting. He was admired by Lucien Freud - which is high praise indeed. Freud said "I've always thought that it was completely loopy for people to go on about portrait painters, English portrait painters, and not to have Constable among them." Further, he added "There isn't a good painter of 'subjects' of one subject rather than any other. I mean, as a game you can say, perhaps, Gwen John was the best painter of cats (as she is) but with really good painters all their work is really good. You can't say 'this is a marvellous painter but don't look at the portraits' "

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