Mistress of Modernism: The Life of Peggy Guggenheim

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The life story of the bohemian socialite who rebelled against her famous family and became a renowned art collector.

Peggy Guggenheim was the ultimate self-invented woman, a cultural mover and shaker who broke away from her poor-little-rich-girl origins to shape a life for herself as the enfant terrible of the art world. Her visionary Art of This Century gallery in New York, which brought together the European surrealist artists with the American abstract expressionists, was an epoch-shaking “happening” at the center of its time.
 
In Mistress of Modernism, Mary V. Dearborn draws upon her unprecedented access to the Guggenheim family, friends, and papers to craft a “thorough biography . . . [that] will appeal to art lovers interested in more than the paint” (Publishers Weekly). “With drive and clarity, Dearborn charts Guggenheim’s peripatetic life,” offering rich insight into Peggy’s traumatic childhood in German-Jewish “Our Crowd” New York, her self-education in the ways of art and artists, her caustic battles with other art-collecting Guggenheims, and her legendary sexual appetites (her lovers included Max Ernst, Samuel Beckett, and Marcel Duchamp, to name just a few) (Booklist). Here too is a poignant portrait of Peggy’s last years as l’ultima dogaressa—the last (female) doge—in her palazzo in Venice, where her collection still draws thousands of visitors every year.
 
Mistress of Modernism is the first definitive biography of Peggy Guggenheim, whose wit, passion, and provocative legacy Dearborn brings compellingly to life.
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About the author

Mary V. Dearborn is the author of Mailer: A Biography, as well as biographies of Henry Miller, John Dewey, Anzia Yezierska, and Louise Bryant. Dearborn holds a doctorate in English and comparative literature from Columbia University, where she was a Mellon Fellow in the Humanities. She lives in New York.
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Additional Information

Publisher
HMH
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Published on
Sep 15, 2004
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Pages
400
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ISBN
9780547523767
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Language
English
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Genres
Antiques & Collectibles / Art
Art / History / Modern (late 19th Century to 1945)
Biography & Autobiography / Artists, Architects, Photographers
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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In Bad Boy, renowned American artist Eric Fischl has written a penetrating, often searing exploration of his coming of age as an artist, and his search for a fresh narrative style in the highly charged and competitive New York art world in the 1970s and 1980s. With such notorious and controversial paintings as Bad Boy and Sleepwalker, Fischl joined the front ranks of America artists, in a high-octane downtown art scene that included Andy Warhol, David Salle, Julian Schnabel, and others. It was a world of fashion, fame, cocaine and alcohol that for a time threatened to undermine all that Fischl had achieved.

In an extraordinarily candid and revealing memoir, Fischl discusses the impact of his dysfunctional family on his art—his mother, an imaginative and tragic woman, was an alcoholic who ultimately took her own life. Following his years as a student at Cal Arts and teaching in Nova Scotia, he describes his early years in New York with the artist April Gornik, just as Wall Street money begins to encroach on the old gallery system and change the economics of the art world. Fischl rebelled against the conceptual and minimalist art that was in fashion at the time to paint compelling portraits of everyday people that captured the unspoken tensions in their lives. Still in his thirties, Eric became the subject of a major Vanity Fair interview, his canvases sold for as much as a million dollars, and The Whitney Museum mounted a major retrospective of his paintings.
 
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The tumultuous and heartbreaking life of a world-famous model whose riveting story of beauty, fame, passion, murder, and madness in the Gilded Age captivated a nation.

As America was stepping into the modern era, one great beauty became the artist’s model of choice. Her perfect form became the emblem of the Gilded Age and appears on the greatest monuments of New York and the nation. Supermodel, actress, icon—her beauty paved the way for a life of glamour, passion, and ultimately tragedy. She dated the millionaires of the fashionable Newport colony, became the first American movie star ever to appear naked in a film, but her promising film career collapsed, her doctor fell in love with her and killed his own wife, and on her fortieth birthday, her mother committed her to an insane asylum. She remained there until her death in 1996 at the age of 104 and is now buried in an unmarked grave. Her name is Audrey Munson.

Many readers will recognize Audrey Munson, and have walked by her in the street, without even knowing her name. She stands atop New York’s Municipal Building. She sits as “Miss Manhattan” and “Miss Brooklyn” outside the Brooklyn Museum, is immortalized on the Manhattan Bridge, the Frick Mansion, the New York Public Library, and the Pulitzer Fountain outside the Plaza Hotel. In gold, bronze, and stone, she still graces bridges, skyscrapers, fountains, churches, monuments, and public buildings across the nation, from Jacksonville to San Francisco, from Atlanta to the Wisconsin state capitol.

From James Bone, the former New York Bureau Chief of The Times of London, this brilliantly reported investigative biography reveals, for the first time, the riveting truth of the forgotten life of an iconic beauty.
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The spellbinding story, part fairy tale, part suspense, of Gustav Klimt’s Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer, one of the most emblematic portraits of its time; of the beautiful, seductive Viennese Jewish salon hostess who sat for it; the notorious artist who painted it; the now vanished turn-of-the-century Vienna that shaped it; and the strange twisted fate that befell it.
 
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