Clement Greenberg: A Critic's Collection

Bruce Guenther

Published by Princeton University Press, 2001
ISBN 10: 0691090491 / ISBN 13: 9780691090498
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Clement Greenberg (1909-1994) is the most renowned American art critic of the twentieth century and the first to treat New York modern artists as an independent school. In the work of Willem de Kooning, Jackson Pollock, and sculptor David Smith, Greenberg saw a vitality absent from the art of postwar Europe. His writings helped transform the bohemian colony huddled around Manhattan's grimy Eighth Street into the churning center of an international movement. Far less known is the fact that Greenberg was also a major collector; because of his insistence on anonymity when loaning pieces to museums, the scope of his private collection surprises many. Recently acquired by the Portland Art Museum, his incredible collection is now coming to the public in a multi-venue traveling exhibition. This extraordinary book illustrates, in color and for the first time, the collection's 155 works. Spanning five decades of American art, it features some of the twentieth century's finest artists.


Works by Pollock, Helen Frankenthaler, Hans Hofmann, and Adolph Gottlieb represent Abstract Expressionism. Paintings by Jules Olitski, Kenneth Noland, and others represent the Color Field movement, in which artists used liquid pure color on raw canvas. One highlight is Noland's first ''target'' painting--a 1958 masterpiece exploring the flatness of paint. The collection also includes excellent examples of the movement Greenberg dubbed Post-Painterly Abstraction, including pieces by Walter Darby Bannard and Larry Poons.


The works Greenberg collected reflect his ideas, passions, and personal associations. They reveal him as a reviewer and intellectual but also as a friend to the artists. Many of the more than two hundred color plates are accompanied by Greenberg's comments about the artists--painters and sculptors now being rediscovered by young contemporary artists exploring formalism, the nature of paint, and the evolution of modern art. The text includes discussions of Greenberg's significance to criticism, his famous studio visits, and the controversy attached to his work, as well as short biographies of each artist.


PARTIAL EXHIBITION SCHEDULE


Portland Art Museum, Portland, Oregon

July 14, 2001-September 16, 2001

Review: For four decades after he wrote his first article in 1939, Clement Greenberg was a highly influential art critic whose support was decisive in the acceptance of abstract expressionism. In the early '80s, when most critics and academics had come to believe that art was a point of departure for theoretical constructs, Greenberg aroused deep hostility by continuing to focus on the formal elements of painting and sculpture. His close relationships to artists also made him a controversial figure. Clement Greenberg: A Critic's Collection celebrates the acquisition of his collection by the Portland Art Museum. He never bought a painting, and the 150 works are gifts from artists who appreciated his ideas and encouragement, including Helen Frankenthaler, Kenneth Noland, Jules Olitski, and the Canadian landscapist Dorothy Knowles. Greenberg's personal collection emphasizes abstract expressionism, color-field painting, and what he called "post-painterly abstraction." It is a beautiful book, especially in the way the illustrations suggest tactile surfaces, and an honest presentation of the man who brought the art works together. --John Stevenson

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Title: Clement Greenberg: A Critic's Collection
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication Date: 2001
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: Used: Good

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Book Description Portland Art Museum / Princeton University Press, Portland, Ore, 2001. Hardbound. Goldenrod cloth with multi-color dj. 189 pp., 239 color plates; weighs 3.5 lbs. Issued in conjunction with a 2001 exhibition. "Clement Greenberg (1909-1994) is the most renowned American art critic of the twentieth century and the first to treat New York modern artists as an independent school. In the work of Willem de Kooning, Jackson Pollock, and sculptor David Smith, Greenberg saw a vitality absent from the art of postwar Europe. His writings helped transform the bohemian colony huddled around Manhattan's grimy Eighth Street into the churning center of an international movement. Far less known is the fact that Greenberg was also a major collector; because of his insistence on anonymity when loaning pieces to museums, the scope of his private collection surprises many. Recently acquired by the Portland Art Museum, his incredible collection is now coming to the public in a multi-venue traveling exhibition. This extraordinary book illustrates, in color and for the first time, the collection's 155 works. Spanning five decades of American art, it features some of the twentieth century's finest artists." (publisher). VG (Few marks from previous gallery owner.). Bookseller Inventory # 24282

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Book Description Portland Art Museum & Portland Univeristy Press, Portland 2001, 2001. 31.0 x 26.0cms, 192pp, b/w & 159 colour illusts, fine hardback with very good+ dustwrapper The Portland Art Museum acquired Greeneberg's collection of abstract expressionist. colour field and post-painterly abstract works. This book has greenberg's comments about the artists that he collected. Bookseller Inventory # 128306

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