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About Modern Art


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The revised edition of David Sylvester's highly acclaimed collection of essays on twentieth century artists, with a new final section of eight new essays.

About the Author

David Sylvester wrote about art for over 50 years - his books on Moore, Magritte and Giacometti have become key works on their subjects. From 1951 he curated or co-curated numerous major exhibitions at museums in London, Paris, Venice, New York and Washington, including Dada and Surrealism Reviewed and one-man shows of Picasso, Laurens, Soutine, Miro, Magritte, Giacometti, de Kooning and Francis Bacon. His films include Matisse and his Model (1968) and Magritte- the False Mirror (1969). He was awarded the CBE in 1983, and was a Commandeur de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, and Honorary Fellow of the Royal Academy and a Senior Fellow of the Royal College of Art. In 1993 he became the first critic ever to receive a Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale. He died in June 2001.


"Sylvester's real achievement-consists of an almost unrivalled power to gaze, and to find language to express the rewards of intensive contemplation" -- Frank Kermode * London Review of Books *
"Sylvester lists the qualities that make a painter great: "fearlessness; a profound originality, a total absorption in what obsesses him, and above all, a certain authority and gravity". All these apply in equal measure to himself, compounded with vast scholarship, wit and modesty" -- Elspeth Barker * Sunday Times *
"David Sylvester is in many ways the most distinguished critical writer Britain has produced since Roger Fry" -- Patrick Reyntiens * Tablet *
"Sylvester is not only the foremost writer on art: he is also a marvellous prose stylist and an outstanding mind. Original, erudite, witty and moving" -- Cressida Connolly * Spectator *
"Everybody interested in the subject...will want this book" -- Martin Gayford * Sunday Telegraph *

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