Driven and consumed by art, Philip Guston painted and drew compulsively. This book takes the reader from his early social realist murals and easel paintings of the 1930s and 1940s, to the Abstract Expressionist works of the 1950s and early 1960s, and finally to the powerful new language of figurative painting, which he developed in the late 1960s and 1970s. Drawing on more than thirty years of his own research, the critic and curator, Robert Storr, maps Guston's entire career in one definitive volume, providing a substantial, accessible, and revealing analysis of his work.
With more than 850 images, the book illustrates Guston's key works and includes many unpublished paintings and drawings. An extensive chronology, illustrated with photographs, letters, articles, publications, and other ephemera drawn from the artist's archives and other sources, contextualizes Guston's life and provides in-depth coverage of his life at home, his work in the studio, his relationship with fellow artists and his many exhibitions.
Guston was able to speak about art with unrivalled passion and fluency. In celebration of this, the book features Guston's own thoughts on his drawings and his great heroes of the Italian Renaissance.
About the Author
Robert Storr, art critic, curator, and artist, is the former Dean of Yale School of Art and senior curator in the Department of Painting and Sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. He has been visual arts director of the Venice Biennale and has researched and written on Philip Guston for over three decades.
"Storr is erudite, expansive, and respectful but not worshipful. In his journey through Guston's painting world, he reengages with the histories of related twentieth-centruy arguments, ideologies, and artworks... Reading Storr in full swing is one of the great pleasures of a life in art, and A Life Spent Painting delivers." - Artforum
"Guston is the ultimate artist's artist, and he is so perfect an artist for the complicated times we are living in, this is the ultimate book on him. Storr follows him from the very beginning to his break with abstraction and beyond, revelling in the late work, and all of its intense reworking of all his earliest themes." - Chantal Joffe
""Philip Guston: A Life Spent Paintingis one of the biggest, heaviest art books this year, and every ounce of it is earned. Robert Storr, who's been writing about Guston (1913-80) for decades, strikes an easy balance between erudition and awe-he has all the facts, but you sense he'd be happy if you just basked in the images. They're all here: the rollicking Depression-era murals; the action paintings humming with Zen and Sartre; the cartoon Klansmen redolent of nightmare as well as therapy. Mr. Storr's is the definitive Guston book." Wall Street Journal"
"Robert Storr and Philip Guston is a perfect match. The writing is informative and passionate and enlarges the understanding of a great American painter." - Alex Katz