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Restless Ambition: Grace Hartigan, Painter (Hardback)
  • Restless Ambition: Grace Hartigan, Painter (Hardback)
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Restless Ambition: Grace Hartigan, Painter (Hardback)

(author)
£27.99
Hardback 432 Pages / Published: 30/04/2015
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This first-ever biography of American painter Grace Hartigan traces her rise from virtually self-taught painter to art-world fame, her plunge into obscurity after leaving New York to marry a scientist in Baltimore, and her constant efforts to reinvent her style and subject matter. Along the way, there were multiple affairs, four troubled marriages, a long battle with alcoholism, and a chilly relationship with her only child. Attempting to channel her vague ambitions after an early marriage, Grace struggled to master the basics of drawing in night-school classes. She moved to New York in her early twenties and befriended Willem de Kooning, Jackson Pollock, and other artists who were pioneering Abstract Expressionism. Although praised for the coloristic brio of her abstract paintings, she began working figuratively, a move that was much criticized but ultimately vindicated when the Museum of Modern Art purchased her painting The Persian Jacket in 1953. By the mid-fifties, she freely combined abstract and representational elements. Grace-who signed her paintings "Hartigan"- was a full-fledged member of the "men's club" that was the 1950s art scene. Featured in Time, Newsweek, Life, and Look, she was the only woman in MoMA's groundbreaking 12 Americans exhibition in 1956, and the youngest artist-and again, only woman-in The New American Painting, which toured Europe in 1958-1959. Two years later she moved to Baltimore, where she became legendary for her signature tough-love counsel to her art school students. Grace continued to paint throughout her life, seeking-for better or worse-something truer and fiercer than beauty.

Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
ISBN: 9780199394500
Number of pages: 432
Weight: 734 g
Dimensions: 242 x 163 x 33 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
Curtis's biography capture the mute stubbornness involved in persisting with life, despite its many disappointments. * Jenni Quilter, London Review of Books *
This spirited biography is the first to chart the career of Abstract Expressionist Hartigan (1922-2008), a painter with as much swagger as any of her male peers...an accessible portrait of a gutsy AbEx figure. * Publishers Weekly *
A fascinating look at the life of Grace Hartigan, a tough Abstract Expressionist woman artist who drank with the best of the men and had a sexual appetite that equaled the alcohol. Ambitious, driven and wrestling inner demons she abandons her only child for what she believed to be necessary for her life as an artist. Cathy Curtis deals with it all in her inclusive and well documented book. * Audrey Flack *
Cathy Curtis brings us a driven, determined, and dedicated Grace Hartigan who, as a rebellious young artist, attained a rare degree of success in the 1950s among the male abstract expressionist painters of the New York School. This expertly researched biography gives us a vivid, insightful, and fascinating glimpse into the world of the well-known artists and writers-including Willem de Kooning, Jackson Pollock, and Frank O'Hara-whom Hartigan knew so well. * Laurie Lisle , author of Portrait of an Artist: A Biography of Georgia O'Keeffe, and Louise Nevelson: A Passionate Life *
At last, a life of the incomparable Grace! Cathy Curtis's biography is as colorful, tough-minded, and incisive as Hartigan's work at its best. * Patricia Albers, author of Joan Mitchell, Lady Painter: A Life *

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