Book Reviews

Man With a Blue Scarf

September 1, 2010

Man With a Blue Scarf On Sitting for a Portrait by Lucian Freud By Martin Gayford In 1980 James Lord published a slender book called A Giacometti Portrait. It detailed his experience of sitting for a portrait by Alberto Giacometti, whose biography he would write five years later. The book struck a chord with readers … More


Still Life / Frank Hurley’s Antarctica

September 1, 2010

STILL LIFE: Inside the Antarctic Huts of Scott and Shackleton Photography by Jane Ussher, Essays by Nigel Watson   FRANK HURLEY’S ANTARCTICA By Helen Ennis When Picador decided to issue a series called Travel Classics in the mid 1990s, their first volume was Apsley Cherry-Garrard’s The Worst Journey in the World. Cherry-Garrard was a zoologist … More


Brett Whiteley: A Sensual Line 1957-67

June 1, 2010

Brett Whiteley: A Sensual Line 1957-67 By Kathie Sutherland Looking through a recent auction catalogue I was struck by the estimate given for a picture of a blue and white bird by Brett Whiteley. This attractive but undoubtedly minor work is expected to sell for $500,000-$700,000 – a ludicrous sum for a painting that would … More


Russell Drysdale

December 1, 2009

Russell Drysdale By Lou Klepac Lou Klepac’s weighty monograph on Russell Drysdale was first issued in 1983, less than two years after the artist’s death in June 1981. I remember reviewing that volume for a student newspaper, regretting that I never had the chance to meet the artist. At that time the book seemed like … More


Vincent Van Gogh: The Letters

November 1, 2009

Vincent Van Gogh – The Letters. The Complete Illustrated and Annotated Edition. Leo Jansen, Hans Luitjen & Nienke Bakker eds. “For the present I feel calmer than last year, and the turmoil in my head has really abated so much.” These words are taken from the last letter Vincent Van Gogh wrote to his mother … More


I Blame Duchamp: My Life’s Adventures in Art

October 1, 2009

I Blame Duchamp: My Life’s Adventures in Art By Edmund Capon This is not the book many people have been expecting. After more than thirty years as director of the Art Gallery of NSW it might seem that Edmund Capon has earned the right to publish a lively, candid, slightly scandalous memoir. There is a … More


Fairweather

March 1, 2009

FAIRWEATHER By Murray Bail At what point does a revised edition become a different book? Novelist Murray Bail published the first version of this monograph on Ian Fairweather in 1981. It became an instant classic, partly due to the extraordinary nature of the artist’s life, partly because of Bail’s engaging prose – so very different … More