The Sound of Sleat: A Painter's Life

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9780312200152: The Sound of Sleat: A Painter's Life

The remarkable autobiography of an American artist's dreams, passions, and work

As an American abstract expressionist painter and early protege of Leo Castelli, Jon Schueler lived and worked among the country's most gifted artists: Clyfford Still, Mark Rothko, Helen Frankenthaler, Jackson Pollock, Willem De Kooning, Jasper Johns, and many others. Schueler was mysteriously driven to connect nature with a deeply personal passion. In the late 1950s, he travelled for the first time to Mallaig, a town in western Scotland on the Sound of Sleat, where the dramatic landscape inspired his art and continued to influence him throughout his career.

Over nearly thirty years, as he painted, Schueler worked on this book. In it, he struggled to define what it was that compelled him to paint and wrestled with a conflict that confronts all artists--how to strike a balance between the need to create in solitude and the desire for human intimacy. The Sound of Sleat tells the story of a passionate life and offers a fascinating look at the New York art world in the latter half of this century and an astonishing window on art, hope, despair, and creativity.

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Review:

It's hard to decide which aspect of painter Jon Schueler's painfully candid memoir is more fascinating: the unsparing depictions of his tormented relationships with women, or the nuts-and-bolts details of the art trade's byzantine financial dealings. In both cases, Schueler (1916-92) never minces words, nor does he let himself off the hook, since his unusual book includes the perspectives of lovers, collectors, and art dealers (via their letters to him) as well as his own (through correspondence and journal entries from 1957 through 1979). The painter is reticent concerning his aesthetic preoccupations, though the few words he writes about his feelings for nature, especially the wild coastline on Scotland's Sound of Sleat, are fervent and lucid. It's easy to see how Schueler came to be married five times and divorced four: his letters to women are seductively passionate, yet brutally honest about the fact that his first commitment will always be to his work. Color reproductions suggest that his art has been too glibly pigeonholed as "second-generation abstract expressionist," when in fact it has a luminous quality that transcends categorization. Leo Castelli and Willem de Kooning are among the many notables who make appearances, but this is one art-world memoir that doesn't rely on name-dropping for its punch. --Wendy Smith

From the Publisher:

"A self-reflexive memoir, [The Sound of Sleat] is one of those rare books that is necessarily greater than the sum of its parts. Despite that, and rarer still, the individual parts themselves are full of event and drama, are wonderfully revealing, are often very beautiful and sometimes darkly humorous. They're even at times downright sexy. In fact, one might say that The Sound of Sleat has almost too many aspects, too many parts: it is alternately obsessive, self-conscious, ruminative, and proud; it is lyrical, funny, poignant, and modest. It offers all these faces and more." --from the introduction by Russell Banks

"As in van Gogh's letters, here is a search for reality in life and art. But, beyond torment, Schueler's writings are also close in spirit to Delacroix's worldly and romantic journals. This self-portrait is of a remarkably complex, multitalented artist." --B.H. Friedman, author of Polygamist

"In a beautifully written memoir, Jon Schueler tells how it was to have been an avant-garde painter after World War II, how he felt and thought. The Sound of Sleat is a telling account of one artist's inner life, as well as a window on the world of Pollack, Still, Rothko, Kline, de Kooning, and others whose work still resonates today." --Irvin Sandler, author of The Triumph of American Painting: A History of Abstract Expressionism and Art of the Postmodern Era: From the Late 1960s to the Early 1990s

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Jon Schueler; Magda Salvesen (Editor); Diane Cousineau (Editor)
Published by St Martin's Press (1999)
ISBN 10: 0312200153 ISBN 13: 9780312200152
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Book Description St Martin's Press, 1999. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. Art (illustrator). 1st Edition. 8vo. Hardcover and dust jacket are in NEW CONDITION. 359pp. Introduction by Russell Banks. Section of his paintings in color. Bookseller Inventory # 000231

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Jon Schueler
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Book Description Picador, 1999. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0312200153

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Schueler, Jon
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Book Description Picador, 1999. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110312200153

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Jon Schueler, Magda Salvesen (Editor), Diane Cousineau (Editor), Russell Banks (Introduction)
Published by Picador (1999)
ISBN 10: 0312200153 ISBN 13: 9780312200152
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Book Description Picador, 1999. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0312200153

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