THE YELLOW HOUSE

VINCENT VAN GOGH AND PAUL GAUGUIN SIDE BY SIDE

Post-Impressionists Van Gogh and Gauguin were two prodigiously talented painters whose short-lived collaboration (less than three full months in the late fall of 1888) was both astonishingly productive and fraught with conflict. Each artist had a highly individual vision, a powerful personality, and vastly different aesthetics. Rubin (There Goes the Neighborhood, p. 871, etc.) and Smith (Circus Train, not reviewed, etc.) have collaborated on this informed and engaging survey that’s well-timed to complement a show on the unique “Studio of the South” at the Art Institute of Chicago this fall. Vincent moved to Arles in the spring of 1888 and set up his studio in a sun-yellow house. He wanted another painter to join him in Provence and asked his brother Theo to convince Paul Gauguin to come to Arles. They were an artistic odd couple. Vincent was messy and impulsive. He worked plein aire and favored a quick, direct method of painting. He loaded his brushes with paint—some right out of the tube. Gauguin favored preliminary studies and careful, slow, detailed rendering. He preferred to work and rework his canvases in the studio. Artistic and personality differences coupled with Van Gogh’s increasing mental instability doomed the partnership. That notwithstanding, both painters work was infused with new vitality and greater power. This well-conceived introduction includes nearly a dozen fascinating pairings by Van Gogh and Gauguin, paintings of the same or similar subjects: Madame Ginoux, portraits of their own rush-seated chairs, landscapes. Smith’s own well-crafted watercolor paintings add welcome harmony to the painters’ dissonant relationship and make the book into a comprehensible, enjoyable whole. (author’s note, artist’s note, bibliography, art credits, brief biographies) (Nonfiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 30, 2001

ISBN: 0-8109-4588-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2001

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MY HAVANA

MEMORIES OF A CUBAN BOYHOOD

Mirroring the career he eventually entered, architect Fernandez builds up, like one of Havana’s ornate structures, memories of childhood in his pre- and post-Castro hometown. A gifted illustrator, he drew constantly, easily rendering even minute architectural details. Before emigrating to New York City, young “Dino” and his family moved first to Madrid to assist relatives. Discovering a dictatorship that wasn’t much different from the one they’d left in Cuba, the family returned home and then finally moved to the United States. Havana was never far from his mind, and art brought solace. So homesick was Dino in Manhattan that he actually “built” a cardboard replica of Havana that captured the colors and warmth he remembered. This fictionalized memoir is for the contemplative reader and anyone who has felt out of place or yearned for a beloved home; it could serve as a catalyst for creative expression. Wells has chosen anecdotes wisely, and Ferguson’s illustrations are atmospheric, capturing Dino’s childlike enthusiasm and longing. An author’s note reveals how Wells came to know of and be inspired by Fernandez’s story. (Fiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-7636-4305-8

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2010

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Several unexpected connections, though Eurocentric overall and lacking in racial diversity.

HEAD TO HEAD

18 LINKED PORTRAITS OF PEOPLE WHO CHANGED THE WORLD

Renowned achievers go nose-to-nose on fold-out pages.

Mixing contemporary celebrities with historical figures, Corbineau pairs off his gallery of full-page portraits by theme, the images all reworked from photos or prints into cut-paper collages with highly saturated hues. Gandhi and Rosa Parks exemplify nonviolent protest; Mother Teresa and Angelina Jolie are (mostly) commended for their work with impoverished people; and a “common point” between Gutenberg and Mark Zuckerberg is that both revolutionized the ways we communicate. The portraits, on opposite ends of gatefolds, open to reveal short biographies flanking explanatory essays. Women and people of color are distinctly underrepresented. There are a few surprises, such as guillotined French playwright Olympe de Gouges, linked for her feminism with actress Emma Watson; extreme free-fall jumper Felix Baumgartner, paired with fellow aerialist record-seeker Amelia Earhart; and Nelson Mandela’s co–freedom fighter Jean Moulin, a leader of the French Resistance. In another departure from the usual run of inspirational panegyrics, Cornabas slips in the occasional provocative claim, noting that many countries considered Mandela’s African National Congress a terrorist organization and that Mother Teresa, believing that suffering was “a gift from God,” rarely gave her patients painkillers. Although perhaps only some of these subjects “changed the world” in any significant sense, all come off as admirable—for their ambition, strength of character, and drive.

Several unexpected connections, though Eurocentric overall and lacking in racial diversity. (map, timeline) (Collective biography. 8-11)

Pub Date: Nov. 28, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-7643-6226-2

Page Count: 84

Publisher: Schiffer

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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