William Boyd's Journalism on Art

William Boyd
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“Egon Schiele. Women” at Richard Nagy, 22 Old Bond Street, London. 18 May – 30 June 2011

In London, in June this year, Sotheby’s sold a 1914 Egon Schiele townscape  -- “Häuser mit bunter Wäsche (Vorstadt II)” – for €27,635,665.  It was a world record for the artist and was bought by an anonymous bidder over the telephone...

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PAUL JOYCE

Photography has been called the “artless art” — the somewhat facile implication behind the adjective being that anyone with a camera is capable, by hazard, of producing a great or striking photograph.  A combination of chance, circumstance, the camera and its capacities (increasingly sophisticated in this digital age) coheres in the production of an image that moves or amuses, disturbs or enchants — that provides, in short, that frisson that is the aesthetic experience...

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Review of  MEDUSA: The Shipwreck, the Scandal, the Masterpiece
By Jonathan Miles


On July 2nd 1816 the French frigate “Medusa”, en route for Senegal, ran aground on the dreaded Arguin sand bank off the west coast of Africa. Incompetent seamanship had landed the vessel there and attempts to refloat the “Medusa” over the next couple of days proved to be in vain...

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THE LEOPOLD MUSEUM

In 1969, when I was seventeen and sitting my Art “A” level (I had dreams of becoming a painter, then), my constant book of reference was A Dictionary of Modern Painting, published by Methuen. This was a highly eclectic and scholarly A-to-Z (from Apollinaire to Zandomeneghi) some 400 pages long with contributions from thirty-odd eminent art historians. I still have the book in its edition of 1964...

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MARK ROTHKO

On the 29th February 1972 the English artist Keith Vaughan went to see an exhibition of Mark Rothko paintings. Vaughan recorded the occasion in his diary: “To Hayward Gallery in the afternoon to see Rothkos. Feeble stuff. Large décor.  Boring to paint and look at.  Not surprising he killed himself if that was all there was to do.”

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Review of A LIFE OF PICASSO
Volume III: The Triumphant Years 1917-1932 by John Richardson

It’s perhaps worth reminding ourselves at the outset, as we reach volume III of John Richardson’s stupendous biography of Picasso, exactly where we are. Picasso died in April 1973, aged 91, and it comes as something of a shock to realise...

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