A beautifully produced introduction to a celebrated artist.

EDVARD MUNCH

AN INNER LIFE

Norway's most lauded modernist reinvented his aesthetic aims throughout his long career.

Edvard Munch (1863-1944), famous for his haunting work The Scream, produced nearly 1,800 paintings and thousands of drawings, etchings, prints, sculpture, and photographs. In the 1950s, New York’s Museum of Modern Art mounted an extensive traveling exhibition of his works, and in 1963, the Munch Museum in Oslo opened on the centennial of his birth. Although Munch has been the subject of much scholarship, art historian and museum curator Ustvedt saw the need for an introduction addressed to general readers. He amply succeeds in this insightful, vibrant overview of Munch’s life and prolific oeuvre, deftly translated by McCullough and illustrated with a wealth of images. The author traces Munch’s development beginning in the 1880s, when he broke with past traditions and “successfully positioned himself as a radical revolutionary.” Munch identified an early painting, The Sick Child, as an artistic breakthrough: an effort to capture “the fleeting mood” of the sickroom with bold, layered brush strokes, streaming light, and blurred details. Throughout the 1890s, Munch became part of a circle of bohemian intellectuals in Paris and Berlin. An Artists’ Association exhibition in Berlin, however, scandalized some critics, who derided his paintings as “sloppy and unfinished” and not “morally edifying.” Munch welcomed the scandal, soon mounting his own exhibition—for which he charged an entry fee. Ustvedt recounts Munch’s doomed love affairs, mental breakdown, and artistic frustrations, all feeding works that evoked—with swirling movement, brash colors, and ghostly images—“the emotional rather than the rational”: anxiety, vulnerability, and “the inner life of the soul.” Though receptive to the “sensibilities of the age,” Munch delved deeply into his psyche, believing that art must be “forced into being by a man’s compulsion to open his heart. All art…must be created with one’s lifeblood.”

A beautifully produced introduction to a celebrated artist. (130 illustrations)

Pub Date: July 9, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-500-29576-2

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: April 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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For Patterson fans who can’t get enough.

THE DEFENSE LAWYER

THE BARRY SLOTNICK STORY

The Patterson publishing machine clanks its way into the nonfiction aisles in this lumbering courtroom drama.

Barry Slotnick made a considerable fortune and reputation as a defense attorney who had a long list of controversial clients, including mob boss John Gotti and Panamanian strongman Manuel Noriega. An “urbane lawyer known for his twenty-five-hundred-dollar Fioravanti suits, he was not unacquainted with violence,” write Patterson and Wallace. One of his early cases, indeed, involved a group of Jewish Defense League members who allegedly blew up a Broadway producer’s office, killing a woman who worked there. Slotnick’s defense was a standard confuse-the-jury ploy, but it worked. He put similar tactics to work in his defense of Bernhard Goetz, the “subway shooter” whose trial made international news. The authors open after that trial had concluded in yet another Slotnick win, and with a sensational incident: He was attacked by a masked man who beat him with a baseball bat. The evidence is sketchy, but it seems to place the attack in the hands of organized crime—perhaps even Gotti himself. No matter: Slotnick, “who saw himself as the foe of the all-powerful government” and “liberty’s last champion,” was soon back to representing clients including Radovan Karadžić, the murderous Bosnian Serb who was eventually imprisoned for having committed genocide; Dewi Sukarno, the widow of Indonesia’s similarly bloodstained president, “arrested for slashing the face of a fellow socialite with a broken champagne glass at a party in Aspen”; and Melania Trump, who had chosen Slotnick “to handle her prenup.” In the hands of a John Grisham, the story might have come to life, but while Patterson does a serviceable if cliché-ridden job of recounting Slotnick’s career, he fails to give readers much reason to admire the man.

For Patterson fans who can’t get enough.

Pub Date: Dec. 20, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-316-49437-3

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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