Peggy Guggenheim

Avant-Garde Persuasions
March 29, 2012

The Steins Collect Metropolitan Museum of Art   Van Gogh: Up Close Philadelphia Museum of Art   Van Gogh: The Life By Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith (Random House, 953 pp., $40) Nobody in the history of culture has known more about the art of persuasion than the avant-garde painters, sculptors, writers, composers, choreographers, and impresarios who transformed European art from the end of the nineteenth century to the middle of the twentieth century.

The Opportunist
October 20, 2010

Leo and His Circle: The Life of Leo Castelli By Annie Cohen-Solal (Alfred A. Knopf, 540 pp., $35) I. Annie Cohen-Solal’s new biography of Leo Castelli, the art dealer who will forever be associated with the meteoric rise of Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg in the years around 1960, has set me to thinking about the interest that men and women who run galleries inspire among a fairly wide public.

Being and Laziness
January 29, 2007

Oblomov By Ivan Goncharov Translated by Stephen Pearl (Bunim & Banigan, 443 pp., $45) I. Anyone with a claim to literacy is familiar with the names of Tolstoy, Turgenev, and Dostoevsky, and can cite some of the titles of their most famous works. But Goncharov and his novel Oblomov, of which a new translation, a snappily colloquial and readable one, has just been published—who ever heard of them? Well, Beckett for one, who was told to read Oblomov by his mistress Peggy Guggenheim, and soon signed some of his letters to her with this cognomen.