Book Review | Leo & His Circle - The Life of Leo Castelli by Annie Cohen-Solal

Just after World War II, the center of gravity in the art world shifted from the European capitals to New York. Abstract Expressionism was about to burst on to the scene, followed by the Pop Art movement, and the benefit of American artwork would before long skyrocket, alongside with the respect American artists would receive from collectors the two in the US and about the globe.

There ended up quite a few gamers in the advent of the new art market place – artists, critics, museum directors, and a new breed of artwork dealers and gallery proprietors. Foremost amongst these new dealers was Italian-born gallerist Leo Castelli.

Though Castelli didn’t open up his New York gallery till the age of 50, the influence he would have on the worldwide art marketplace would be significantly achieving and long long lasting. Castelli uncovered and helped provide to prominence Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, James Rosenquist, and lots of other people. He also innovated the dealer-artist connection, operating in near partnership with the artists he represented, and featuring quite a few of them month to month stipends to enable maintain them as they made their seminal will work. Although Castelli built a effective artwork empire, serving to collectors and museums get some of the most critical works of the twentieth century and generating tens (if not hundreds) of hundreds of thousands of pounds in art product sales, Castelli didn’t appear to be in it just to make himself abundant. He generally manufactured deep sacrifices in the desire of the artists he represented, from time to time imperiling the viability of his small business.

Leo Castelli was not without the need of his critics, and his prominence would eventually fade and develop into a bit tarnished, but his effects is arguably devoid of equivalent.

The story of Castelli’s increase in the artwork world and the revolution he sparked in the artwork market are fascinating, but so too is his background prior to emigrating to the US. Castelli and his relatives, of Jewish descent, experienced initial-hand the horrors of the increase of Nazism and the conflagration of the war that enveloped Europe. Castelli was equipped to escape the fate numerous other folks endured for the duration of the war thanks to the fortune of his wealthy father-in-law.

The writer of this quantity, Annie Cohen-Solal, paints a fascinating photo of Castelli’s lifetime and the events that carried him to prominence in the art entire world, as very well as the historic gatherings encompassing his rise. There were some stretches of the reserve that I observed a bit taxing of my notice as the author shared prolonged lists of individuals in Castelli’s circle these had been people today with whom I was unfamiliar, and who I was not likely to bear in mind exterior of any genuine context. I also wondered if the author’s use of exclamation details was not a bit extreme!

In spite of these minor shortcomings, I felt enriched by examining Leo and His Circle. I’m fascinated by all of the diverse intervals of art history, but none has formed the present-day art market like the rise of the gallery scene in the mid to late 20th century. I’ve examine biographies of Pollock, de Kooning, Rothko, Warhol, and other artist from this period, but as an art dealer myself (admittedly on a much, a great deal humbler scale) it was enlightening to see this period of time by means of the eyes of a gallery proprietor.

I’m which includes a connection to the Amazon listing for the book. The e book is not broadly available and is a little bit expensive at this point, but you can go through it on Kindle or discover a applied copy for considerably less at this hyperlink as effectively.

Check out an job interview with Leo Castelli on YouTube

I adore looking at about art heritage and am usually searching for suggestions. Have you browse a great book just lately? Share your recommendations in the reviews beneath.

I’d also enjoy to hear if you were being by now aware of Leo Castelli and his affect on the art current market.