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Peter Selz : Sketches of a Life in Art

ISBN: 9780520269354 | 0520269357
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Univ of California Pr
Pub. Date: 1/2/2012

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This absorbing biography, often conveyed through Peter Selz's own words, traces the journey of a Jewish-German immigrant from Hitler's Munich to the United States and on to an important career as a pioneer historian of modern art. Paul J. Karlstrom illuminates key historical and cultural events of the twentieth-century as he describes Selz's extraordinary career--from Chicago's Institute of Design (New Bauhaus), to New York's Museum of Modern Art during the transformative 1960s, and as founding director of the University Art Museum at Berkeley. Karlstrom sheds light on the controversial viewpoints that at times isolated Selz from his colleagues but nonetheless affirmed his conviction that significant art was always an expression of deep human experience. The book links Selz's long life story--featuring close relationships with such major art figures as Mark Rothko, Dore Ashton, Willem de Kooning, Sam Francis, and Christo--with his personal commitment to political engagement. The result is a vivid portrait of Peter Selz, animated by youthful enthusiasm even into his 90s and endowed with the immigrant's ability to reinvent himself as conditions require and opportunities occur.


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