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Sacred Monsters, Sacred Masters (edition 2002)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0679424903, Hardcover)From the scandalous murder trial of a French art dealer's widow to photographer-designer Cecil Beaton's peculiar "romance" with Greta Garbo, this sinfully entertaining book lets readers brush up on 20th-century cultural history and the vagaries of human nature at the same time. While we wait for volume III of John Richardson's acclaimed Life of Picasso, the 28 sketches assembled here make an agreeable diversion, revealing Richardson's lighter side and formidable knowledge of art history. Admiring portraits of Chilean collector Eugenia Errazuriz ("Picasso's Other Mother") and British painter Lucian Freud are among the very few laudatory pieces in a collection notable for its enjoyable emphasis on the less edifying traits of the rich and/or famous. The Sitwells were spiteful mythomaniacs. Armand Hammer was "a veteran con man." As for the sexual proclivities of Salvador Dalí and his wife Gala... well, Richardson gives you all the gory details, some of which would have impressed the Marquis de Sade. Richardson appears as a character in several pieces: he worked for Hammer, spent a summer with Truman Capote in Venice, and sat for a portrait by Andy Warhol. But these appearances seldom seem self-aggrandizing; they're integrated into the essays with the same smoothness that distinguishes his prose. --Wendy Smith
(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:28:24 -0400)
"Insightful and opinionated, erudite and amusing, this collection by the author of A Life of Picasso is a marvelously eclectic mix of essays on artists and writers, tastemakers and tycoons. These pieces, each illustrated with a photograph or artwork, were selected by the author because they are about people he has known or would like to have known - or simply because their subjects' genius or quirkiness particularly intrigued him."--BOOK JACKET.
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