Book Report: William Zorach by American Artists Group (1945)

This book is a monograph, I think, which means it’s a short autobiography along with photographs of selected work by the artist. This particular volume is special in that it contains not only a clipping of the artist’s obituary from a 1966 New York Times, but it is signed by the artist.

He led an interesting life, born in Lithuania in the nineteenth century and moving to America at age 4. He lived in poverty and quit school at 13, but he had a talent for art and worked in lithography until he saved enough for a trip to Europe. There in France prior to World War I, he painted, hung out, and met his wife. They came back to America and managed to support themselves on art fairly well.

His work is modernist, where the lines of statuary blurs to sculpture. His figures, mostly nudes or busts, blur the lines and don’t strive for absolute anatomical correctness but do resemble the human form. I liked it well enough.

I inherited this book from my aunt, and she searched and searched to find more information on the artist and the monograph. Four years later, with wikipedia and better online book listings, I found enough to know the book isn’t worth the amount she’d hoped it was worth. Back in the day, I got her and another friend of mine into going to garage and estate sales looking for things to sell on ebay. Me, I had a couple hundred bucks a month positive cash flow–not including the neat stuff I got myself out of the proceeds–but neither of my women companions really ever managed to list much on ebay. As a result, Pixie’s house is littered with stuff she bought (oh, and how we would fill her station wagon up, stop and unload it, and then fill it up again on a Saturday), and my aunt accummulated a large number of books and some ceramics that scattered to the family when she passed.

There’s a metaphor for or lesson of art in that perhaps. But I am too lazy to find it.

Books mentioned in this review:

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