A Generous Vision
The first biography of Elaine de Kooning, A Generous Vision portrays a woman whose intelligence, droll sense of humor, and generosity of spirit endeared her to friends and gave her a starring role in the close-knit world of New York artists. Her zest for adventure and freewheeling spending were as legendary as her ever-present cigarette. Flamboyant and witty in person, she was an incisive art writer who expressed maverick opinions in a deceptively casual style. As a painter, she melded Abstract Expressionism with a lifelong interest in bodily movement to capture subjects as diverse as President John F. Kennedy, basketball players, and bullfights. In her romantic life, she went her own way, always keen for male attention. But she credited her husband, Willem de Kooning, as her greatest influence; rather than being overshadowed by his fame, she worked "in his light." Nearly two decades after their separation, after finally embracing sobriety herself, she returned to his side to rescue him from severe alcoholism. Based on painstaking research and dozens of interviews, A Generous Vision brings to life a leading figure of twentieth-century art who lived a full and fascinating life on her own terms.

A Generous Vision Details

TitleA Generous Vision
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseOct 2nd, 2017
PublisherOxford University Press, USA
ISBN-139780190498474
Rating
GenreBiography, History, Art

A Generous Vision Review

  • Regina Stevens
    January 1, 1970
    Although I love the title "a generous vision" I was quite disappointed with the overall level of writing in this disorganized accounting of the life and times of the creative force that was Elaine DeKooning. Cathy Curtis falls short in her strictly fact based approach, with confusing scattered timelines and often inaccurate, careless accounting of dates. I would highly recommend the much more engaging character study by Lee Hall "Elaine and Bill" which Curtis tellingly has chosen to disparage in Although I love the title "a generous vision" I was quite disappointed with the overall level of writing in this disorganized accounting of the life and times of the creative force that was Elaine DeKooning. Cathy Curtis falls short in her strictly fact based approach, with confusing scattered timelines and often inaccurate, careless accounting of dates. I would highly recommend the much more engaging character study by Lee Hall "Elaine and Bill" which Curtis tellingly has chosen to disparage in her notes. I gave this book only 3 stars because although I was disappointed with her dry and at times judgmental writing, there are many interesting details to be gleaned from the text if one hangs in there. On the plus side Curtis offers color plates and photographs as a reference to some of the work and times mentioned in the text. I did find the gathering of facts on the Kennedy portrait somewhat organized and interesting and Curtis does manage to impart accounts of Elaine's unselfish generosity and forward thinking which incidentally deeply affected my own life. It was at Elaine's suggestion in 1985 that my husband and I became Grace Hartigan's live in assistants which we remained until the time of her death. Overall, however sub par Curtis' attempt to captivate this reader, I must recommend this book because it is a reminder of Elaine's remarkable part in the history of Art in America, and that is a story that deserves to be told .
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